Football puts first two games in perspective
Previous opponents' successes give Cavalier team, fanbase solace
Through the first two games of the season, the Virginia offense has struggled. Sophomore quarterback David Watford has thrown four interceptions and only one touchdown, and the Cavaliers have managed just 2.9 yards per rushing attempt.
And after a promising defensive performance against Brigham Young, Virginia was torched by the high-speed Oregon offense.
Coach Mike London knew the team had much work to do entering the bye week at 1-1, but he also understands that the team needs to put those first two games of the season in perspective.
“The first two games were against challenging teams, very good football, particularly defensively, and obviously Oregon offensively,” London said.
After a difficult loss to Virginia in week one, BYU traveled back home to face No. 15 Texas. The result was a shocking 40-21 upset in which BYU sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill ran for 259 yards and three touchdowns, including a 15.2 yards per carry average.
“To me, that just goes to show that BYU is a very good team,” said Virginia junior tight end Zachary Swanson. “They were a solid team, I think that’s the bottom line.”
Most in the Virginia football community came away from Scott Stadium disappointed after Virginia was thoroughly thrashed by Oregon 59-10 in front of a home crowd of 58,502 spectators and a national television audience.
That disappointment was at least partly assuaged the following week when Oregon put up an incredible offensive showing in a 59-14 week three victory against Tennessee, a team that is used to regularly facing difficult opponents in its SEC conference schedule.
“Obviously, you see that they’re arguably the No. 1 or No. 2 team in the country,” London said. “They ran their offense. They got up early, I think in the fourth quarter it was still in the 50s.”
Oregon gained 687 total yards against Tennessee in an impressive performance by sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota, who totaled 456 yards passing and five total touchdowns.
“Having had an opportunity to play that team, you can see they’re as good as advertised,” London said.
Although not originally part of the 2013 Virginia football schedule, senior defensive tackle Brent Urban was grateful for the opportunity to play against one of the best teams in the country.
“It was a good learning experience,” Urban said. “It’ll really help us moving forward.”
Now after the bye week, Virginia will shift its focus toward Virginia Military Institute. Although the Keydets are an FCS team, Urban knows Virginia must prepare for the game just like it would against any FBS team.
“VMI is a great team,” Urban said. “It doesn’t really matter who we’re playing, we’re just going to prepare the same really.”
London is optimistic that a better Virginia football team will show up on Saturday.
“I think [our identity] will start to forge itself into how we play, the way we play, and look at more statistically about where we are,” London said. “I think as you start getting into more games and start playing football games, things start metering out the way that you thought.”