- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 10, 2009

Virginia quarterback Jameel Sewell thinks things are finally coming together for his Cavaliers after three consecutive losses to start the season, and he’s looking to Saturday’s game against Indiana as a chance to show the improvements he sees are for real.

The Cavaliers (1-3) are coming off a defense-driven 16-3 victory at North Carolina and are feeling more like a team that is unbeaten in league play than anything else.

Since losing to William & Mary and No. 10 TCU to start the season, coach Al Groh has scrapped large portions of the spread offense he installed in the offseason. His team looked far better in a 37-34 loss at Southern Miss and then in last week’s victory on the road.

“After the Southern Miss game, we kind of got fed up,” Sewell said. “We just have to play better. We have to play a certain way, and things are starting to get where they need to be.”

The Hoosiers (3-2) will make their first visit to Virginia as a team trying to get their season back on track after losing consecutive games in the Big Ten. They were 3-0 against nonconference foes and can stop their slide with a victory.

“They know we can finish our nonconference schedule undefeated,” coach Bill Lynch said. “And I think there’s a little bit of a Big Ten school playing an ACC school.”

The meeting is the only one scheduled between the conferences this season.

Sewell, who was turnover-free for the first time all season against the Tar Heels, could be more critical to the Cavaliers’ hopes than usual because Indiana will arrive at Scott Stadium with two pass rushers eager to pad their totals.

Sewell has been sacked 16 times in his past three games, and Hoosiers defensive ends Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton have 43 career sacks between them, including 6 1/2 this season.

Groh said Sewell has worked hard to be more aware of when to get rid of the ball, and the Cavaliers hope the emergence of tailback Mikell Simpson will also help. Simpson ran for 100 yards in Chapel Hill, N.C., the Cavaliers’ first evidence of a running game other than at quarterback this season. His work made everything else easier.

“We really needed him to step back up because you can see what he can do when he’s going,” Sewell said. “When his eyes are right and his wheels are moving right, it’s really tough to stop him, and to get him going is going to open up a lot of things.”

Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell has a key player he turns to as well: receiver Tandon Doss. The team’s leading receiver with 32 catches, Doss also returns kickoffs.

Groh said Chappell’s ability to grasp a complex offense makes it all work.

“They’re doing some pretty cool stuff,” Groh said. “The quarterback is obviously a player who has the capacity to handle a lot of variation in what they do. Many different personnel groups, some very unusual formations — they’ve got the whole passing package.”

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