Well Saturday was just an ugly game, there is no other way to put it. Turnovers left and right by both teams, no real rhythm, just a weird game. After the first drive by UofL, you thought that things were good and we were going to roll to an easy victory. And then the rest of the 1st quarter happened, along with the 2nd and 3rd quarters.
I was at the game, and I haven’t watched it on DVR yet, which always shows some things that you miss while at the game. So I can only go off of things that I saw from the upper level and gathered by talking to other people about the game.
First off, man it’s rough being at a road game and losing. I packed 5 shirts for the trip, all Louisville. So after the game, and on Sunday while still there for a little bit, and the trip home that takes you through West Virginia, I would be in a Louisville shirt. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Honestly the Virginia fans didn’t really say too much. They were more excited for their own team than worrying about disrespecting Louisville fans. At least that is what I saw. Their excitement doubled when they learned that Virginia Tech lost to East Carolina. So overall, they had a pretty good day.
Right after the game, I just had the feeling of being sick to my stomach. We weren’t supposed to lose that one. That was going to be a fun road trip with our second ACC victory. When we lose, for some reason people think it’s the end of the world and the season is over. How about teams like USC and Georgia? Teams in the top 10 that clearly have a shot at the playoff, and they get knocked off. They might be able to rebound and fight back up the polls, but maybe not. They certainly didn’t expect to lose on Saturday. It happens. Someone loses. Think of all of the college football games on Saturdays. There are a LOT of fan bases that have to deal with the feelings of a loss on those days.
What gets me are the people that act like we are suddenly not a good team. Why does one game define a whole season, let alone GAME THREE? I have heard people say that we have issues on the offensive line and at the quarterback spot. Well, yeah, we have issues. Every team in America has issues. We are also replacing Teddy Bridgewater. Will Gardner is good, but that was his third career start. He had a bad game overall, but you have to believe he will learn from it and get better. Anyone remember Teddy’s first career start? We lost to Marshall…at home! He turned out ok, right? I know he was a freshman and Will is a redshirt sophomore, but Virginia is also better than Marshall was. Just don’t throw in the towel because of one bad game.
When Reggie Bonnafon came into the game, I think that had he brought us back and led us to victory, he very well could have taken the job from Gardner. But he didn’t. Neither quarterback really had a lot of time to do much. Gardner actually came back in and brought us back, and that was huge for him. He pretty much put together a game winning drive (assisted by Virginia roughing the passer) that would have held up had we simply fielded a punt. Speaking of that, we could have also just not put anyone back there, but hindsight…
This team is not perfect. We had to expect some growing pains. We just took a loss on the road in an ACC game, that’s going to happen. The good thing is we still have FIU and Wake Forest right in front of us. You take care of business and win those two, and then you are 4-1 heading to the Carrier Dome to face Syracuse.
The win total for the fans before the season started seemed to be around 8. Assuming people thought we would lose to Florida State, Clemson, and Notre Dame, that leaves one more loss. Who did you think that would come from? It had to come somewhere and it would likely be unexpected, like this one was. And although it was unexpected, the spread for the game ended up being 4 points right before kickoff. So it technically wasn’t even a huge upset. Yes they rushed the field, which was kind of weird, but that was more because they won an ACC game, not because they beat Louisville.
There is just so much time left in the season. Things can be corrected, that’s why they practice everyday. I just don’t like when I see the players tweeting about “fake fans”, meaning they see all of the negative stuff that people say, things that those people would never say to the players in person. And to the older guy in my section that called L.J. Scott an “idiot” when he made that fair catch, relax. That’s an 18 year old kid you just called an idiot because of a football game.
The loss hurt, it stung bad to be there and see it in person and be around so many Virginia fans. But the season is not lost because of it. There are plenty of big games left on the schedule. Remember, we have more than 1 big game per season now. If you are Virginia, go ahead and win a few more games this season to make this one not feel so bad. Thanks. And if you are FIU, I apologize for what is coming your way on Saturday. This may be the worst time to play the Cards.