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2008 Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia LB Clint Sintim
Virginia LB Clint Sintim
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 16, 2009


2008 Virginia Cavaliers Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 Virginia Cavaliers

Nov. 28
Virginia Tech 17 … Virginia 14
Dustin Keys hit a 28-yard field goal to give Virginia Tech the lead, and Dorian Porch sealed the win with an interception in the final two minutes. Getting the nod at quarterback instead of at his normal defensive back slot, Vic Hall tore off touchdown runs from 40 and 16 yards for the Cavaliers, but the second half belonged to the Hokies with a four-yard Greg Boone scoring run along with the Keys field goal. On the day, Virginia Tech outgained a struggling UVA attack 392 yards to 249.  
Player of the game: Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor completed 12-of-18 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown, and ran 16 times for 137 yards
Stat Leaders: Virginia - Passing: Marc Verica, 8-14, 77 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Vic Hall, 16-109, 2 TD. Receiving: Rashawn Jackson, 2-18
Virginia Tech - Passing: Tyrod Taylor, 12-18, 137 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Tyrod Taylor, 16-137. Receiving: Jarrett Boykin, 6-65, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Where was this Vic Hall idea throughout the season? While the top defensive back wasn’t able to throw the ball more than once when he lined up at quarterback against Virginia Tech, he was unstoppable running the ball, crossing up the Hokies throughout the first half. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough of a passing game in the fourth quarter to get the big drive needed to push the game into overtime, and now the once-promising season has finished with a thud. The four game losing streak to close couldn’t have been more painful with close loss after close loss.

- 2008 Virginia Preview
- 2007 Virginia Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 7-5
2008 Record: 5-7

Aug. 30 USC L 52-7
Sept. 6 Richmond W 16-0
Sept. 13 at Connecticut L 45-10
Sept. 20  OPEN DATE
Sept. 27 at Duke L 31-3
Oct. 4 Maryland W 31-0
Oct. 11 East Carolina W 35-20
Oct. 18 No Carolina W 16-13 OT
Oct. 25 at Georgia Tech W 24-17
Nov. 1 Miami L 24-17 OT
Nov. 8 at Wake Forest L 28-17
Nov. 15  OPEN DATE
Nov. 22 Clemson L 13-3
Nov. 29 at Virginia Tech L 17-14

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 5-6
2007 Record:
9-4

Sept. 1 at Wyoming L 23-3
Sept. 8 Duke W 24-13
Sept. 15 at No Carolina W 22-20
Sept. 22 Georgia Tech W 28-23
Sept. 29 Pitt W 44-14
Oct. 6
at Middle Tenn W 23-21
Oct. 13 Connecticut W 17-16
Oct. 20 at Maryland W 18-17
Oct. 27 at NC State L 29-24
Nov. 3
Wake Forest W 17-16
Nov. 10 at Miami W 48-0
Nov. 24 Virginia Tech L 33-21
Gator Bowl
Jan. 1 Texas Tech L 31-28

Nov. 28
Virginia Tech 17 … Virginia 14
Dustin Keys hit a 28-yard field goal to give Virginia Tech the lead, and Dorian Porch sealed the win with an interception in the final two minutes. Getting the nod at quarterback instead of at his normal defensive back slot, Vic Hall tore off touchdown runs from 40 and 16 yards for the Cavaliers, but the second half belonged to the Hokies with a four-yard Greg Boone scoring run along with the Keys field goal. On the day, Virginia Tech outgained a struggling UVA attack 392 yards to 249.  
Player of the game: Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor completed 12-of-18 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown, and ran 16 times for 137 yards
Stat Leaders: Virginia - Passing: Marc Verica, 8-14, 77 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Vic Hall, 16-109, 2 TD. Receiving: Rashawn Jackson, 2-18
Virginia Tech - Passing: Tyrod Taylor, 12-18, 137 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Tyrod Taylor, 16-137. Receiving: Jarrett Boykin, 6-65, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Where was this Vic Hall idea throughout the season? While the top defensive back wasn’t able to throw the ball more than once when he lined up at quarterback against Virginia Tech, he was unstoppable running the ball, crossing up the Hokies throughout the first half. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough of a passing game in the fourth quarter to get the big drive needed to push the game into overtime, and now the once-promising season has finished with a thud. The four game losing streak to close couldn’t have been more painful with close loss after close loss.

Nov. 22
Clemson 13 … Virginia 3
Four turnovers proved costly with Clemson converting points on three of them. RB C.J. Spiller threw his first career touchdown pass hitting Tyler Grisham for a 15-yard score in the first quarter, and that was the only time either team saw the end zone. Mark Buchholz hit field goals from 32 and 23 yards out for Clemson, and Virginia only managed a 34-yard Robert Randolph field goal in the second quarter. Virginia appeared to be on the verge of a comeback as it moved the ball in the second half, but nothing came of it. The teal teams combined for a mere 362 yards.
Player of the game: Clemson S Michael Hamlin made eight tackles and an interception
Stat Leaders: Virginia - Passing: Marc Verica, 24-39, 160 yds, 3 INT
Rushing: Cedric Peerman, 19-45. Receiving: Kevin Ogletree, 6-73
Clemson - Passing: Cullen Harper, 18-28, 121 yds
Rushing: James Davis, 18-65. Receiving: Jacoby Ford, 6-42
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Now on a three-game losing streak, all the magic of the Virginia season is gone with a trip to Virginia Tech needed just to become bowl eligible. The rushing attack has gone completely into the tank while the passing game isn’t good enough to pick up the slack. When the team is struggling this much to score, turnovers are death. Against Virginia, the four giveaways killed Virginia’s ability to take any control of the game, and while the defense did a phenomenal job, it didn’t get any help. That’s been the case over the last few weeks, and things aren’t going to get any better against the Hokies.

Nov. 8
Wake Forest 28 … Virginia 17
Wake Forest jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead on Riley Skinner touchdown passes from two yards out to Ben Wooster and 58 yards away to Devon Brown, and was up 28-3 at halftime helped by a one-yard Brandon Pendergrass run and a 53-yard interception return for a score form Kevin Patterson. And that was about it for the Wake Forest offense as it failed to score in the second half while Virginia took off in the fourth quarter. Marc Verica tried to rally the Cavaliers with a 21-yard touchdown pass to John Phillips and a five-yarder to Kevin Ogletree, but that was as close as they got. Virginia was held to just 28 yards rushing.
Player of the game: Wake Forest RB Brandon Pendergrass ran 27 times for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Virginia - Passing: Marc Verica, 23-45, 279 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Cedric Peerman, 12-43. Receiving: Kevin Ogletree, 6-98, 1 TD
Wake Forest - Passing: Riley Skinner, 14-30, 130 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Brandon Pendergrass, 27-110, 1 TD. Receiving: D.J. Boldin, 8-39
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Marc Verica is great in the fourth quarter and late in games, but the Virginia offense has to do more from the opening snap. Wake Forest was coldly efficient on offense and the Cavs didn’t do enough to change things up. It’s almost like the team has been relying on late game heroics, and this week it proved to be costly. After losing two straight, the team needs to quickly regroup with Clemson and Virginia Tech to finish up. At 5-5, there still needs to be one more win to become bowl eligible.

Nov. 1
Miami 24 … Virginia 17 OT
Jacory Harris led Miami on a 16-play, 95-yard drive in the final moments with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Laron Byrd to force overtime. In the OT, Aldarius Johnson caught a jump ball for a nine-yard touchdown and a Hurricane lead. Virginia’s Cedric Peerman lost a fumble, and Miami pulled off the comeback. Robert Marve ran for a six-yard touchdown for the Canes in the first quarter, and Jared Green caught a two-yard scoring pass in the second to help Virginia take a 17-10 lead. Neither team scored in the second half until the final Miami drive in regulation.
Player of the game: Miami QB Jacory Harris completed 12-of-21 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Virginia - Passing: Marc Verica, 27-41, 240 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Cedric Peerman, 14-71. Receiving: John Phillips, 7-36
Miami - Passing: Jacory Harris, 12-21, 160 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Graig Cooper, 24-131. Receiving: Thearon Collier, 3-64
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... After losing in rip-your-heart-out fashion against Miami, the shoe is on the other foot for Virginia team that has made its living coming up with clutch wins. There just wasn’t enough consistent offense to put the game away, and the inability to stop the run didn’t help. This is a dangerous time for the Cavs. The team worked so hard to get to this point, but at 5-4, getting a win at Wake Forest next week is a must to get bowl eligible with Clemson and Virginia Tech to finish up.

Oct. 25
Virginia 24 … Georgia Tech 17
Virginia broke a late tie with a big Cedric Peerman run leading to a three-yard touchdown with just over three minutes to play, and defense was able to hold on. The Yellow Jacket offense was held to 259 yards, but it managed to use three Virginia Tech turnovers to get short touchdown runs from Josh Nesbitt and Jonathan Dwyer to go along with a 39-yard Scott Blair field goal to tie it in the fourth. Marc Verica gave Virginia the lead with touchdown passes from 14 yards out to Kevin Ogletree and 34 yard out to Maurice Covington, but the offense stalled until the late game-winning drive. Virginia held on to the ball for 34:18.
Player of the game: Virginia RB Cedric Peerman ran 25 times for 118 yards and a touchdown and caught four passes for 31 yards
Stat Leaders: Georgia Tech - Passing: Josh Nesbitt, 7-15, 103 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Roddy Jones, 11-75. Receiving: Demaryius Thomas, 5-88
Virginia - Passing: Marc Verica, 29-39, 270 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Cedric Peerman, 25-118, 1 TD. Receiving: Maurice Covington, 5-76, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Virginia keeps on rolling with a great performance against Georgia Tech to take the lead in the ACC race. The run defense did a nice job keeping the Tech offense under wraps, while the offense overcame three turnovers to keep things moving with the passing of Marc Verica and running of Cedric Peerman to balance things out. The offensive line deserves the credit for holding up against the NFL caliber Tech defensive front. This is the ACC’s hot team, but it has to prove it with a win over Miami next week to follow with a trip to Wake Forest.

Oct. 18
Virginia 16 … North Carolina 13 OT
Down seven with just over two minutes to play and with 82 yards to go, Virginia QB Marc Verica led the Cavaliers quickly and efficiently down the field leading to a two-yard Cedric Peerman touchdown run with 47 seconds to play to force overtime. In the OT, North Carolina got a 28-yard Casey Barth field goal for the lead, but Virginia answered with 19-yard pass to John Phillips to set up a two-yard Cedric Peerman touchdown run for the win. The Tar Heels scored first on a one-yard Ryan Houston touchdown run, and the defense held tough allowing just a 37-yard field goal until the final few minutes.
Player of the game: Virginia QB Marc Verica completed 24-of-38 passes for 217 yards
Stat Leaders: North Carolina - Passing: Cam Sexton, 16-25, 166 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Shaun Draughn, 30-138. Receiving: Hakeem Nicks, 6-90
Virginia - Passing: Marc Verica, 24-38, 217 yds
Rushing: Cedric Peerman, 17-44, 2 TD. Receiving: Kevin Ogletree, 6-72
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Virginia isn’t always going to be pretty, but currently on a three-game winning streak, the team is playing with confidence and toughness. Who comes back in the final few minutes to beat North Carolina when nothing has been working? On a three-game winning streak with a trip to Georgia Tech up next, the Cavaliers can make an even bigger statement in the Coastal Division race. It would be nice if the offense was a bit more consistent, but the defense is picking up the slack lately.

Oct. 11
Virginia 35 … East Carolina 20
Virginia overcame two early interceptions and a 6-0 deficit to score 28 straight points on Cedric Peerman touchdown runs from 79 and 60 yards, a five-yard Mikell Simpson scoring run, and a 30-yard Kevin Ogletree touchdown catch. East Carolina managed to come back in the second half to pull within eight, but John Phillips caught a 12-yard touchdown pass to put the game away in the fourth quarter. Virginia came up with six sacks to East Carolina’s one..
Player of the game: Virginia RB Cedric Peerman ran 16 times for 173 yards and two touchdowns, and he led the team with eight catches for 26 yards
Stat Leaders: East Carolina - Passing: Pat Pinkney, 12-28, 196 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Jon Williams, 19-95, 1 TD. Receiving: Dwayne Harris, 6-128
Virginia - Passing: Marc Verica, 25-32, 216 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Cedric Peerman, 16-173, 2 TD. Receiving: Cedric Peerman, 8-26
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Virginia has turned its season around on the lines. The pass rush was tremendous against East Carolina, rushing Patrick Pinkney all game long, while the offensive line paved the way for a big rushing day. The offense did a great job of holding on to the ball in the fourth quarter, keeping it for 10:18, just when ECU was getting hot. Beating Maryland and East Carolina was nice, but if the Cavaliers can beat North Carolina next week, it’ll be time to really start getting excited.

Oct. 4
Virginia 31 … Maryland 0
Virginia stunned Maryland as Marc Verica hit Kevin Ogletree on a 51-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and a 15-yard touchdown play in the second. He also ran for a five-yard score and Cedric Peerman ran for a nine-yard touchdown as the Cavaliers stunned the Terps on both sides of the ball. Maryland turned it over twice and was held to 79 yards rushing, while Virginia’s ground game cranked out 201 yards and had its best performance of the year.
Player of the game: Virginia QB Marc Verica completed 25-of-34 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a score
Stat Leaders: Virginia - Passing: Marc Verica, 25-34, 226 yds, 2 TD
Rushing:
Cedric Peerman, 17-110, 1 TD. Receiving: Kevin Ogletree, 5-100, 2 TD
Maryland
- Passing: Chris Turner, 20-34, 223 yds, 1 INT
Rushing:
Da’Rel Scott, 11-36. Receiving: Ronnie Tyler, 5-56
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Where did that come from? Virginia was awful in losses to Connecticut and Duke, and all of a sudden, it came up with a ground game in the blowout win over Maryland and the defense started swarming again like it did last year. This could be the type of win that turns the whole season around, and while the next two games against East Carolina and North Carolina aren’t going to be easy, they’re at home. If QB Marc Verica keeps improving, wins are possible.

Sept. 27
Duke 31 … Virginia 3
Virginia scored first with a 33-yard Yannick Reyering field goal, and then it was all Duke. Nick Maggio tied it with a 20-yard field goal just before halftime, and then the Blue Devil defense forced five turnovers in the second half leading to a flurry of points with Thaddeus Lewis hitting Jay Hollingsworth for a ten-yard touchdown and connecting with Eron Riley for a 30-yard score in the third quarter. The defense got into the act with a 42-yard interception return for a score form Jabari Marshall. In all, Virginia turned it over six times, but outgained Duke 304 yards to 258.
Player of the game: Duke LB Michael Tauiliili had 16 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Stat Leaders: Virginia- Passing: Marc Verica, 19-42, 194 yds, 4 INTs
Rushing:
Rashawn Jackson, 8-43. Receiving: John Phillips, 5-59
Duke
- Passing: Thaddeus Lewis, 18-32, 160 yds, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Rushing:
Jay Hollingsworth, 15-59. Receiving: Austin Kelly, 4-34

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... So this is going to be a major work in progress. Marc Verica is going to need a while to get the passing game going, but he’s going to have to do a far better job of limiting his mistakes and taking the safer throws. He struggles against Duke, throwing four picks, but he didn’t get much help from the running game. Duke teed off on the Cavalier running game, and Verica couldn’t help the cause. The defense has been fine, the 31-3 final score is misleading. It’s not getting help from the offense.

Sept. 13
Connecticut 45 … Virginia 10
Connecticut ripped off the first 28 points of the game, all in the first half, and got up 45-3 before Virginia finally got on the board with a one-yard Cedric Peerman touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Donald Brown ran for touchdowns from three, eight, and 63 yards out, and Tyler Lorenzen connected with Anthony Davis for a three-yard score. Connecticut outgained Virginia 506 yards to 219 and 382 yards to 31 on the ground.  
Player of the game:
Connecticut RB Donald Brown ran 20 times for 206 yards and a touchdown, and caught five passes or 32 yards
Stat Leaders: Virginia
- Passing: Mark Verica, 22-30, 158 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Mikell Simpson, 6-23. Receiving: Kevin Ogletree, 7-58
Connecticut - Passing: Tyler Lorenzen, 13-15, 124 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Donald Brown, 20-206 yds, 3 TD. Receiving: Donald Brown, 5-32
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The horrendous performance against Connecticut can’t be blamed on QB Peter Lalich not being able to make the trip. The Huskies thoroughly and completely dominated the Cavaliers in every way, with the biggest problem coming on the defensive line. UConn ran for 382 yards and had all day to throw. Now Virginia has to find something to hang its hat on. It has to get something going offensively, while the defense, after being shell-shocked by USC and Connecticut, needs a confidence booster.

Sept. 6
Virginia 16 … Richmond 0
The Virginia defense saved the say with an interception near the goal line from Chase Minnifield late in the game and a Vic Hall 60-yard interception return for a touchdown. The Cavalier offense came up with 295 yards scoring on a one-yard Mikell Simpson touchdown run and a 26-yard Yannick Reyering field goal, but the game was all about the defense. Richmond managed just 194 yards of total offense and converted one of 12 third down chances.
Player of the game:  Virginia LB Clint Sintim made seven tackles with two sacks
Stat Leaders: Virginia - Passing: Peter Lalich, 21-39, 204 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Cedric Peerman, 10-60  Receiving: Kevin Ogletree, 8-103
Richmond - Passing: Eric Ward, 16-33, 175 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Josh Vaughan, 13-52. Receiving: Kevin Grayson, 8-111
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... There’s a lot of work to do. A lot. It’s one thing to struggle offensively against USC, but the Cavaliers couldn’t get anything going against Richmond with little rushing offense, just 81 yards, and not enough consistent passing production. Two turnovers and nine penalties didn’t help, but the defense was tremendous throughout. The D will have to carry things for a while.

Aug. 30
USC 52 ... Virginia 7
USC QB Mark Sanchez was nearly flawless throwing for 338 yards and three touchdowns, while the running game helped out with 218 yards and four scores from four different players. Down 21-0, Virginia got some help from a few Trojan penalties leading to a seven-yard Mikell Simpson touchdown run late in the first quarter, but that would be all the Cavalier offense could generate. USC finished with 558 yards of offense and held on to the ball for 36:31.
Player of the game: USC QB Mark Sanchez completed 26-of-35 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns with an interception
Stat Leaders: Virginia - Passing: Peter Lalich, 18-35, 155 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Cedric Peerman, 8-32. Receiving: John Phillips, 5-33
USC - Passing: Mark Sanchez, 26-35, 338 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: C.J. Gable, 9-73, 1 TD. Receiving: Damian Williams, 7-91
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Yeah, the Cavs were destroyed by USC, but the expectations weren’t exactly sky-high for this young and rebuilding program. Call it a learning experience that should pay dividends at some point later in the year. Peter Lalich was predictably inconsistent as the starting quarterback, and the offensive line was routinely blown off the ball. While it wasn’t evident versus the Trojans, Virginia has upside, which should start creeping to the surface in upcoming games with Richmond, Connecticut, and Duke. 

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Torrey Mack  RB  6-0  190  Stratford, CT (Stratford)
Will line up at running back for UVa ... Explosive ballcarrier for coach Duane Shirden at Stratford HS ... SuperPrep All-American... Ranked the nation’s No. 8 running back by SuperPrep and No. 18 by Scout... 4 stars according to Scout ... The East Region’s No. 26 player by Scout ... No. 1 player in New England by SuperPrep and Scout ... Three-time all-state and all-conference selection ... Connecticut Post All-Star selection twice ... Averaged more than 13 yards per carry as a senior, rushing for 1177 yards and 20 touchdowns on only 86 rushes ... Also had 40 tackles and three interceptions as a defensive back ... 153 carries for 1689 yards and 19 touchdowns and 80 tackles on defense as a junior.


Potential Instant Impact Players

Cameron Johnson  LB/TE  6-4  200  Washington, DC (Gonzaga)
Joins the UVa roster as a linebacker/tight end ... Dynamic two-way player for coach Joe Reyda at Gonzaga ... Starter at wide receiver and defensive back since his sophomore year ... Rated the nation’s No. 19 strongside linebacker by Scout... 3 stars by Scout ... No. 8 player in the Mid-Atlantic by Scout and No. 13 by SuperPrep ... Scout’s No. 77 player in the East Region ... Second-team all-conference wide receiver his senior year after catching 22 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns ... Also had four 2-point conversions ... Grabbed 25 passes for 358 yards and three touchdowns as a junior ... Also intercepted four passes and made 85 tackles ... A talented basketball player who had Division I offers ... Double figure scorer ... Earned all-conference honors in both football and basketball

Ausar Walcott  DB  6-4  200  Hackensack, NJ (Hackensack)
Will be a defensive back at Virginia ... Athletic player for coach Gordon Whiting at Hackensack HS ... Played a multitude of positions on both sides of the ball throughout his career, including wide receiver, cornerback, safety and linebacker .. Rated the nation’s No. 38 by Scout ... Ranked No. 88 in the East Region by Scout ... 3-star player by Scout ... Listed as the No. 10 player in New Jersey by SuperPrep, No. 12 by Rivals and No. 18 by Scout ... Was in on 80 tackles as a senior ... Intercepted three passes ... Also rushed for more than 1200 yards and 11 touchdowns in only six games ... First-team all-county honors as a junior ... Is a sprinter and long jumper on the track team, earning all-county and all-league honors ... Also plays basketball.


Rest of the Class
Tory Allen  DL  6-6  220  Hampton, GA (Lovejoy)
Javaris Brown  WR  5-11  180  Macon, GA (Northeast)
Steve Greer  LB  6-2  218  Solon, OH (Solon)
Jimmy Howell  P  6-6  238  Florence, SC (West Florence)
Rodney McLeod  DB  5-10  180  Hyattsville, MD (DeMatha)
Matt Mihalik  OL  6-7  275  Middlefield, OH (Gilmour Academy)
Austin Pasztor  OL  6-6  310  Tillonsburg, Ontario (Fork Union)
Colter Phillips  TE  6-6  240  Darnestown, MD (Georgetown Prep)
Mike Price  DL/OL  6-5  265  Chesapeake, VA (Great Bridge)
Klinton "Buddy" Ruff  DL  6-4  290  Norfolk, VA (Norview)
Bill Schautz  TE  6-4  220  Oradell, NJ (Bergen Catholic)
Riko Smalls  QB  6-1  190  Plano, TX (Plano East)
Aaron Van Kuiken  OL  6-7  308  Cincinnati, OH (Turpin)
Devin Wallace  DB  5-11  200  Fort Washington, MD (Friendly)
Rod Wheeler  TE  6-3  240  Highland Springs, VA (Highland Springs)
   

2007 Recap

Recap:
The Cardiac Cavs unexpectedly manufactured nine victories, winning an NCAA-record five games by two points or fewer, and nearly copping the ACC Coastal Division.  With no stars beyond DE Chris Long and limited resources on offense, Virginia persevered behind the play of the defense and special teams, and that knack for pulling out close games.  Considering the Cavaliers began the season with a 23-3 loss at Wyoming, head coach Al Groh and his staff did a remarkable job of guiding this group to the Gator Bowl.             

Offensive Player of the Year: RB Mikell Simpson

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Chris Long

Biggest Surprise: Much of the season was a surprise, but none more than on Nov. 10, when Virginia destroyed Miami, 48-0, the ‘Canes’ worst home loss since 1944.  The fact that the city was giving a celebratory farewell to the Orange Bowl made the final score even more incredible.   

Biggest Disappointment: The Cavaliers were on the brink of capping their amazing 2007 campaign with a New Year’s Day bowl win before the bottom fell out against Texas Tech.  Presumably safe at 28-14 late in the fourth quarter, Virginia uncharacteristically yielded 17 points in the final four minutes for a stunning 31-28 defeat. 

Looking Ahead: Even without Long, the Cavaliers should again be formidable on defense in 2008.  The offense, however, is a different story.  While it’ll help to get RB Cedric Peerman and WR Kevin Ogletree back from injuries, Virginia needs to determine if Jameel Sewell is truly a quarterback it can build around the next two seasons. 

  


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