Had a Virginia fan e-mail me today without much nice to say about the program’s freefall this season under coach Al Groh.
But he pointed out a number that on its surface left me incredulous: A whopping sum of 42 third-quarter points since the start of the 2006 season —- the year Mike Groh became the Cavaliers’ offensive coordinator.
Sure enough, you add everything up, and Virginia has been outscored 152-42 in the 15 minutes after halftime in the last 29 games.
For the sake of totality, Virginia holds edges in the first quarter (199-138) and overtime (7-6), and is down in the second (146-136) and fourth (156-150) quarters by fairly slim margins in that span.
But as folks love to point out, the third quarter is the time when halftime adjustments pay off. Except there’s pretty much been no dividends for the Cavaliers of late. And it’s not like the defense’s numbers are the ones completely out of whack here.
It’s bad enough I can actually rattle off all of Virginia’s scoring plays in the third quarter since ‘06 in a relatively tight list. Here goes:
Gould 42 FG in 38-13 loss at Pittsburgh
Gould 34 FG in 13-12 OT defeat of Wyoming
Snelling 1 run in 31-21 loss at East Carolina
Sewell 18 run in 23-0 defeat of North Carolina (aka the John Bunting Dagger Game)
Gould 48 FG in 22-20 victory at North Carolina
Long sacks Turner for safety in 18-17 victory at Maryland
Simpson 1 run in 48-0 victory at Miami
Sewell 2 run in 33-21 loss to Virginia Tech
Reyering 42 FG in 45-10 loss at Connecticut
And that’s it. Put in another devastating way, Virginia has two touchdowns in its last 21 third quarters.
That, to be polite as possible, is below average. And it’s just another reason why Cavaliers fans are understandably frustrated with what they’ve seen in recent years.
—- Patrick Stevens