Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Road Warriors

It's a term Al Groh used after defeating Syracuse 24-21. He wants his team to be "road warriors". The Cavaliers will prove if they are in fact road warriors the next two weeks, in two ACC games that may make or break the 2005 UVA football season.

First up is Maryland. College Park to be exact. Now Maryland is 2-2, and there two wins only against the likes of Navy and Wake Forest. By all honest accounts, the Terps are in a low. The problem is Al Groh is so far 0-2 in Byrd Stadium. Virginia has not won there since 1999 and got beat up last time by a score of 27-17. Virginia may come in with the slight talent advantage, but one wonders if they have the mental edge when on the road.

When asked about his teams propensity to play better at home than on the road, Coach Groh replied. "I think part of it has to do with maturity. I don't think it should be that way... If you do a good job preparing for the issues that are at hand and you play better, then you win, home or away."

Virginia had better plan on an offense. The Maryland defense has been tenacious all year long. If OL D'Brickashaw Ferguson cannot make the start, Virginia will need masterful performances from senior RB Wali Lundy and senior QB Marques Hagans. Lundy had 10 carries for only 20 yards against Duke and had to be lifted up by junior Michael Johnson and freshman Cedric Peerman. Virginia will need all three of these men to be big contributors.

As if Maryland wasn't bad enough, a tough rival with a propensity for ruining Cavalier hopes. Then UVA stays on the road to take on Boston College. The Eagles, newest members of the ACC, have impressed so far. They are 3-1, their one loss being to the Seminoles of FSU. Virginia knows this game will go along way if they are to have any hopes of an ACC Divisional crown.

Why are these two games so important you ask? Well, one simple answer. If UVA wins these two matchups, they will be 5-0 when they take on FSU. Now this was the case last year before the Cavaliers were ambushed in Tallahassee. This year, the party is in Charlottesville, celebrating the 10th anniversary of UVA's dramatic 33-28 victory over the 'Noles, the first ACC team to ever do it. Virginia went on to win only their second ever ACC championship in football. If ever UVA had a chance to do it again, it would help to be 5-0.

No one knows yet how these two roads games will finish out, but one thing is for certain. You can't win an ACC championship in October, but you sure can lose it.


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