Greg’s Grades 2023: Virginia Loses Late Against JMU

Virginia Cavaliers Anthony Colandrea Grades
Virginia quarterback set UVA freshman records in his first career start and received good grades as well. ~ Photo by Kris Wright/

If the 56,508 fans who filled Scott Stadium for the Virginia vs. JMU game this past Saturday were looking for an exciting event, they got their money’s worth. If they were looking for the Cavaliers to notch victory No. 1 of the 2023 season, however, they left woefully disappointed.

The game was marked by many of the same issues and inconsistencies we witnessed last week in Tennessee. A sluggish run game, poor tackling, abysmal third down conversion efficiency on both sides of the ball, erratic special teams play, and an AWOL pass rush. There are 23 players in the NCAA that have more sacks than Virginia as a team.

I’ll get into all of this mess but let me close out the opening with kudos to Anthony Colandrea for his record-setting start Saturday afternoon. He completed 76.9% of his passes, going 20 of 26 for 377 yards with a 14.5 yards per attempt number and connected for 2 touchdowns. No UVA quarterback has completed 20+ passes and recorded a 14.5 YPA in the last 15 years. The last time a Virginia team completed over 77% of its passes was against UNC on 11/2/2019. Colandrea’s 377 yards through the air, 2 touchdown passes, and 20-26 completions set or tied Cavalier single-game freshman records. And one final note on the rookie’s performance: UVA had thrown 60+ yard pass plays three times in the 2021, 2018, 2017 and 2016 seasons – Colandrea did it in ONE GAME.


Offense: While the Virginia run game continues to try and find its way, the passing game looked spectacular Saturday. Colandrea’s 75-yard touchdown pass to Kobe Pace to open the second half was the longest ever by a UVA freshman quarterback and the longest by the Cavaliers since Brennan Armstrong’s 70-yard pass to Dontayvion Wicks at BYU in 2021. Colandrea also smashed the UVA single game passing yards by a freshman record previously held by Jameel Sewell (243 yards).