2003 South Carolina Game Analysis

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“I would have to say that nobody had a very good game, from the coaches all the way down to the players.”

Virginia head coach Al Groh pretty much summed up the Cavaliers’ porous performance in only one sentence after
Saturday’s 31-7 mauling at the hands of South Carolina. A Virginia team that ran out a redshirt freshman at
quarterback was lucky to be in the game at half time, and the only reason it was close at that time was the stellar
first half play of a young Cavalier defense.

On a day when Virginia had a chance to show the country that their rankings in both the writers’ and the coaches’
polls were warranted by winning in an extremely hostile environment, the entire team struggled to do much of anything.
The only bright spot in the beginning of the game – Virginia’s defense – faded through the second half when it was
obvious they were worn out.

Were there any positives in Saturday’s implosion at William-Brice Stadium? Maybe, but you would have to look really
close to find them.

At the Root of it All

When a head coach brings out a redshirt freshman quarterback in his first start in front of 80,000 very loud fans, it
is hard to expect very much from the young man. If he is in a position to be the number one backup, however, you expect
him to be able to move the team up and down the field just a little bit. Unfortunately for Groh and quarterback Anthony
Martinez, that simply wasn’t the case on Saturday, as Martinez struggled mightily in his first start as a Virginia

On the day, Virginia gained seven first downs the entire game, only two of those coming through the air. While that
is an amazing stat, unfortunately for Groh it was only beginning. Somehow, Martinez managed to only pass for 54 yards
against a Gamecocks defense that often got torched last season.

To put that number in some perspective, only one team has had a worse passing performance in the nation all
season, and that team would be the Rice Owls, who are not exactly known for their football prowess. As it stands,
Virginia ranks 110th in the nation in passing yardage, a sure sign that the Virginia staff can’t wait for
injured senior Matt Schaub to make his way on the field.

It would be hard, and unfair, to put Saturday’s loss on Martinez’ shoulders, however. It was obvious that the
young man was just