Virginia defeats Penn State 17-16 as Nittany Lions kicker Sam Ficker misses a 42-yard field goal wide left as time expires. The Wahoos got the go-ahead touchdown with 1:28 left when Michael Rocco hit Jake McGee with a 6-yard pass. McGee also made a 39-yard grab earlier in the drive on third-and-11.
The Wahoos have a 10-7 lead thanks to a 1-yard TD reception by tight end Jeremiah Mathis. Continue to be amazed by how UVa cannot run the ball at all. The push from the guards just isn’t there.
Penn State forced a third turnover in UVa territory and, for the third time, could not score. Give the Cavs defense credit – they’ve held PSU for minus-17 yards combined — but how many times can they keep doing this and getting away with it?
We saw Phillip Sims for the first time late in the quarter. Not a stellar series. Cavs have to punt from deep in their own territory. Should be a tense finish.
Penn State is up 7-3 at the break but easily could be ahead by two touchdowns or more if it simply capitalized on opportunities presented. Twice the Lions have gotten turnovers deep in Virginia territory only to miss field goals.
Defensive end Ausar Walcott had a really nice first half for UVa. He seemed to be on or near the quarterback often.
Darius Jennings has been the biggest receiving threat as the Cavs have almost completely abandoned the running game. UVa’s line doesn’t seem to be getting much push up front in the ground attack and the backs have found themselves trying to dodge tacklers while still in the backfield.
Despite the score, I’d rate Rocco’s performance thus far as solid. He’s made some nice connections with Jennings, including a play where he left the pocket and spotted his man squatting wide open down the right sideline. Did a nice job delivering that on target.
Rocco has an interception on a terrific play made PSU defensive tackle Jordan Hill, who smelled the screen pass and leaped to pluck it at the line of scrimmage. Had Rocco gotten the ball over Hill’s hands, it looked like there was some room for a nice gain. He did underthrow an open Tim Smith once on a third down play that could have gone for 15 yards or so.
Dropped passes – did we mention those? Not sure everyone would consider the ball Adrian Gamble juggled near the sideline a true “drop” – it would have been a very nice play had he made it – but it was catchable.
A more consequential (and less forgiveable) drop came in second quarter, when Dominique Terrell was hit in stride on a play that could have gained 20-plus. Couldn’t hang on.
We’ve seen some weird penalties in this game. Defensive end Jake Snyder got flagged for a personal foul after continuing to play after his helmet came off. UVa also was called for the rare “delay of game, sideline interference” penalty. Not sure the specifics that prompted that one. You guys watching on TV might have gotten a better explanation than we did up here.
UVa has only 95 yards of total offense at the break. More importantly, the Cavs have run only 25 offensive plays compared to PSU’s 49. Time of possession isn’t close either, with the Lions holding it more the 20 minutes.
Steve Greer has nine tackles and two sacks, including the aforementioned biggie that likely cost PSU three points.
Virginia gets the ball to start the second half.
Slow start for Virginia, which trails 7-0 after one – and it could be worse. The Nittany Lions opened the game with a 17-play touchdown drive that included two fourth down conversions. The Cavs then turned it over on their first play from scrimmage, as Paul Freedman was stripped after making a catch that would have gone for a first down. The good news for UVa? Steve Greer got a huge sack that forced a 40-yard field goal, which Penn State missed. Cavs have it facing a third and long near midfield.”
Clear skies and warm here at Scott Stadium as we’re about an hour and a half away from kickoff of Penn State-UVa. As expected, there are quite a few Nittany Lions fans in the parking lots. Will be interesting to see what the final crowd split winds up being.
The line has fluctuated this week from UVa by 8.5 to UVa by 10.5. Last I saw this morning it had settled in at Cavs by 9.5.
Today’s plan is do something similar to last week: a few thoughts on each of the first three quarters, then a short wrap-up post after the game. As always, if you’ve got something you want to share, dive on in.