The Cavaliers have certainly been living on the edge this season and that style of play finally caught up with the Hoos in Raleigh. The good news is this was not a game where Virginia simply did not show up. The game was in doubt until the final minutes despite the fact, frankly, that the contest could have been a State run-away.
Despite numerous injuries to key starters, a team coming off eight consecutive weeks of play and off a very emotional win over the Terrapins, Virginia produced more points in an away game at some place other than Duke since the last visit to College Park in October of 2005 (33 points).
But here we grade on execution. From poor play on third down to losing the turnover and big play battle to some questionable game-planning decisions, the numbers indicate that executing is something the Hoos did not do very well.
Overall Grade: 76.69 (C)
From our State offensive scouting report we noted the following:
Success on first down. NCSU has really struggled against the run, ranking 103rd in rush defense (204.4 yards per game). Opponents have averaged an impressive 5.25 yards per carry on first down.
Red Zone offense. The numbers parallel the State defense overall as teams have been effective running the football (4.4 YPP) but somewhat less productive through the air with 3.2 yards per attempt average. There’s also very good consistency first through third down with offensives netting 4.5, 4.1, and 4.5 yards per carry respectively on first, second, and third down runs in the red zone.
Success on first down. Virginia averaged 4.7 yards per play on first down but just 3.7 rushing. It could be argued that’s why the Virginia staff went away from the running game in the second half but overall the Cavaliers averaged 4.6 yards per carry on 16 running plays in the first half. The tailbacks touched the ball just 10 times in the second half in the run game. When I asked coach Al Groh Sunday his thoughts on the production of the running game he called it “decent” – I call it infrequent.
Red Zone offense. Virginia ran the ball five times inside the red zone, averaging 2.6 yards per play and passed 11, netting just a tad more at 3.4 yards per play and a turnover. Five of the passes fell incomplete and one was intercepted.
Red Zone Efficiency: 80 (B-)
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