Inside The Game: MTSU

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Using Andrew Pearman in the option led to 2 TDs for UVa.

When Virginia lost Cedric Peerman , the ACC’s leading rusher, late in the first quarter of Saturday’s game at Middle Tennessee State, many Virginia fans probably felt a slight sense of dread. Just a twinge of that ‘we’ve been here’ before anxiety.

After all, reserve backs Keith Payne and Andrew Pearman had combined for exactly 39 carries in the first five games. No one knew exactly what to expect.

In the end, the duo – along with a key play from fellow back-up Josh Zidenberg – delivered enough production for the Cavaliers to win. It wasn’t always spectacular. Every run wasn’t of earth-shattering, break-the-game-open variety. In fact, some plays were average at best.

On the Cavs’ two touchdown drives following Peerman’s departure, however, Pearman and Payne were instrumental in the offense’s success. On those two drives, they recorded 17 touches on 25 total plays. They were heavily involved in several others as well by either blocking or as decoys. Both drives ate up 85 yards of real estate and both ended in a Pearman touchdown run.

On the scoring march that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter, the duo combined for six touches with Pearman being the featured performer on four of the 10 plays. The breakdown of the key moments on the 10-play drive:

  • Payne picks up the rush on a pass play.
  • On a screen pass to the right, Pearman picks up 15 yards to the UVa 43.
  • Payne carries to the left side for 4 yards.
  • Pearman and Sewell run classic option to the left where the pitch to Pearman gains 9 yards and a first down.
  • Pearman serves as the decoy on a read option keeper with Jameel Sewell , who runs for 10 yards and a first down.
  • Another screen pass with Pearman goes left and he makes the first defender miss before recording 8 yards.
  • On 3rd-and-2 at the MT 21, UVa