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Virginia Film Review: Third Quarter

Virginia jumped out to a ten point lead in the third quarter.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The third quarter is where things started to get out of hand for the defense. If you want to take a look at the first two quarters, they are here and here.


I wanted to try to stay away from beating a dead horse, but it’s impossible with this play. Louisville absolutely has to take advantage of any opportunity and this is a shining example of them doing so. Bobby Petrino confirmed on his weekly recap show that UofL didn’t get this coverage right. Rodjay Burns was looking for a “switch” here and that’s why he initially follows the receiver that goes outside. That doesn’t happen (It shouldn’t happen) so Burns has to correct and get to the short receiver.

That was the bad of the play but Burns makes a big play on the tip drill and makes a very good return inside the five. The UVA receiver makes a big mistake here and UofL is able to capitalize. It’s exactly what they need out of their defense. They took a bad play and turned it into a big play.


I’m beginning to believe that Petrino is overthinking things and he’s trying to outsmart people instead of just doing what he thinks will work. That’s why I think he brought Jawon Pass in at quarterback and then didn’t throw the ball here. Running the ball into the middle of your line for the third, fourth, and fifth times of the game and getting the same result that you got the first two times is, quite literally, insane.

Here’s your summary of all three downs: At least one lineman didn’t come close to making their block. Jeremy Smith didn’t follow the design of the play on second down. Linwood Foy forgot that he could just fall on a defender if they get that low on him?


Louisville has been hit by injuries pretty badly at the linebacker spot so they have Damien Smith in the game on this drive instead of Nick Okeke. I won’t get into recruiting here but, let’s just say that they shouldn’t have to play Smith in a base defense.

Chandler Jones misses the quarterback on a blitz for the second time this game. Don’t know if it’s just inexperience or what, but his target point was poor on both of them. He should have played them inside-out but targeted where they would be instead and they ran straight down the field both times.

Also, I don’t care about a player being hurdled. Every defender looks the same when it happens because being hurdled makes you look stupid. It’s not an indictment on that player’s ability or how they’re coached to tackle. Really athletic people make other really athletic people look dumb every day.


Here is a perfectly blocked run play. The more I’ve watched these games the more it seems like they really stick to this “Strong side/Quick side” mentality in the running game. They flip the line as we all know and they run it to the Cole Bentley/Lukayus McNeil side more than the other side. It seems that way at least.

This time they run it behind Mekhi Becton and you can see him get push on his man and then swing his hips to seal him. Micky Crum gets up to his man and does a good job getting his shoulders turned to seal his guy. Linwood Foy pulls and gets a seal on his guy. It’s like those old John Madden teleprompter moments: He gets a seal, and he gets a seal there, and there you have your alley. Kudos to Cole Bentley for shooting out and getting a good block at the second level, too. That’s an area where the entire line has struggled.


Here’s where Petrino’s stubbornness about creating big plays in the passing game works. It takes Pass being the guy at quarterback and it takes good blocking. I really love seeing Crum identify this blitzer and work hard to get to him. The routes are past the sticks but Pass has the patience to let them develop and he throws a really good ball to Dez. Notice that he puts it on him instead of leading him into the defender.


I think this play is what the coaching staff expected when they brought Jawon Pass into the program as a guy that would be able to sit and learn for a while. UVA comes with an overload blitz but Pass stands tall and eyes his shortest route knowing that he has to get it out quick. He delivers a nice throw to the numbers and gets the first down.


There’s a lot of bad in this play. First, it appears that Petrino realizes that something is wrong with the alignment or the play call. You can see Tutu Atwell and Seth Dawkins with their hands up. The assistants that call in the plays are still doing so when the ball is snapped. Tutu just kinda runs something because he obviously doesn’t know for sure what he’s supposed to be doing.

My biggest issue is that Pass throws this ball into what would be an impossible window even if Bryce Hall wasn’t there. He has wide open space in front of him and he could have easily pulled this down and run for yardage. Hell, Bentley and Trey Smith couldn’t even find anyone to block.