10 Things I Learned From Southern Miss

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A long time ago after a particularly painful loss, I vividly remember a certain head coach walking over to the postgame team huddle and softly saying, “Boy, football can really hurt sometimes, can’t it?”

Yes, Coach, it really can.

This week, it looked like the Hoos might finally have found something … and then just as fast, it was gone. The end result was a heartbreaking 37-34 loss to Southern Miss, the kind of loss that will be tough for the head coach to overcome and for the team to live with going into the bye week. And frankly, it will not be all that much fun to review either. But that is the task before us.

UVa couldn’t grab the win at Southern Miss.

1. Losing Teams Lose. A couple of years ago, I remember writing about a UVa game against Duke, a game that Virginia won though it did all that it could to lose the game. In the end, however, Duke found a way to lose the game when it seemed almost impossible to do so. When I wrote the 10 Things column after the game, I remember writing that “Losing Teams Lose.”

I just did not realize that a few years later, I would have to write the same things about a UVa team. Unfortunately, that was the kind of game that Virginia played this past Saturday.

Winning teams do not dump their offensive system after the first two games of a season. Winning teams do not abandon the run when sitting on a second half lead (more on that below). Winning teams do not give up a first down on 3rd-and-37. Winning teams do not give an opponent hope by allowing a 68-yard fluke kick-off return and then bounce back and show it was just a fluke by allowing a 100-yard return for a touchdown. No, winning teams just find a way to make something different happen, to force a different outcome, to get the ball to bounce a different way.

Unfortunately, this team is finding a way to make things go wrong just when it feels like they are going to go right. That gets disheartening