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RYAN M. KELLY | The (Charlottesville) Daily Progress
Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee (center) pitches the ball as Virginia defensive ends Max Valles (left) and Jake Snyder (right) close in for the tackle during the second half of Saturday's game in Charlottesville.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Of all the scoring opportunities that Virginia let slide Saturday in a 35-25 loss to Georgia Tech, none was debated as widely as the Cavaliers’ final play of the first half.
The Cavaliers, who trailed 14-10, faced a second-and-goal from the Georgia Tech 1-yard line with six seconds on the clock. UVa had used its final timeout.
After huddling on the sideline, the Cavaliers ran onto the field quickly in hopes of catching the Yellow Jackets in an unsettled situation, but running back Kevin Parks was stopped for no gain.
One option would have been a field goal.
“We could have kicked the field goal,” UVa coach Mike London said, “but this team is 2-5. We had one yard to go. We did a great job moving the ball down there and we wanted a touchdown.”
London was asked if he had considered throwing a pass, which, if incomplete, might have left enough time for a field goal.
“We can talk about play selection,” he said, “but what we tried was a jumbo package and we tried to show them something different and capitalize on it.”
Parks entered the game as the ACC’s third-leading rusher but had been stopped at the 1-yard on earlier instances this year and last.
“I’ve got to take it upon myself,” said Parks, ever the stand-up guy. “I’ve got to get in there, no matter what. You get that, maybe it’s a completely different ballgame we’re talking about right now.”
The Cavaliers had taken possession at Georgia Tech’s 46-yard line following an interception by Anthony Harris with 43 seconds left. A pass interference penalty gave possession to UVa at the 2-yard line. On first down, Parks was stopped after a 1-yard gain.
“We’ve got to seize our opportunities,” Parks said.
True freshman Zach Bradshaw made his first appearance of the season and started at outside linebacker. Bradshaw, the 12th true freshman to play for the Cavaliers this season, assisted on two tackles.
“Zach had been penciled in to play in the Oregon game [in Week 2] and broke his hand in practice,” London said. “He had to have surgery on his hand and have a pin inserted in it. We’d been planning on playing him for a long time. “
Bradshaw was one of four true freshmen who started on the defense, along with outside linebacker Max Valles, defensive tackle Donte Wilkins and cornerback Tim Harris.
The Cavaliers were without three injured regulars on defense — cornerback Demetrius Nicholson, cornerback Maurice Canady and defensive tackle Brent Urban. Nicholson has missed three games, Urban two games and Canady one.
UVa sophomore quarterback David Watford set a school record for completions, 43, on a day when the Cavaliers’ leading receiver for the season, tight end Jake McGee, was not in uniform.
London said that McGee, who had 31 receptions in the first seven games, has a hip pointer that caused Virginia to list him as questionable on its Thursday injury list. He did not warm up.
Darius Jennings, who finished with 13 receptions for 119 yards, entered the game with a total of 15 receptions in seven games. He had a team-leading 48 reception as a sophomore in 2012.
Fifth-year senior Tim Smith finished with a career-high 10 receptions for 151 yards. He had caught 13 passes in the first seven games, but both he and Jennings started Saturday after losing their jobs earlier in UVa’s five-game losing streak.
Odds ’n’ ends
Watford broke records set by current Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, who was 41 of 58 for 372 yards in a 23-15 loss at Georgia Tech in 2002. Watford’s 376 yards ranks fourth on UVa’s all-time list; Marc Verica holds the school record at 417. … Harris’ two interceptions gave him five for the season. The Cavaliers have six as a team, two more than they had all of last season. … Virginia Tech freshman Brandon Facyson was the ACC leader in interceptions before Saturday with four in seven games.
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