The Turning Point – Miami

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Antonio Appleby ‘s tackle caused a Miami fumble.

Virginia’s defense has proved to be a challenging group this season when given a lead so when led 7-0 after just one drive on Saturday, the Cavaliers’ chances of winning had already improved. Plus, the running game was helping control the time of possession. So when the Hoos forced a second quarter turnover, it proved to be “The Turning Point” in a 17-7 victory against Miami.

At that point in the game, the Hoos led 7-0. While Miami’s offense was struggling, a one-score lead is never a big enough cushion when a team has a lot of potential firepower. A two-touchdown lead? That is a whole different ballgame. You can change your approach slightly. You can take a few more risks on defense without worrying about a big play knotting the score. You can be more patient and try different things on offense without the risk of a critical mistake costing you the game.

That’s why Antonio Appleby ‘s forced fumble early in the second quarter was huge for the Cavaliers. It helped produce a 14-0 lead and the Hoos had complete control of the game the rest of the way.

“The defense has made a lot of progress this year. Obviously, they’ve kept us in a lot of games. Part of the formula for how you win in this league – playing good defense is certainly part of it. Playing opportunistic defense and we did that,” Virginia coach Al Groh said. “We only had the two turnovers, two take-aways but clearly one of them was very instrumental in the game and that was the one that set up the second score and allowed us to operate the game in an entirely different fashion.”

“The Turning Point” sequence began with a Ryan Weigand punt that sailed 47 yards, leaving Miami with possession at the 22-yard line even after a 14-yard return. After a short gain on first down, the Hurricanes opted for a safe play on second down – it turned out to be a play that backfired because of the result.