10 Things I Learned … Richmond

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Coming off a season-opening blowout loss to USC, Virginia needed to win this weekend. A pretty win would be nice but no matter what, it had to be a win. Lucky, blowout, ugly, comfortable, accidental, whatever … UVa needed a win and got one. Which of those adjectives should be used to describe the win, however, is up for debate.

Chase Minnifield ‘s interception helped the defense shut out Richmond.

1. Not The Game I Expected To See. Going into the match-up with Richmond, I had no problem envisioning a close game. In fact, I thought a relatively close game was more likely than not. What I did not expect, however, was a close game in which both of the opposing offenses struggled to put points on the board.

Focusing on the positive side of the equation first, it was encouraging to see the defense rebound from the USC game, the type of game that often can leave both a physical and mental scar. In the “oops, did I really say that?” category, I admit that I thought UR’s offense might be able to put some points on the board against UVa’s defense. Of course, the Spiders probably should have, having had the ball for more than 28 minutes on offense with nine drives that ended inside UVa territory, including three drives that ended inside UVa’s 20-yard-line. But the defense’s formula for success was fairly simple:

Stop the run. Richmond finished the game with a net of only19 yards rushing. Josh Vaughan finished with 52 rushing yards, more than I would have liked to see but with most of those yards coming on two runs – a 21-yarder in the second quarter and a 14-yarder in the fourth. Richmond was not able to establish any consistent running game on the day.

Win third down. Richmond was 1 for 12 on third down conversions, making it all the more surprising that the time of possession battle was not won by UVa in a more lopsided manner.

Make big plays. Here is where Virginia really bailed itself out. Ten tackles for loss,