Virginia has looked like the front-runner in the Coast Division all season. That may have changed on Friday after a tough loss at Miami. Also, if you thought Josh Jackson did not add all that much to Maryland's offense, you thought wrong. That was made clear in Saturday's blowout loss to a bad Purdue team. Virginia Tech continues to try to turn things around with a new quarterback, Navy earned a key conference win and Penn State and Iowa continue to ruin football for everyone.
Here's a recap of the week's local action.
Miami 17, Virginia 9
While the Cavaliers' offense struggled in this one, the defense was tremendous and kept Virginia in it. After giving up 78 yards to Miami in their first possession, UVA held the Hurricanes to just 33 yards, no point and six punts on their next six drives. The defense began to bend late as Miami earned 147 of its 265 total yards and 10 of its 17 points on the final two drives. Still, Virginia's defense clearly did enough to win this game.
It's time to be concerned about the Cavalier's rushing offense. Virginia was held to just 74 yards on the ground with its best rusher, Wayne Taulapapa, getting just 27 yards on eight carries. Once again, too much was asked of Bryce Perkins who attempted 42 passes and finished with 17 carries including five sacks.
In the past two games, Perkins has attempted 85 combined passes as UVA has failed to establish any semblance of a run game.
Just how bad was the offense on Saturday? The Cavaliers got inside Miami's 30 six times in the game and managed only three field goals. Perhaps the most indicative drive of the game came in the fourth quarter when Joe Reed set up Virginia in Miami territory off a 72-yard kickoff return. UVA would ultimately settle for a field goal off a drive that lasted seven plays and gained a grand total of zero yards (not a typo).
Star cornerback Bryce Hall also suffered a leg injury in the second quarter and had to be carted off. Hall elected to forego the NFL draft for a year in order to return for his senior season. It would be devastating if he suffered a major injury as a result. It would also be a huge blow to the secondary if he was lost for any significant time.
Purdue 40, Maryland 14
Dontay Demus has established himself as the go-to receiver regardless of who is under center. With Tyrrell Pigrome in at quarterback, Demus caught 10 passes for 105 yards.
Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer threw for a whopping 420 yards and three touchdowns, both career-highs according to the AP. In the battle of the backup quarterbacks, Pummer certainly outplayed Pigrome who looked overmatched.
A Purdue offense that ranked 129th in the nation with 50.8 rush-yards per game managed to double that for 127 rushing yards. That came off of 37 attempts so it is not as if the Boilermakers were great on the ground, but they were able to move the ball more efficiently than they should have been able to do.
Virginia Tech 34, Rhode Island 17
The Hokies offense is definitely playing with some momentum after the quarterback switch to Hendon Hooker. Hooker passed for 261 yards and three touchdowns. DeShawn McClease also continued to establish himself as the team's premiere back with 124 yards on just 12 carries.
Once again Virginia Tech struggled to put away an opponent. Despite all the good stats and the final score, Rhode Island stayed with Virginia Tech for much of the game, pulling to within three points in the third quarter before the Hokies pulled away.
Virginia Tech will be without Reggie Floyd for the first half of next week's game against North Carolina after he was ejected for targeting for a hit on Isaiah Coulter in the fourth quarter. That could be a key ACC matchup if the Hokies want to climb back into contention for the division.
Penn State 17, Iowa 12
In a game with little offense to speak of, Noah Cain managed to find some room to work with, rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. His touchdown proved to be the game-winner.
Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley threw an interception in the fourth quarter and Cain put the finishing touches on the 35-yard touchdown drive. That made a 10-6 game 17-6 and really put things out of reach.
The offense is always ugly when these two teams meet. Never forget the 2004 matchup that resulted in a 6-4 win for the Hawkeyes. This game felt like a tribute to that monstrosity.
One of the few offensive highlights of the night came off an unreal catch by Iowa's Brandon Smith late in the game in which he victimized Penn State cornerback John Reid.
Sorry, Reid. You are going to be seeing yourself in that highlight for a long, long time.
During pregame warmups, Penn State players wore shirts saying, "Chains, Tattoos, Dreads, & WE ARE." The shirts were worn in support of teammate Jonathan Sutherland who was sent a letter last week by a Penn State alum critical of his "awful" hair.
One of my teammates got this. Explain to me how this isn't racist. pic.twitter.com/Qms1F6DEEP— Antonio Shelton (@_groovy55) October 7, 2019
"Surely there must be mirrors in the locker room!" the letter said. "Don't you have parents or girlfriend who've told you those shoulder length dreadlocks look disgusting and are certainly not attractive. (sic)"
The shirts were confiscated after warmups reportedly because the players had not discussed their intention to wear the shirts with head coach James Franklin.
Navy 45, Tulsa 17
Navy completely hand-cuffed Tulsa's offense by allowing them absolutely nothing on the ground. The Golden Hurricane came into Saturday's game averaging a modest 115.6 rushing yards per game. The Midshipmen limited them to just 69 yards.
Quarterback Malcolm Perry was critical of his performance after the game as he told reporters, "As far as executing the offense, seeing things clearly, making the right reads, just a little too much indecision. I wasn't too happy with my performance, but of course we got the win. I thought the offense as a whole played really well, so I'm happy about that, but overall, my personal play, I wasn't too pleased."
Perry is probably the only person who thought he had a bad game, however, as he rushed for 218 yards and three touchdowns.
Tulsa was up 3-0 in the first quarter and looked like they had just scored on a 98-yard touchdown pass from Zach Smith to Sam Crawford. The touchdown was called back, however, after replay showed Crawford had stepped out of bounds before the catch. This could have been a very different game had Crawford stayed in bounds.
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