Greg’s Game Grades: Virginia 27, Syracuse 24

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The Cavaliers secured their second win of the season with a 27-24 triumph over Syracuse. Virginia played better, blocked better, tackled better and coached better than it did against Western Michigan. And while this week’s grades show that some areas did improve, only two units came to the Carrier Dome with their “A” game.

Quarterback (B-)

An A+ performance loses some gloss with 3 interceptions

Marques Hagans

On the afternoon, Marques Hagans completed 16 of 26 passes for 145 yards, recording an inefficient 5.6 yards per pass and a poor 1/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He also ran the ball 14 times for 110 yards (7.9 YPC). While none of Hagans’ three interceptions led to Syracuse points, they likely cost the Cavaliers points and made what could have been a comfortable win a nail-biter.

Hagans’ first pick came on Virginia’s third drive. The Cavalier quarterback threw slightly behind tight end Tom Santi in the Syracuse end zone. The ball bounced off Santi and into the arms of Orange defensive end Ryan LaCasse. The interception came on the heels of a 4-for-4 passing effort for 61 yards on the drive. His second interception came on a deep go route in which his intended target (Deyon Williams ) fell down and Syracuse corner Steve Gregory made a nice catch. The final pick was on a pass that sailed over the head of Jonathan Stupar and into the arms of Dowayne Davis.

When Virginia needed plays, however, Hagans delivered again and again. On third-and-5 during Virginia’s second drive of the game, he converted with a seven-yard completion to Williams. Later in the drive, his 38-yard flight down the left side of the field converted another third down to a first at the Orange 20. Hagans threw a sharp touchdown pass on a crossing route to Cedric Peerman