10 Things I Learned Vs. MTSU

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Coach Al Groh’s team is 5-1.

Halfway through the season and the Hoos are 5-1. Had you offered that midseason record to Hoo fans prior to the season, I suspect that you would have had a lot of takers. And yet, after a nailbiter against Middle Tennessee State University, many fans seem puzzled by the product they see on the field. I can understand that perspective; after all, UVa is winning a lot of games at the margins this year. But they are winning, and that makes breaking down the game a lot more fun.

1. Another step in the right direction? I know, I know, many of you have spent many a sleepless night since the win wondering whether I again would claim that this week’s win was another step in the right direction. I suppose, in a sense, that you could say this was another step in the right direction. After all, it was a win, and wins are not guaranteed at this level no matter who the opponent (Appalachian State, anyone?). Plus, UVa posted its fifth win in a row. Plus, UVa beat an opponent that despite its record is far from being without talent. Plus, UVa beat a team that was playing as well as it has all season (and no, that is not only because we were letting them do it). Plus, UVa won a road game against a non-conference opponent and wins like that have been few and far between. Plus, UVa pulled out the game despite all kinds of injuries going into, and then during, the game. A lot of positives there.

But another step in the right direction? No, I cannot go quite that far.

Still, at least we did not go backward a step. Or two. Let’s think about how different things could look right now. The defense fails to stop MTSU when the Blue Raiders are trying to run out the clock and who knows what the collective confidence level of the defense is going into an important prep week. Jameel Sewell fails to execute on that last drive and who knows where his head is right now. Chris Gould misses that final field goal and who knows if he will be able to stop dwelling on misses that handed the game to MTSU. 4-2.

Fortunately, we do not have to