NCAA

Week 2: Are Maryland and Virginia for real?

Week 2: Are Maryland and Virginia for real?

Week 2 of the college football season did not disappoint. Maryland earned a dominant win, Virginia took care of an FCS foe, Virginia Tech earned some revenge and Penn State overcame a slow start.

Here's a recap of the week's action.

Virginia 52, William & Mary 17

The good: A triple threat

Just like in their game against Pitt, all three aspects of the game played a huge role for Virginia. The Cavaliers got points from the offense, defense and special teams all in the first half.

Joe Reed got the scoring started with a 40-yard touchdown catch from Bryce Perkins. Later in the first quarter, William & Mary quarterback Hollis Mathis appeared to get his wires crossed with his receiver. He threw the ball in between two routes where the only player who was even aware the ball had been thrown was cornerback Nick Grant who picked it off and took the ball 80 yards for the touchdown. 

In the second quarter, already up 28-3, Joe Reed returned a kickoff 100 yards for the first half exclamation point.

The bad: 2 interceptions for Perkins

Perkins threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions. The Tribe's first touchdown of the night came off a pick as Arman Jones was able to return it 47 yards to the end zone.

The silver lining, of course, is that neither interception was a big factor in a game that was never really in doubt, but it was certainly a sour note to an otherwise dominant performance.

The ugly: What the defense did to Hollis Mathis

William & Mary quarterback Mathis rushed for 127 yards and threw for another 66 in their Week 1 win. Virginia, however, had no problem bottling the freshman quarterback up.

Mathis rushed for just 10 yards on 15 carries on Saturday. He was even less effective through the air as he completed more passes to Virginia (one) than he did to any of his own receivers. Mathis had zero completions on four attempts.

Maryland 63, Syracuse 20

The good: Anthony McFarland

McFarland was, by far, the best player on the field on Saturday. On 14 carries, McFarland rushed for 75 yards and two touchdowns. He also added two catches for 45 yards and another touchdown.

His best play came late in the first half when he hauled in a pass from Jackson, turned on the jets and weaved his way through traffic for a 39-yard gain, setting up a six-yard touchdown pass the very next play caught by...McFarland.

The bad: The unnecessary quarterback tandem

Maryland was dominant from start to finish so it is hard to find a real negative on the day. If you want to nitpick, however, then let's go to early in the second quarter when Tyrrell Pigrome entered the game. At that point, Josh Jackson had completed seven of 10 passes for 127 yards and one touchdown to give Maryland the 21-7 lead. He was the hot hand and there was no reason to put Pigrome in.

I get that Mike Locksley wants to keep a quarterback tandem and that Pigrome is a different quarterback who brings a different dynamic. I get it. But don't mess with success. The Terps were rolling with Jackson and Locksley knew it as Pigrome ran two plays and did not get back into the game the rest of the day.

The ugly: Jake Funk's drive

Late in the fourth quarter, Maryland forced a turnover on downs at their own eight-yard line. From there, the Terps just ran it down Syracuse's throat. Running back Jake Funk carried the ball three times the first for 54 yards, then 28 yards and finally 10 yards into the end zone.

Three plays, 92 yards, all by one running back.

The Orange defense quit on that drive and it was obvious to everyone watching.

Virginia Tech 31, Old Dominion 17

The good: This catch

The bad: ODU's comeback

Maybe you were feeling good about this game when the Hokies were up 24-3. After the Monarch's handed Virginia Tech a stunning defeat last season, a dominant win for the Hokies would certainly feel satisfying. Yet, from there ODU made things uncomfortable.

The Monarch's marched down the field in a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a three-yard Stone Smartt touchdown run. They then forced a punt from the Hokies in the next drive and scored another touchdown -- this time in five plays and 78 yards -- to make it a one-possession game. Virginia Tech would respond with a touchdown of their own to extend the lead to 14, but Old Dominion's comeback hardly fills one with confidence going forward.

The ugly: Turnovers

Through the first two games of the season, Virginia Tech has turned the ball over seven times. After five against Boston College, the Hokies turned it over another two times on Saturday. Of those seven turnovers, quarterback Ryan Willis has accounted for five of them with three interceptions and two fumbles including one fumble against the Monarchs. This has to be a major area of focus for the offense going forward, especially for Willis.

Penn State 45, Buffalo 13

The good: Sean Clifford

The first-year starter is quickly establishing himself as the next big quarterback at Penn State. Clifford threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns and added another 51 yards on the ground.  Three of his four touchdown passes came in the second half when the Nittany Lions finally exerted control over the game.

The bad: The first half

After putting up 79 points last week, it was jarring to see Penn State held to only seven points in the first half on Saturday. The offense righted the ship in the second half with 38 points, but it was a rough first half that saw Buffalo take a 10-7 lead to the locker room.

The ugly: An efficient offense

It wasn't hard to figure out what the Bulls gameplan was: Keep the ball away from Penn State.

The Nittany Lions were dominated in time of possession against Buffalo 42:32 to 17:28. Yet, Penn State still managed 38 points on offense in what was a hugely efficient night in Death Valley.

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Bowl season: Penn State, UVA get New Year's Six, the Hokies bowl shuffle and Navy's tough draw

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Bowl season: Penn State, UVA get New Year's Six, the Hokies bowl shuffle and Navy's tough draw

The regular season is over, the conference championships decided and the playoff bracket is set. Yes, it's bowl season. Bowl bids were handed out on Sunday and Penn State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Navy all found out their postseason fates.

Here's where each team is headed this bowl season:

Penn State vs. Memphis, Cotton Bowl Classic on Saturday, Dec. 28

Ohio State is headed to the College Football Playoff and the Big Ten's Rose Bowl bid is going to Wisconsin. Penn State, however, managed to squeak into the New Year's Six as the No. 10 team in the nation. They will take on Group of 5 representative Memphis who won the AAC.

Virginia vs. Florida, Orange Bowl on Monday, Dec. 30

The Cavaliers are headed to the Orange Bowl for the first time in school history. More on this game here.

Virginia Tech vs. Kentucky, Belk Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 31

The Belk Bowl always seemed like the likely destination for Virginia Tech, but their opponent was a bit of a mystery. If you were following along on Twitter before things were made official, the Hokies were supposed to play Mississippi State, then it was Tennessee, then Kentucky, then Tennesse again and then back to Kentucky.

Now it's official and we know for sure it will be Virginia Tech vs. Kentucky.

The issue was reportedly Tennessee changing its bowl preference at the last minute.


Navy vs. Kansas State, Liberty Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 31

Kansas State is the only team in the nation with a win over a College Football Playoff team. They defeated Oklahoma 48-41 in October.

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo had the quote of the day about his team's matchup.

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Virginia is Orange Bowl bound for the first time ever

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Virginia is Orange Bowl bound for the first time ever

The Virginia Cavaliers are headed to the Orange Bowl where they will play the Florida Gators on Dec. 30 it was announced Sunday. The Cavaliers were smoked by Clemson to the tune of 62-17 in Saturday's ACC Championship Game thus cementing the Tigers' spot in the College Football Playoff. With the conference champs in the playoff, the ACC's Orange Bowl bid then fell to the Cavaliers as the next highest-ranked ACC team.

This will be Virginia's first-ever trip to the Orange Bowl.

The Hoos' opponent will be 10-2 Florida. The Gators finished the season ranked No. 9 in the final College Football Playoff rankings after a season in which their only two losses came go No. 1 LSU in Death Valley and No. 5 Georgia in a neutral site game in Jacksonville.

This is the third-straight bowl season for Bronco Mendenhall in his four seasons at UVA. Last season the Cavaliers won a decisive 28-0 victory over South Carolina in the Belk Bowl. A nine-win regular season was Virginia's first since 2007 and clinched the team's first-ever Coastal Division championship. The reward has thus far been a game against undefeated Clemson and another top-ten team in Florida. Virginia, however, will have much more time to prepare for the Gators than they did against the Tigers. They also will not be coming off an emotional rivalry win like they were in ACC Championship Game, playing just one week after their first win over rival Virginia Tech since 2003. It also gives time for star quarterback Bryce Perkins to heal who appeared to be ailing and grabbing his chest towards the end of the loss to Clemson.

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