Greg’s Game Report 2011: NC State

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The Georgia Tech game was a perfect example of the potential of the 2011 Cavalier football team when all three phase of the game play at a solid, sustained level for four quarters. Saturday against NC State was a prime example of what can happen when one operation doesn’t carry its weight. Virginia’s defense and special teams did enough to win against NCSU – the offense, however, was AWOL resulting in the Hoos’ 28-14 loss to the Wolfpack.

The Hoos finished with season lows in rushing (124), passing (125), total offense (249), yards per play (3.7), points (14), third down conversion rate and first downs. Were it not for a 60-yard scoring pass in the third quarter the numbers would have been even more abysmal.

Quarterback play was dismal as completion percentage, QB rating and yards per attempt all marked the lowest output of the season and UVa’s worst passing performance since the Duke and Miami games back in 2009. The offensive line appeared baffled by a good mix of stunts and blitzes standard in NC State’s defense. The line play was marked by weak technique, missed assignments and no finish. There was far too much penetration to be effective in the run game and State’s defensive linemen consistently held their leverage and controlled the line of scrimmage.

Virginia’s backs and receivers had modest days due in large part to the inefficiency of the QB and the lack of running space afford by the offensive line. The effectiveness of downfield blocking by the wideouts is hard to gauge when the backs can’t get into the second level.

The Cavaliers’ often maligned special teams units had another solid effort and secured their second consecutive high-B grade. Along with the defense, the operation helped the Cavaliers win the field position battle as the Hoos started on average at the 36.7 compared to the Pack’s starting field position of the 30.4 – this despite giving the Wolfpack two end of game plus-field positions inside the UVa 25-yard line. Unfortunately inept offensive execution and losing the turnover battle mitigated any Virginia advantage. Amazing how four turnovers can evaporate the benefits of a 114-yard field position advantage.

Virginia’s defense was effective against the run and had modest success against the Pack passing attack. There are some defenders however that should