Football. Large men hitting each other for 60 minutes. The best weather day of the year since spring. Do you remember spring? Yeah, me neither. It all added up to the perfect September evening, unless you were a Spider fan.
Football. Large men hitting each other for 60 minutes. The best weather day of the year since spring. Do you remember spring? Yeah, me neither. It all added up to the perfect September evening, unless you were a Spider fan. UR traveled to Charlottesville to take on the Wahoos for the first time since kicking off their 2008 National Championship season. In a result that hasn’t changed since 1947, the Spiders fell to the Wahoos 34-13.
The score at the half was 14-10, and with the exception of a few long plays, neither side appeared to be able to do much on offense. At the half, the teams were a combined 2-18 on 3rd and 4th down conversions. The offense on both sides was ugly except for a few long plays, and rumors that the punters iced their legs at half-time were unconfirmed.
The game turned in the second half behind a physical running attack from UVA. “Keith [Payne] is big,” exhaled UR head coach, Latrell Scott in post-game comments. Payne is big and played big. The 225-pound backup running back used his size to power through the game, running for 114 yards and four of UVA’s five scores. As is the case when FCS and BCS teams face each other, UVA used their superior size to wear UR down in the second half. In the later quarters UVA stuck with the formula that worked — Payne — giving him the ball, resulting in consecutive 10-yard plus drives. The Wahoos ran out the clock and ended any chance of UR making a late-game comeback.
UVA was aided by a solid, mistake-free effort play from senior quarterback Marc Verica, who threw 24-35, with 283 yards passing, one touchdown, and no turnovers. Coming into the season, UVA’s team seemed to consist of mostly question marks. They finished 3-9 last year, lost their coach, lost their starting quarterback, three of their top four wide receivers, and all four of their top running backs. Against UR, they found early answers with Verica hitting Wide Receivers Kris Burd and Dontrelle Inman with regularity, and Payne running the ball.
The Spiders entered the game following a successful 2009 season that ended in the FCS Quarterfinals to Appalachian State in the freezing rain. The big story for the Spiders was the debut of USC transfer, Junior Quarterback Aaron Corp. Corp, who was once QB1 at USC before losing his job to injury, played well. Throwing for 183 yards in 18-32 passing, Corp’s lone mistake came in the 4th quarter on a momentum-killing interception in the end zone. He impressed with his poise and mobility, as UVA’s defense was often in the backfield. Corp will keep UR in many games this year, and at times, will likely show us flashes of why he was so highly recruited out of high school, especially if pre-season all-conference wideouts Kevin Grayson and Tre Gray remain healthy. The Spiders were also aided by Fullback Kendall Gaskins’ career-long 70 yard TD run in the first quarter.
Mike London’s squad travels to USC next Saturday night, and UR has a bye week before opening the new Robins Stadium against Elon on September 28th.