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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

Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors

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USA TODAY Sports

Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors

Leaving the Georgetown Hoyas a season early is initially paying off for Marcus Derrickson. 

Less than a month before what would have been his senior season at Georgetown, the 6-7 forward has signed a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors. 

Derrickson nabbed the second two-way position on the Warriors after an outstanding Summer League translated to a solid preseason.

Fitting right into the Warriors deep-ball oriented scheme, Derrickson was 6-16 from three point range during the five-game preseason. He's a versatile stretch-four that continues to develop and improve on his outside game. 

By signing a two-way contract, the former All-Big East Second teamer will have a chance to get called up to the two-time defending NBA champions at any point this season for up to 45 days. The remaining time will be with the Warriors' G-league affiliate the Santa Cruz Warriors

This arrangement will earn Derrickson a contract of $75,000 and a prorated amount for however much time he is practicing/ playing with Golden State. 

If he is called up to the NBA for more than the allotted 45 days, then the Warriors are obligated to give him a minimum rookie contract. 

Derrickson continues to prove himself as the list of aspiring players dwindles. As each contract begins to near its end, the Warriors time after time offer another opportunity.

MORE HOYAS NEWS: 

West Virginia, Penn State drop in new AP top 25 poll

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USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia, Penn State drop in new AP top 25 poll

After four of the top eight teams lost, The Associated Press college football poll had a new look behind No. 1 Alabama, with Ohio State reaching No. 2, LSU jumping back to No. 5 and Michigan moving into the top 10 for the first time this season.

The Crimson Tide received all but one of the 61 first-place votes from the media panel Sunday, with Ohio State receiving the other. No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Notre Dame also moved up a spot. LSU jumped eight after handing Georgia its first loss of the season. The Bulldogs slipped from No. 2 to No. 8.

No. 6 Michigan has its best ranking of the season after blowing out Wisconsin and Texas is up two spots to No. 7.

No. 9 Oklahoma moved back into the top 10 while it was idle and Central Florida remained No. 10.

COMPLETE AP TOP 25 POLL

1. Alabama 7-0 (60 first-place votes, no change from last week)

2. Ohio State 7-0 (1 first-place vote, No. 3 last week)

3. Clemson 6-0 (No. 4 last week)

4. Notre Dame 7-0 (No. 5 last week)

5. LSU 6-1 (No. 13 last week)

6. Michigan 6-1 (No. 12 last week)

7. Texas 6-1 (No. 9 last week)

8. Georgia 6-1 (No. 2 last week)

9. Oklahoma 5-1 (No. 11 last week)

10. UCF 6-0 (No change from last week)

11. Florida 6-1 (No. 14 last week)

12. Oregon 5-1 (No. 17 last week)

13. West Virginia 5-1 (No. 6 last week)

14. Kentucky 5-1 (No. 18 last week)

15. Washington 5-2 (No. 7 last week)

16. NC State 5-0 (No. 20 last week)

17. Texas A&M 5-2 (No. 22 last week)

18. Penn State 4-2 (No. 8 last week)

19. Iowa 5-1 (Not ranked last week)

20. Cincinnati 6-0 (No. 25 last week)

21. South Florida 6-0 (No. 23 last week)

22. Mississippi State 4-2 (No. 24 last week)

23. Wisconsin 4-2 (No. 15 last week)

24. Michigan State 4-2 (Not ranked last week)

25. Washington State 5-1 (Not ranked last week)

Virginia and Maryland are among those that received votes, with each team getting two apiece.

POLL POINTS

Eight ranked teams overall lost Saturday, including three previously unbeaten teams. Joining Georgia among the previously undefeated on Saturday were West Virginia and Colorado.

UP

All the losses up and down the rankings meant plenty of movement. Joining LSU and Michigan as teams that gained at least four spots were:

-- No. 12 Oregon jumped five after beating Washington in overtime. The Ducks have their best ranking since September 2015.

-- No. 17 Texas A&M moved up five after edging South Carolina on the road.

-- It was a good week to be idle and watch teams plummet. No. 14 Kentucky and No. 16 North Carolina State each gained four spots in an idle week, and No. 20 Cincinnati moved up five.

DOWN

-- No. 13 West Virginia lost at Iowa State and fell seven spots after reaching a season high last week.

-- No. 15 Washington dropped eight spots after losing at Oregon.

-- No. 18 Penn State's second straight close home loss, this time to Michigan State, dropped the Nittany Lions 10 spots.

-- No. 23 Wisconsin, which started the season ranked fourth, dropped eight spots after its second loss.

OUT

-- Colorado reached No. 19, racking up wins against a weak schedule, but USC manhandled the Buffaloes in Los Angeles and now they are unranked.

-- Miami, which started the season at No. 8, is out altogether after losing at Virginia.

-- Auburn, which started the season ninth, is out and no longer receiving votes after getting beat at home by Tennessee and falling to 4-3.

IN

-- Iowa surged into the rankings for the first time this season at No. 19.

-- No. 24 Michigan State is back in after a week out.

-- No. 25 Washington State moved in just in time to host ESPN's "College GameDay" for the first time ever with Oregon coming to town. Getting to Pullman, Washington, is notable for the show because for years it has been followed around by Wazzu fans waving the `Ol Crimson school flag.

CONFERENCE CALL

A week after the Southeastern Conference placed a season-high eight teams in the poll, the SEC lost one and the Big Ten gained two. The ACC has only two ranked team for the first time since Oct. 4, 2015, when Clemson was No. 6 and Florida State was No. 12. The Tigers played for in the national championship game that season.

SEC -- 7 teams (1, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 23).

Big Ten -- 6 (2, 6, 18, 19, 22, 24).

American -- 3 (10, 20, 21).

Big 12 -- 3 (7, 9, 13).

Pac-12 -- 3 (12, 15, 25).

ACC -- 2 (3, 16).

Independent -- 1 (4).

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 16 North Carolina State at No. 3 Clemson. The ACC's only ranked and unbeaten teams meet in a game that will likely go a long way toward settling the Atlantic Division.

No. 22 Mississippi State at No. 5 LSU. This will be the fourth ranked team the Tigers have faced -- though two (Miami and Auburn) are no longer.

No. 6 Michigan at No. 24 Michigan State. Another chance for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines to flipped the narrative.

No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington State. The Ducks look to make it an Evergreen State sweep.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS