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Cavs devastated by Tribe as spread offense sputters

Virginia commits seven turnovers, rotates Hall, Sewell, Verica at quarterback in attempt to defeat 17-point underdog William & Mary

Coach Al Groh's Virginia football team entered its season opener against William & Mary with three viable options at quarterback, an unproven but highly anticipated offensive scheme and an undefeated record. Four fumbles, three interceptions and one muffed punt return later, however, and the Cavaliers' outlook was quite the opposite.\nIn one of the most humbling losses in recent program history, Virginia fell to the 19-point underdog Tribe 26-14 Saturday evening at Scott Stadium, marking the fourth consecutive year the Cavaliers find themselves a 0-1 hole to start the season.\n"What more questions do you need to ask after you turn the ball over [seven] times?" Groh said. "That's the question. After that, there are really not any coaching questions, and there aren't any answers that are necessary."\nWhile Virginia could not find an answer for the Tribe in the end, it seemed the team had all the solutions early on under new offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon's spread offense. Much to the delight of the 54,587 fans in attendance, senior cornerback-turned quarterback Vic Hall got the start under center and appeared determined to live up to last season's year-end performance against Virginia Tech, in which he rushed for 121 yards as part of the team's "WildHoo" formation.\nThe senior completed his first collegiate pass - a 3-yard lob to senior tailback Mikell Simpson - on the first play of the Cavaliers' opening drive. One down later, he proved his mobility at the position, escaping a collapsing pocket and scrambling 34 yards to the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown. After sophomore kicker Robert Randolph added the extra point, it looked as though the Cavaliers were three minutes into a triumphant debut of Brandon's signature offensive scheme.\n"We got off to a pretty good start," junior quarterback Marc Verica said. "Special teams gave the defense pretty good field position. The defense held, [William & Mary] punted. We had good field position - a couple of plays and Vic's into the end zone."\nFrom then on, however, the script failed to go as planned as Virginia's offense sputtered under Hall, earning only one first down on its next four drives. William & Mary's senior quarterback R.J. Archer took full advantage of a tired Cavalier secondary on the Tribe's fourth possession of the game, connecting with wide-open freshman wide receiver Ryan Moody for a 48-yard completion to set up a 5-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Rob Varno and knot the score at 7-apiece.\nGroh then replaced Hall with senior Jameel Sewell. Sewell - who missed last season because of academic suspension - responded immediately by fumbling his first snap for a loss of nine and throwing an interception to William & Mary freshman cornerback B.W. Webb shortly thereafter.


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