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Cavaliers Report: UVa faces must-win against Syracuse

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Cavaliers Report: UVa faces must-win against Syracuse

Check back every Wednesday for the Cavaliers Report to get all the biggest Virginia headlines for each week, a recap of last week's game and a look ahead at next week's contest.

Virginia 1-4, (0-1) in the ACC

In the news

Mooney doubtful: Left tackle Michael Mooney was carted off the field in Saturday's game with a lower-body injury. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday and has been declared doubtful for Saturday's game. Virginia is already without Eric Tetlo, Ryan Doull and Jake Fieler on the line who are all out for the season.

Sophomore Jack English replaced Mooney against Pitt and is expected to start in his place this week.

Doing it for Mike London: Wide receiver Donovan Dowling made his season debut on Saturday. A torn ACL in his left knee and a torn meniscus in his right have kept him out this season up until Saturday's game. If he sat out the season, he likely could have applied for a medical redshirt. He still can if he suffers a setback, but Dowling is determined to play.

Dowling played in just a handful of snaps on Saturday and many are asking if it was really worth burning a possible medical redshirt if the team does not intend to feature him more prominently. For Dowling, there was no question.

“I felt if my coaches needed me, I put trust in them because without them, I wouldn’t be here," Dowling said.

RELATED: Navy's 3 turnovers costly in 41-24 loss to No. 15 Notre Dame

Last week's game: 26-19 loss at Pittsburgh

Read the recap of this game here

Virginia put up a fight against Pittsburg, which is more than you can say for their loss to Boise State, but the result remained the same as they were handed their fourth loss of the season.

The Cavaliers had some bright moments in this game. The turnover drought finally ended as Virginia forced two fumbles. Mike Moore forced the ball loose from quarterback Nathan Peterman on a sack in the second quarter which Kwontie Moore returned for a touchdown.

Offensively, Virginia gained 348 yards against one of the best defenses in the nation. Pittsburgh only gives up an average of 84.8 yards per game on the ground and 179.8 yards through the air. Virginia managed 139 and 209 respectively. But Virginia struggled to get the ball to its playmakers because of questionable play calling.

Albert Reid's first carry of the game went for 71 yards. He only got three more carries for the rest of the game. Star wide recevier Canaan Severin had only three catches. There were times when Matt Johns missed open receivers in this game, but for the most part Severin did not seem to be prominently featured in the offensive game plan.

Virginia may not be a very good team this season, but they are made to look worse by missed opportunities from the players and poor decisions by the coaches. The Cavaliers just cannot get out of their own way.

This week: Syracuse at Virginia, Sat. 3:30 p.m.

Preview

Virginia faces a must-win on Saturday as they host Syracuse. With four losses already, it seems unlikely the Cavaliers are going to be able to rebound and win five of their seven remaining games to become bowl eligible. Having said that, Virginia must win this game in order to keep the season from completely unraveling.

Syracuse is the worst remaining team in the Cavaliers' schedule. If they lose this game at home, there's a significant chance Virginia could lose out and finish the season with only one win. After local rival Maryland let Randy Edsall go already, it's not crazy to think Mike London could be coaching for his job on Saturday.

Syracuse lost their starting quarterback Terrel Hunt for the season in their very first game, but true freshman Eric Dungey has played well in relief with seven touchdowns and only one interception. Before you think this presents an advantage for Virginia, consider how well the Hoos have fared against other true freshman quarterbacks Josh Rosen and Brett Rypien. Still, the Orange are averaging only 341.6 yards per game this season, good for 108th in the nation.

A week after USF gained 541 yards against Syracuse, there will be no excuse for Virginia not to have a big game this week. This team needs to get back to the basics. Johns has got to find his open receivers and the offense has to get Severin the ball. He has been rendered largely ineffective the last few weeks more so by his own offense than by opposing defenses. He's the Cavaliers' best playmaker, they need to use him.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: How offense will change (and stay same) under Mike Locksley

Wilmer Difo homers but Phillies top Nats

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USA TODAY Sports

Wilmer Difo homers but Phillies top Nats

WASHINGTON -- Rhys Hoskins hit a two-run homer, Vince Velasquez pitched five effective innings and the Philadelphia Phillies snapped Washington's six-game win streak with a 3-1 victory over the Nationals on Saturday.

Velasquez (2-4) allowed one run and one hit in his first win since April 7. He also struck out four, walked four and hit a batter.

Edubray Ramos, Tommy Hunter, Luis Garcia and Hector Neris then combined for four innings of one-hit relief. Neris earned his sixth save.

Trea Turner led off the Washington ninth with a walk and was running when Matt Wieters popped out to short right field. Turner, who slid into second, lost track of the ball and was easily doubled off first.

Wilmer Difo homered for Washington. Third baseman Anthony Rendon went 0 for 2 with two walks after missing 19 games with what the team called a contusion to his toe.

Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark (2-3) tied his season high with nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He was charged with three runs and six hits.

Andrew Stevenson accounted for Washington's other hit, a one-out single in the sixth. Pedro Severino followed with a walk, but Ramos induced a double-play grounder from Rafael Bautista.

Cesar Hernandez opened the game with a single off Roark and Hoskins homered to center on a 3-2 pitch. It was his fifth of the season.

Maikel Franco provided an insurance run when he followed Carlos Santana's one-out triple with a single in the sixth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: RHP Ben Lively (lower back strain) threw 20 pitches in a bullpen session. Lively was placed on the disabled list April 27. ... Manager Gabe Kapler said RHP Pat Neshek (shoulder strain) will throw a bullpen session as the next step in his rehabilitation. Neshek has not appeared in a game this season.

Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman was scratched from the lineup due to stiffness in his side, according to manager Dave Martinez. ... RHP Trevor Gott, who sprained an ankle in the sixth inning Friday night, is day to day.

UP NEXT

The winners of the last three NL Cy Young Awards square off when Philadelphia's Jake Arrieta (3-1, 3.49 ERA) opposes Max Scherzer (6-1, 1.79 ERA). Arrieta won the award in 2015 with the Cubs and Scherzer, the National League Pitcher of the Month for April, has claimed the honor each of the last two seasons.

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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USA TODAY Sports

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.

MORE NCAA: TOP BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.