Tuesday, September 21, 2004
3:30 kickoff doesn't mean game is on TV
- Cavs continue to look west in scheduling
- Former Virginia assistant Mike Groh joins Bears staff
- Fairchild not expecting to overhaul UVa offense
- Lazor: Eagles job too good to pass up
Aaron McFarling's blog
That's what Virginia thought when it scheduled this week's game with Syracuse for 3:30 p.m. Then Syracuse went out and lost its opener at Purdue 51-0, and suddenly the Orange wasn't much of a television attraction. "We just picked 3:30 because, for a while there, it was an issue as to whether it would be a television game," UVa coach Al Groh said Monday. "So we just said, with or without television, we're going for 3:30 p.m.
"I would say the opening game [between Purdue and Syracuse] was why they didn't pick us."
Since then, Syracuse has beaten Buffalo and favored Cincinnati, and Groh described the Orange as a team to be feared.
"This is the most physical team we've played, the most balanced team as far as proficiency on both sides of the ball," Groh said. "I just dismissed that Purdue game as one of those things that happens.
"If I eliminate that, which I pretty much have, then between the two games they've won this year and their season-ending win over Notre Dame last year, they've got three solid games for us to base our research on."
The oddsmakers didn't think it will be much of a test, installing 12th-ranked Virginia (3-0) as a 22-point favorite. In its first three games, Virginia was favored by 16 points over Temple, 22 points over North Carolina and 31 over Akron.
The Cavaliers' winning margin in those games was 30, 32 and 51, respectively.
History would suggest that being snubbed by television isn't a bad thing for Virginia, which is 55-4 in non-televised games since 1989, including 38-1 in home non-televised games, with the lone loss in overtime to Duke in 2000.
Virginia quarterback Marques Hagans has not been sacked this season and none of his nine rushing attempts has resulted in lost yardage. When asked Monday if he could remember the last time he had been sacked, Hagans responded, "Definitely at Florida State."
It turns out Hagans was not sacked at Florida State in his first career start, in 2002, and he has not been sacked in any of the four subsequent games he has started. The only time he has been sacked was in mop-up duty in 2003 at North Carolina.
Groh said, "Kudos to the organization - in other words, those people who set up the protection plan, those people who execute the protection plan and that person [Hagans] who sometimes has had to add his skills to make them both work."
Hagans has been intercepted once in 59 attempts and has directed an offense that has scored on 18 of 19 possessions inside the opposing 20-yard line (17 touchdowns and one field goal). On the one occasion when UVa was stopped, the clock ran out after Michael Johnson had run to the 1-yard line against North Carolina.
Virginia junior Wali Lundy, who has three straight three-touchdown games, is tied for the lead in Division I-A in scoring among individuals and has outscored 22 I-A teams. ... UVa quarterback Marques Hagans ranks first in the ACC and eighth in I-A in passing efficiency. ... Senior Alvin Pearman leads the ACC in punt returns and all-purpose yardage. ... Virginia has not lost a fumble in seven games dating back to the 2003 season.
"For all those people who were weeping last week because [Heath Miller's] 22-game streak was broken, think about Jerry Rice." - Groh on the Oakland Raiders wide receiver who had caught a pass in 274 consecutive games before the streak ended Sunday.
Odds and ends
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on its Web site Monday that UVa sophomore quarterback Anthony Martinez had left the team. Martinez started the second game of the 2003 season, when then-No.1 Matt Schaub was injured, but had dropped to fourth string and had not played in any of the Cavaliers' first three games. ... Groh said that back-up linebacker Bryan White is unlikely to return this season as the result of injury. White has not been redshirted and could appeal for a fifth season of eligibility. ... After Syracuse returned part of its allotment, limited tickets remained available Monday afternoon through the UVa ticket office.