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Virginia head coach Mike London is thankful for a call that went his way during the second half of Saturday's game against Ball State in Charlottesville. Ball State won 48-27.
Virginia running back Khalek Shepherd (23) is tackled by Ball State linebacker Kenneth Lee (17) Saturday in Charlottesville.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE - Virginia's football team has made no shortage of moves in its effort to play at a more respectable level.
UVa's lineup Saturday included five players who were making their first start at their respective positions.
Sophomore Jay Whitmire merely moved from offensive right tackle to right guard, but the other four were first-time starters: center Jackson Matteo, offensive tackle Eric Smith and wide receivers Keeon Johnson and Kyle Dockins.
Matteo and Dockins are redshirt freshmen, and Smith and Johnson are true freshmen.
Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 200-pounder who became the 11th true freshman to play for UVa this season, had an early impact.
His leaping grab on a third-and-6 pass from quarterback David Watford kept alive the drive that led to UVa's first touchdown.
Johnson, who had not played before Saturday, finished with three receptions for 46 yards in the Cavaliers' 48-27 loss to Ball State.
Dockins did not have a reception as veterans Tim Smith and Darius Jennings continued to receive ample playing time.
The legend of junior kicking specialist Alec Vozenilek continued to grow Saturday as he took over placement duties from Ian Frye, who pulled a hip flexor muscle in warmups prior to a Sept. 28 game at Pittsburgh.
Vozenilek, a recruited walk-on who arrived at Virginia as a combination punter-kicker, had not attempted a field goal in college until he gave the Cavaliers a 3-0 lead on a 39-yarder with 7:34 remaining in the first quarter.
Vozenilek completed his 2-for-2 afternoon with a 38-yarder that closed Ball State's lead to 34-27 with 10:41 left.
He also went 3-for-3 on extra points and averaged 45.0 yards on four punts, including a 56-yarder.
Ball State junior Willie Snead, whose father played for the Cavaliers in the mid-1980s, didn't have a catch in the second half but did more than enough in the first half, finishing with six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.
It was his third 100-yard receiving day in succession.
Virginia assistant coach Tom O'Brien said he spoke to the younger Snead before the game and that his resemblance to his father, who was in the crowd, was striking.
O'Brien, as an assistant to then-UVa head coach George Welsh, recruited the elder Snead and teammate John Ford out of Belle Glade (Fla.) Central.
By the numbers
Sophomore defensive tackle David Dean registered Virginia's only sack of the game. The Cavaliers had recorded 13 sacks in their first four games.
An apparent sack by UVa's Eli Harold in the second quarter was nullified when Harold was penalized for a blow to the helmet of Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning.
Odds 'n' ends
Wenning, who has thrown for 9,238 yards, became Ball State's all-time passing leader. ... Ball State running back Jahwan Edwards has scored three touchdowns in three consecutive games. ... The Cardinals did not score a touchdown on their opening drive for the first time in six games this season.
Ball State, which had a plus-4 turnover differential Saturday, was ranked 10th in the nation in that category before Saturday.
Ball State has had 15 takeaways, compared to Virginia, which has six. The Cavaliers were tied for 108th.
"I am usually not speechless, but I am pretty darn close. It is going to take a while for this one to really sink in, but this has got to be the biggest win the history of Ball State football in nine years.'' - fourth-year Cardinals head coach Pete Lembo.
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