Poor clock management plagues Virginia in 13-10 loss


Kurt Benkert's third-down draw on Virginia's final drive came up short of the endzone, hurrying the would-be game-tying field goal.

Celina Hu | Cavalier Daily

Instead of taking a shot in the end zone on third and goal from the five-yard line, junior quarterback Kurt Benkert surveyed the left side before tucking the football and running. Connecticut junior linebacker Junior Joseph brought down Benkert by his legs at the two-yard line, causing a mad Cavalier scramble to kick the game-tying field goal with no timeouts remaining and only 17 seconds left on a ticking clock.

It would be easy to blame sophomore kicker Alex Furbank for the ensuing chip shot he shanked wide left, but had his coaches and teammates managed the game better on second and third down, the situation Furbank hurried into would’ve been far less nerve-racking.

Poor clock management created the perfect storm for Furbank — the former Division III soccer player at Randolph-Macon who hadn’t played football prior to enrolling at Virginia this summer. Furbank’s missed field goal sealed a 17th straight road defeat for the Cavaliers, and their first 0-3 start to a season since 2009.

Virginia took a 3-0 lead halfway through the first quarter when Furbank’s 23-yard field goal attempt spun between the uprights. Fewer than three minutes into the second quarter, senior big back Albert Reid extended the Cavalier advantage to 9-0 with a nine-yard touchdown rush, and Furbank converted the extra point.

The rest of the way, Virginia failed to score any more points. Meanwhile, the Huskies broke through courtesy of a 21-yard field goal off the leg of senior Bobby Puyol at the 4:43 mark in the second, tied the game with senior quarterback Bryant Shirreffs’ one-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth and later jumped ahead 13-10 after Puyol nailed a 43-yard field goal.

Penalties cost the Cavaliers on Connecticut’s lone touchdown drive, as both a pass interference and a facemask call gave the Huskies automatic first downs on third and longs. Under two minutes remained in the contest when Virginia began its 73-yard, nine-play drive that continued with senior receiver Keeon Johnson’s 34-yard sliding reception on fourth-and-10, and ended in Furbank’s miss.

But to just blame Furbank is not fair. It was a second half without urgency and full of mistakes that led to yet another Cavalier road loss.

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