SATURDAY’S UVA-N.C. STATE GAME DID A NICE JOB OF REMINDING US THAT YOU JUST NEVER KNOW. The Cavs, a 10-point underdog, dominated that 33-6 victory from start to finish. The Wolfpack finished with season lows for rushing yards and passing yards. It was a stunning dismantling that featured six UVa sacks and five State turnovers.
I’ve yet to see the Cavs lose this season. They’re 3-0 in the games I’ve been to, so it’s easy for me to forget that they’d been inept for six straight games before this one. But what this game showed was the potential they have when they put it all together, and you can bet it’s the film the coaches at Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech will be showing their players over the next three weeks when preparing to face UVa.
THE HOKIES HAVE YET TO ENJOY ONE OF THOSE put-it-all-together games, and they’ll need one if they hope to beat Florida State on Thursday night as a 13.5-point underdog. That spread’s actually higher than I thought it would be, perhaps because I’ve seen Tech come up with some pretty impressive performances just when you’re ready to count them out completely.
Logan Thomas took the Miami loss particularly hard but says he’s ready to move on.
Tech’s defense, meanwhile, is focusing on what it can control and not worrying about what the offense does or doesn’t produce.
As Andy notes in that blog post: Forcing turnovers would help. The Hokies had none last week and have only 14 this year, ranking 10th in the ACC. Scoring points on defense used to be a hallmark of Virginia Tech football but the Hokies haven’t had a defensive touchdown since the last time they played the Seminoles in the 2010 ACC title game. Linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow picked off EJ Manuel in the first quarter and took it back 24 yards for a score.
You want to see a struggling team suddenly look strong? That’s the answer. It was for UVa on Saturday.
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL
-Oregon leapfrogs Notre Dame to move into third place in the BCS standings. Alabama and Kansas State remain Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. The interesting thing is that the computers rank the Irish second, but both polls used in the formula have them fourth.
-Kentucky fires coach Joker Phillips after a 1-9 start. He’ll finish the season.
-UVa’s home game against Miami on Saturday will be a noon kick. I wonder if the win over N.C. State will give attendance a little boost this weekend. The Cavs drew a season-low 41,167 for Wake Forest in their most recent home game on Oct. 20.
-Cave Spring grad J.J. Redick scores 24 points to help Orlando rally past Phoenix. J.J. scored 21 in the opener against Denver. Those are two of the league’s worst teams, and Redick’s 64-percent FG percentage isn’t sustainable, but perhaps Redick is poised for a career-high in scoring this year. His previous high was 11.6 points per game last year.
-That “must-win” game for the Redskins turns out to be a loss, 21-13 to Carolina, as Washington commits 13 penalties.
-Atlanta moves to 8-0 by beating the Cowboys in the Sunday nighter.
-The Steelers outscore the Giants 14-0 in the fourth quarter to win, 24-20.
-Houston and Chicago improve to 7-1 with victories.
-Andrew Luck sets a rookie record with 433 passing yards to lead Indy over Miami, 23-20.
-Tonight’s game is Eagles at Saints (8:30 p.m., ESPN).
-Jimmie Johnson outduels Brad Keselowski in the closing laps to win at Texas. Keselowski finishes second but sees his points deficit grow from 2 to 7 behind the five-time champ. Shaping up as a fun finish between these two in the final two races. The next closest driver is Clint Bowyer, who is 36 points back.
NAME THAT TUNE
Does she walk? Does she talk?
Does she come complete?
My homeroom homeroom angel
Always pulled me from my seat
She was pure like snowflakes
No one could ever stain
The memory of my angel
Could never cause me pain…