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Virginia forced five turnovers and QB David Watford threw for a pair of school records, but the Cavs still lost.
Ryan M. Kelly | The (Charlottesville) Daily Progress
Virginia forced five turnovers and QB David Watford threw for a pair of school record in the UVa loss.
Ryan M. Kelly | The (Charlottesville) Daily Progress
Virginia receiver Tim Smith (20) hauls in a deep pass over the reach of Georgia Tech cornerback Louis Young (8) in the first half Saturday. Smith had 10 catches for 151 yards against the Yellow Jackets.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE —Turnovers and penalties were a recipe for Virginia defeats during the first half of its football season.
Opposing teams added another ingredient. They took advantage of the Cavaliers’ mistakes.
Georgia Tech had five turnovers and was penalized nine times for 97 yards Saturday, but Virginia didn’t make the Yellow Jackets suffer for their transgressions before a Scott Stadium crowd of 41,930.
There wasn’t the early exodus of spectators that had marked previous losses, but an entertaining affair did not end well for the Cavaliers, who were saddled with their fifth consecutive loss, 35-25.
Virginia (2-6, 0-4) wasted a record-setting afternoon by sophomore quarterback David Watford, who set a school record for completions and attempts and finished 43 for 61 for 376 yards.
Darius Jennings and Tim Smith each had 100-yard receiving days. They became the first set of UVa teammates to record double-digit receptions in the same game.
Jennings had 13 receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns; Smith had 10 catches for 151 yards.
“Some of the players had career days,” UVa coach Mike London said, “but you would rather have the ‘W.’ There were some good things that happened out there but not enough good things that allowed us to win.”
Georgia Tech (5-3, 4-2) needed only 65 seconds to take a lead that it would never relinquish. On the Yellow Jackets’ third offensive play, David Sims rambled 36 yards for a touchdown.
Robert Godhigh ran 35 yards on the previous play and the Yellow Jackets finished the day with eight plays of 24 yards or more. Georgia Tech finished with 507 yards in total offense, including 394 on the ground.
“I was just talking about that with one of my buddies in the locker room,” fifth-year UVa defensive end Jake Snyder said. “With that kind of offense, you generally see a lot of 3-, 4- and 5-yard runs and they gradually wear you down.
“We stopped them a lot of the time. We haven’t had many tackles for loss [against Georgia Tech] since I’ve been here. The scoreboard didn’t reflect it, but I think we did some good things out there.”
The Cavaliers entered the game ranked 103rd out of 123 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in turnover margin, but forced four turnovers — three Georgia Tech fumbles and the first of two Anthony Harris interceptions — in the first half.
Virginia penetrated the Yellow Jackets’ 40-yard line on its first four possessions, and all the Cavaliers had to show for it was an Alec Vozenilek field goal. Vozenilek also missed a field goal and a Watford pass on fourth-and-1 from the 10 did not come close to intended receiver Billy Skrobacz.
“I just missed him,” said Watford, whose accuracy for most of the afternoon was the best that it’s been.
Following Harris’ first interception, the Cavaliers drove to the Yellow Jackets’ 1-yard line in the waning moments of the first half but Kevin Parks was stopped for no gain as time expired.
“It was kind of a crazy game with all of the turnovers and penalties,” said Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, whose Yellow Jackets won for the second time in their last nine trips to Scott Stadium. “We weren’t giving up a lot of points, so we were able to hang in.”
A 65-yard touchdown run by Godhigh gave the Yellow Jackets a 28-17 lead with 12:46 remaining, but the Cavaliers put together a 12-play, 69-yard drive that was capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Watford to Jennings.
A two-point pass to Khalek Shepherd cut the deficit to 28-25 with 3:23 remaining and the momentum had swung Virginia’s way before Tech quarterback Vad Lee completed a 13-yard pass to DeAndre Smelter on third-and-9.
It was only the third completion of the day for Lee, who had been replaced by Justin Thomas during the middle portion of the game. Sims ended the game the way that he had started it, on a 29-yard touchdown run with 1:55 left.
Zach Laskey, Godhigh and Sims all rushed for more than 100 yards for the Yellow Jackets, whose 394 rushing yards matched a season high registered one week earlier in a 56-0 romp over Syracuse. It was the sixth time in eight games this year that Tech had rushed for 300 yards or more.
Moreover, the Yellow Jackets had 32 fewer offensive plays than UVa, which finished with 444 yards in total offense. The Cavaliers’ lone turnover came when Watford was intercepted with 1:43 left, after Tech had stretched its lead to 10.
“You can’t really place the blame on the offense,” UVa linebacker Daquan Romero, who blamed himself for not setting the edge on Godhigh’s 65-yard run. “It’s not about those five turnovers [caused by the defense]. It’s about four quarters.
“There were a lot of times when we let them score.”
The loss gave Virginia its second straight winless October.
“I don’t think any of us pictured our season going 2-6,” Snyder said. “It’s not something I planned on. It’s something I’m adjusting to. It’s not about me; it’s about the rest of the team. We’re all we have right now.”
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