Daquan Romero and the UVa defense held VMI to less than 100 yards of offense.
The Virginia football team made the most of a pre-conference tune-up game on Saturday at Scott Stadium. UVa dominated defensively and eventually ran all over a severely overmatched VMI team en route to a lopsided 49-0 victory.
The Cavaliers have outscored the Keydets 169-7 in the last four meetings between the schools.
“Going into the open week, we wanted to work on some things we thought we needed to do in order to become a better football team. Obviously that first quarter wasn’t indicative of the things we worked on,” Virginia coach Mike London said. “I thought that the second quarter when we got a few scores, a long pass, and some running yards, showed the things we have been working on. We are satisfied right now, but we can’t stay satisfied because we have our first road game and conference game next week against a good Pittsburgh team.”
The Wahoo defense destroyed the VMI offense from beginning to end with starters and reserves alike. The Keydets managed just 79 total yards (41 rushing, 38 passing) and gained 4 first downs. VMI quarterbacks completed 9 of 31 passes. The visitors also lost two fumbles and finished 1 of 16 on third downs.
Since the Keydets registered a paltry 56 total plays with 22 incomplete passes in the mix, it limited the statistics for the defense. Anthony Harris led the way with 8 tackles, while fellow starters Jake Snyder and Brent Urban each logged 4 stops. Once the reserves took over in the second half, defensive end Trent Corney stole the show with 5 tackles that included 2 sacks, 1 pass break-up, and 1 forced fumble.
“I think the defense played well. They continued to improve on things we have worked on,” London said. “We also played a lot of guys. They had the ability to get their feet wet and play good defense. We are a defensive team and have to play good defense.”
The 49-0 win represented the first shutout of the London era. The last goose egg from a Wahoo defense came in a 31-0 win against Maryland in 2008.
“We did well. We met our goals,” UVa defensive end Eli Harold said. “Playing a team like that, you just can’t let up. We just did what we do. Coach didn’t change anything up. We ran the same calls as the first two games. We just kept it basic, didn’t try and get too fancy.”
Kevin Parks rolled up more than 200 yards of total offense vs. VMI.
The offense took a quarter to find its stride and the game stood in a 0-0 stalemate at the end of 15 minutes. The Hoos were stuffed on 4th-and-1 early in the opening period and David Watford threw a pair of interceptions on back-to-back possessions as well. Watford bounced back to finish 18-of-25 passing for 206 yards with 2 touchdowns and the 2 INTs. He also rushed for 30 yards and 1 TD.
When Kevin Parks burst through a cut-back lane for a 61-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, however, Watford described it as a “sigh of relief” for the offense and things began to click. Parks took a toss to the left side on 3rd-and-1 and then cut up an alley where no one was waiting. That run was the longest by a Cavalier back since Cedric Peerman sprinted 79 yards up the opposite sideline in the opposite direction against ECU in 2008.
Parks finished with a monster statistical day. The junior piled up 204 all-purpose yards with 135 rushing yards and 69 receiving yards. That marked the fourth time in his career that Parks cleared the 100-yard rushing barrier.
He said he waited for an opening on the long touchdown run and never looked back.
“I slow-played it a little bit. A lot of defenses are very aggressive and they know we are going to run the ball so I just slow-played and saw the hole open up and hit it,” Parks said. “Like I said, guys made blocks in the secondary and I sprung free.”
Parks wasn’t alone, though. The running back that starred in a supplementary role, however, surprised everyone and quickly led to a message board love affair. True freshman walk-on Daniel Hamm made the most of his opportunity as he stepped in with both Khalek Shepherd and Taquan Mizzell not dressed due to injury.
Hamm tallied a team-best 136 rushing yards on 21 carries and scored 2 touchdowns.
It’s the first time since 2005 that two UVa running backs had more than 100 yards rushing in the same game. Jason Snelling and Wali Lundy did it against Temple that season in a 51-3 romp. The last time Virginia eclipsed the 300-yard marker with the running game – it finished with 357 against VMI – came against Duke in 2004
“We knew we were banged up at running back. He had practiced and had done a pretty nice job,” London said of Hamm. “He came to us as a walk-on for track and wanted to play football. Three weeks ago, he was running with the scout team and today he comes out and gets over 100 yards. He ran tough and hard and you could see the skillset that he has with speed and durability. He was very pleased with his opportunity to carry the ball and get yardage and he definitely was an asset for us.”
Virginia returns to action next Saturday at Pittsburgh, who defeated Duke 58-55 this week. It is the first ACC game and first road game of the year for the Hoos. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. on the Regional Sports Networks.