Owls are Foul: So, Should We Give a Hoot?

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Jason Snelling looked fit, strong and fast at fullback.

Against an opponent as grossly incompetent as Temple, it doesn’t serve much purpose to examine the final score or the stats. Those things are virtually meaningless because they only reflect how the Cavaliers played relative to the competition, and in this case the competition was a joke. Against the Owls, everyone looks good.

To get a better gauge of UVa’s performance, you have to dig a little deeper. What matters? What doesn’t? I think the resurgence of the running game bodes well for the rest of the season. Same with the intensity and aggressiveness of the defense, as long as those things carry over. At the same time, today’s game, as lopsided as it was, failed to resolve some of the team’s biggest issues going into the homestretch.

So don’t get too carried away by the 51-3 score, the 449-170 advantage in total offense, the 262-10 edge in rushing yards, the five sacks, the three takeaways. Everyone does that to Temple. It’s not a big deal.

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What is a big deal, I think, is the health of Wali Lundy and Jason Snelling. Going into the season, Virginia’s starting backfield seemed capable of many big afternoons like this one. After all, Lundy had 41 touchdowns in three seasons, while Snelling offers so many dimensions at fullback. It was reasonable to expect them to be productive, if not explosive, all year.

Instead, thanks to Lundy’s sprained foot and the reoccurrence of Snelling’s undisclosed medical condition (which forced him to redshirt in 2003), the two backs combined for just 279 rushing yards and no rushing touchdowns in Virginia’s first seven games. Today they totalled 239 yards and six TDs on the ground, but it wasn’t just the stats. It was the way they looked, the way they ran, the way they felt. Lundy said he started feeling 100 percent during Monday’s practice and

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