Week three has come to a close and the Cavs have achieved redemption. In a big win against the Old Dominion Monarchs, the Cavaliers closed out the game with a 16-14 victory. An easy win? No. But a win nonetheless, and it doesn’t hurt that Virginia Tech fell to the Monarchs in week one. For a UVA vs. ODU recap, keep scrolling.
UVA vs. ODU: Offense
This game was tough. A win is a win but this one was much closer than it should’ve been.
Though the Cavs led 10-7 at the half, they showed where they’d improved since last week–and where they hadn’t. The rushing game was back in action yesterday. The Cavs entered halftime with 26 carries for 142 yards and an average of 5.5 yards per carry. This is leaps and bounds ahead of last week’s matchup at Illinois which saw the Cavs gain just 81 yards on 24 designed rushes but once again, the offense failed to perform to expectations.
Two first-half fumbles made the day harder for the Cavs. Mike Hollins and Brennan Armstrong both fumbled the ball at inopportune moments, ultimately allowing the Monarchs to score and make it a 3-point matchup at the half. Overall though, Armstrong got comfortable and made the plays he needed to make.
Dontayvion Wicks has had drop issues in both of the last two games. This is problematic for Wicks and for the team, and is a part of why yesterday’s win was a tough road for the Cavs, as Wicks had only four catches on 14 targets.
Perhaps the strongest offensive player of the day was freshman RB Xavier Brown who finished the game with nine carries for 88 yards, with his longest run of 38 yards setting up the Hoos’ single touchdown of the afternoon. Brown found holes in the defense and broke through tackles more than once, forcing multiple Monarchs to pile on to drag him down. Sixth year standout Keytaon Thompson praised Brown’s performance saying, “He was excellent today. He really provided a spark that we need. He had a couple of big runs and, coming from a young guy like that, it really means a lot.”
Related Article: UVA vs. ODU Preview
UVA vs. ODU: Defense
Despite the Cavs’ offensive struggles, their defense showed up to play just as they did last week.
The defensive line brought the pressure and had three sacks on ODU’s QB Hayden Wolff. They only let up 89 yards on 32 carries in the running game, a huge improvement from the 200 yards allowed last week at Illinois. UVA’s young secondary showed continued improvement as well with sophomore Lex Long landing a huge tackle on ODU’s final drive on 3rd and 12.
The defense has been playing above expectations this season. While still a young unit with room for improvement, it is John Rudzinski’s defense that has been the positive takeaway for the Cavs’ last two games.
UVA vs. ODU Recap: How It Ended
The final 55 seconds sealed the deal. The Cavs had a clutch six play, 66 yard drive to win it on a 26 yard field goal by Brendan Farrell.
This was the win the Cavs wanted, though not necessarily the way they needed to get it. Heading into tougher ACC play next week, the Cavs need to harness the positives from yesterday’s game and build on those to be able to hang during conference play for the rest of the season.
Vegas Picked Virginia
And so did I, on the moneyline.
I wrote in my preview article on this game that I liked Virginia to win it but that I didn’t like them to cover the spread. Like the Cavs, I’m 2-1 and yesterday was a win!
Next week, the Cavs are on the road again. They’ll head to Syracuse to faceoff against the Orange on Friday night.
For a pre-game preview and info on the odds, check out the University of Virginia on Gridiron Heroics ahead of game day!
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