Saturday’s game against Duke was definitely a tale of two halves; unfortunately, this spelled disaster for Cavalier fans as they saw the Duke Blue Devils score thirty-five unanswered points to keep Virginia winless in the ACC through the first half of the season.
The Cavaliers were hoping to clinch their first ACC victory of the season against Duke, especially following heartbreaking losses against Ball State and Maryland. Midway through the second quarter, UVa led the Blue Devils 22-0 following a solid run game from Kevin Parks. The single score from Duke occurred in the final minute of the first half to bring the score to 22-7. However, Anthony Boone and the Blue Devil’s offense rallied and score 28 unanswered points in the second half to completely stun the fans at Scott Stadium. This dropped Virginia (2-5, 0-3 ACC) to the bottom of the totem pole in the Coastal Division. Only two other teams remain winless in the ACC through the halfway point of the season: North Carolina and NC State.
It is hard to pinpoint what caused Virginia to crumble against the Blue Devils; both sides of the football stalled in the second half. During the second half, Duke converted 100 percent of their fourth downs and was able to force several consecutive three-and-outs in order to start their astounding comeback. The Virginia offense was not able to put together successful drives at all during the second half and the defense did not look as productive as it had in the first half. With a 22-point lead, it was Virginia’s game to lose. Moreover, the loss has left everyone in Charlottesville questioning the capabilities of the Cavalier squad.
The rest of the 2013 season is not looking any easier for the Cavaliers. Three of the five teams that remain on Virginia’s schedule are ranked opponents (No. 9 Clemson, No. 10 Miami, and No. 16 Virginia Tech), wins that would appear to be much more difficult than one against a Duke squad that’s struggling in the ACC. In order to secure a Bowl game bid, Virginia will have to defeat two of the three ranked squads in addition to Georgia Tech and North Carolina. This makes the season look very bleak considering that UVa can only afford to lose one more game.
Should the Cavaliers fail at clinching more wins this season, one cannot help but think that Coach Mike London’s time in Charlottesville is limited.
By Wayne Fullen, Sports Editor