10 Things I Learned From W&M

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Jameel Sewell and the Hoos were disappointed with another season-opening loss.

Hitting rock bottom … a phrase that certainly is overused, particularly in the sports world. And even if you limit “rock bottom” to the sports world, can you really hit rock bottom after only one game?

Sure feels like it.

UVa has had plenty of rough season openers – Wyoming, anyone? – but this one was as bad as any of them. This one hurt. This one started a season that had to get off on the right foot on the wrong one. And this one revealed issues that may make it hard to turn things around. There was a lot to learn from this weekend’s game … and very little of it was pleasant.

1. Opening Perspective. When William beats you up, that’s bad. When Mary kicks your tail, too, things have gone from bad to worse. But shockingly enough, it can get even worse than that: in this loss, William & Mary did not even play all that well … and yet they still walked off the field with the win.

Going into this game, I was far from comfortable that the Hoos would walk off the field with a win. New offense, very uncertain rotation at quarterback, an offensive line that was not giving me a warm and fuzzy feeling, a front seven on defense dealing with a lot of turnover, an opponent with the ability to win games (even at a different level), a match-up against an in-state opponent looking for respect … plenty of reasons to think this game was going to be far closer than some might have predicted. But if you told me before the game that William & Mary would turn the ball over, have seven drives in which it failed to gain a first down, miss three field goals, have 12 penalties for an even 100 yards, and repeatedly fail to capitalize on broken coverages in the secondary … and that UVa still would lose, I am not sure I would have believed you.

But once I look at the actual game stats, it is easy to believe. Virginia handed three interceptions to its opponent, one that was taken in for a touchdown. Five fumbles, four of which resulted in turnovers.