Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cavaliers Shell-Shocked, Lose 45-33

Virginia came into Maryland after a convincing victory over Duke and feeling confident for the first time perhaps since going 5-0 last year, they left more confused and dazed than they could have ever imagined.

The Cavaliers lost to the Terrapins in a shootout 45-33. Both of these teams are known primarily for the defense, but it seemed like neither decided to show up since both teams combined for 1000 yards total offense. Virginia started the game with high hopes, all star linebacker Ahmad Brooks made his return, however he proved to be what many feared, a tired and unprepared man. Time will tell if Brooks returns to his NFL-caliber form, but Virginia's bowl aspirations depend on it.

The Maryland offense, which had struggled all season had their way with the young Orange Crush defense. RB Lance Ball had a breakout performance, muscling his way towards 163 yards and 2 touchdowns...on only 17 carries! QB Sam Hollenbach had one strong outing as well, going 25-33 for 320 yards (and two of those 8 incompletions were interceptions). Virginia had some strong hits, one nailing wide receiver Jo Jo Walker into next week, but when the chips were down, Virginia looked completely incapable of stopping a mediocre ACC offense.

The one bright spot for Virginia was the continued improved play of Marques Hagans and the Virginia offense. Hagans went only 17-35 but amassed 270 yards in the air and another 55 yards with his quick feet. Junior WR Deyon Williams is turning into a bona fide talent, continuing to add to his stats with 5 catches for 62 yards. Wali Lundy however, continued to struggle after his return from injury going for 18 yards on only 3 carries. Nevertheless, Virginia did put 33 points on the board, a number that most of the time equals victory. This was not one of those times.

The road does not get any friendlier for the Cavaliers. A trip to Boston College this weekend, and then a home game against the undefeated Seminoles. Virginia needs to get its act together or they are staring 3-3 right in the face. The question still remains: Did Maryland resurrect an offense, or are the Cavaliers really that bad on defense? After all, when looking back sure they shut down Duke's offense, but high schools teams could do that. Syracuse almost won and Western Michigan scored way too many points. The answer to this question will not be known for a few more weeks.

I stated this game could go along way in determining both team's seasons. Obviously this loss dampers some high hopes Virginia fans toyed with, but maybe there is another way to look at this game. A loss may inspire the Cavaliers to no longer accept mundane, and strive for those lofty goals we all dream about. They might see that it's not ok to be complacent with a 3 point win over Syracuse, it might be time they play with the proverbial "chip on their shoulders". It may be a loss, but if it changes some mental outlooks for the better...it might just be what the doctor ordered.


Post a Comment

<< Home