By: Darrell Owens
Headline Photo Credit: Darrell Owens-LMS Network
It was Week 3 of the College Football season, and Virginia was looking to bounce back after a tough loss to Illinois 24-3 on the road last week. This past Saturday, Virginia was hoping to get back on track against in-state competitor Old Dominion. The last time these two teams met was in 2019 in Charlottesville where the Cavaliers would come back from a 17-0 deficit to win the first ever game between the two schools 28-17. The second matchup would be just as interesting as the first. This one would come down to the very last play of the game.
Things would get started for the Cavaliers late in the first quarter with a Mike Hollins 1-yard touchdown run giving Virginia a 7-0 lead heading into the 2nd quarter. Early in the 2nd Quarter, Virginia would increase their lead to 10-0 after a Brendan Farrell 26-yard field. Virginia held that 10-point lead until the last 0:19 seconds of the half when ODU’s QB Hayden Wolff would find Ali Jennings on a 29-yard touchdown pass to close the half with Virginia up 10-7. Both teams battle through the 3rd quarter unscathed. In the 4th quarter, a 30-yard Brendan Farrell field goal extended Virginia’s lead to 13-7 with 8:37 left in the quarter. With 1:01 left in the 4th, ODU put Virginia officially on upset alert. Wolff would find Zack Kunitz on an 18-yard touchdown pass putting ODU on top 14-13. Unfortunately, a couple of bad penalties and a Brendan Ferrell field goal with no time left on the clock would give Virginia a 16-14 victory. Virginia Head Coach Tony Elliott add this to say after the win….
“They found a way to win the game. The thing that I can take away from our Wednesday practice when we did our two-minute drill, we had a similar situation. We had twenty-five seconds on the clock and we had to have a field goal to win with one timeout, and we won the two-minute drill on offense this week and kicked the field goal with nine seconds
left. We work all of the possible situations to try and prepare these guys and to see them not bat an eye with a minute and one, and one time out, and go down and find a way to win the game. It tells you what’s inside of them. But the key is, up until that point, we got to play with that same mentality, that same swagger, that same confidence and learn how to finish. When you’re on the two-yard line, any running back, I’m on the two-yard line, I’m squeezing that ball and I’m finding a way to get into the endzone. We find a way to put it on the ground, and then try to say it was the quarterback’s fault. Those are the things where you say if anything, ‘my bad, I’ll fix it.’ Those are the little things that we got to continue to work through, and those are the things that I’m talking about, learning how to win and not being okay with that happening. Working hard every single day and then ball security, and then for those who come out to our practice, you know that the first thing we do when we go to individuals is a ball security circuit. We put them through all the different body positions and motions, and try to teach them the proper body mechanics & muscle memory, and what you’re supposed to do with the ball when you go to the ground. You squeeze your elbow in, pinch your chin, but seeing them transition those things into the game and then just the discipline. You look at some of the discipline issues and we’re off the field, we got two hands to the face. It’s fourth down and we’re off the field and we got our best guy locked up in man coverage and we got to pull the guy down to avoid a touchdown. Those are the things that we got to learn, how to visualize and be prepared for those moments way before you ever get to those moments.”
The Cavaliers are still looking for a signature win on the season. they have yet to win a game and impressive fashion, and somehow they’ve been able to pull off tough victories, The Cavaliers will travel to Syracuse to take on the Orangemen, Friday, September 23 at 7 pm