NCAA

A win’s a win: Virginia improves to 4-0 after escaping a scare by ODU

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A win’s a win: Virginia improves to 4-0 after escaping a scare by ODU

The Virginia Cavaliers were given quite a scare on Saturday but managed to battle back from a 17-0 deficit for the hard-fought 28-17 win over Old Dominion.

In the last 15 seasons, the Cavaliers have trailed by double digits going into halftime in 38 games. Before Saturday, they came back to win only one of those games. Virginia improved to 2-37 after rallying to defeat the Monarchs and are 4-0 on the season for the first time since 2004.

The good: The defensive recovery

It’s hard to win when you spot the other team 17 points. UVA needed its defense to step up after a horrific start and they did, not allowing a single point the rest of the game after the Monarchs took a 17-0 lead.

After the first three drives, Virginia forced six punts, two turnovers on downs and a pick-six and allowed only 94 total yards of offense.

That’s one hell of an adjustment by the defense and it saved the game as the offense sputtered for most of the night.

The bad: The start

As good as the defense was for most of the game, they sure were terrible at the star. Virginia dug themselves a 17-0 hole as ODU marched down the field in each of their first three possessions. The Monarchs got the ball to start and went 74 yards in 11 plays before settling for a field goal. The next drive they sent 48 yards in five plays for a touchdown and they recorded a second touchdown after than it nine plays and 89 yards.

That’s three drives, 17 points and 211 yards of offense.  Yikes.

The ugly: Bryce Perkins’ injury scare

After a fantastic 15 yard run in which Perkins turned what looked like a sure loss into a nice gain, the very next play was almost a disaster. The snap took Perkins by surprise and he scrambled back after the ball. As he tried to get on top of it, he was obliterated by Keion White. Virginia eventually was able to pounce on the loose ball and the play was negated by an offside penalty, but Perkins stayed down on the field.

After several minutes that felt like an absolute eternity to all Cavalier fans, Perkins was able to get up and trot off the field. He sat out the one required play before returning to the game, thus disaster was averted for UVA.

Perkins was the Cavaliers’ most dynamic player yet again on the night as he led the team in rushing with 35 yards, threw for an additional 175 yards and recorded two touchdowns.

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Simms, Hyland lead VCU past Jacksonville State 93-65

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Simms, Hyland lead VCU past Jacksonville State 93-65

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Mike'L Simms had 13 points to lead six VCU players in double figures as the Rams romped past Jacksonville State 93-65 on Sunday.

Nah'Shon Hyland added 12 points for the Rams (4-0). Issac Vann chipped in 11, while Vince Williams, Marcus Santos-Silva and Marcus Evans had 10 each.

De'Torrion Ware had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Gamecocks (1-2). Derek St. Hilaire added 13 points. Jacara Cross had 11 points and seven rebounds.

The Rams, who beat No. 23 LSU on Wednesday, are just outside the Associated Press Top 25 rankings. They came in forcing an average of 21 turnovers and registered exactly that number against the Gamecocks. VCU shot 58 percent, including 42 percent from the arc (11 of 26).

VCU, which has won 15 straight home games, will pursue its fifth consecutive win to start the season on Saturday when the team hosts Florida Gulf Coast. Jacksonville State faces Purdue on the road on Saturday.

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Week 12: Virginia Tech reaches bowl eligibility while Navy's Cotton Bowl hopes take a hit

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Week 12: Virginia Tech reaches bowl eligibility while Navy's Cotton Bowl hopes take a hit

Virginia Tech dominated Georgia Tech to reach bowl eligibility for the 27th straight season, Penn state rebounded from last week's loss to Minnesota and Navy got no luck against Notre Dame.

Here's a recap of the week's local college football action.

Penn State 34, Indiana 27

The Good

Penn State's pass attack was largely inconsistent, but quarterback Sean Clifford still accounted for three touchdowns for the Nittany Lions, one through the air and two on the ground. The ground game was the saving grace for Penn State which got more rushing yards (192) than passing (179).  Running back Journey Brown gained 100 yards on the dot on 21 carries with one touchdown.

The Bad

The strength of the Nittany Lions this season has been the defense but that is two shaky games in a row on that side of the ball. Penn State had not allowed a first-quarter touchdown heading into last week's game against Minnesota. In the last two games alone, the Lions have given up four.

Indiana was able to effectively move up and down the field and outgained Penn State 462 to 371.

Star receiver KJ Hammler left the game in the first quarter due to an injury he suffered on a kickoff return. He would not return. Cameras saw Hammler celebrating the win with Clifford in the endzone tunnel.

With the Ohio State game looming next week, Hammler will be key to Penn State's hopes of pulling off the upset. Head coach James Franklin told the media afterward that he was "hopeful" Hammler would be ready to play.

The Crazy

When a team lines up to punt and calls a timeout, warning bells start going off in the heads of the opposing coaches. If you're planning on faking a punt and you need to call a timeout to make sure everything is set, you should just scrap it altogether. It's not going to work.

Indiana was on their own 44-yard line with a fourth and one upcoming. They lined up to punt and took a timeout. They returned from the timeout and this happened:

It didn't help that Peyton Hendershot bobbled the direct snap, but even if he hadn't you can see Penn State was just waiting for that fake punt. Two players later, Brown ran the ball 35 yards to put Nittany Lions up 27-14.

Notre Dame 52, Navy 20

The Good

After getting obliterated in the first half, Navy rallied somewhat to make the score more respectable, scoring 17 points in the second half. Receiver Mychal Cooper caught three passes for 73 yards

The Bad

Malcolm Perry averaged 130.2 rushing yards entering Saturday's game, but was held to 117 on 25 carries by the Irish. Notre Dame forced three first-half fumbles from him.

Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book torched the Midshipmen's defense with five touchdown passes, four of which went to Chase Claypool. Navy was allowing 310.6 yards per game, but gave up 300 by halftime and 410 total.

This loss hurts Navy's chances for earning the Group of 5's bid to the Cotton Bowl this year a bit. While it does not hurt their chances of winning the AAC, this loss will likely knock the Midshipmen out of this week's College Football Playoff rankings.

The Crazy

Saturday's game was the first non-sell out at Notre Dame Stadium since Thanksgiving Day in 1973. That is a streak of 273 games snapped. That is disappointing considering it came in a rivalry game that has been played every single year since 1927.

Virginia Tech 45, Georgia Tech 0

The Good

The Hokies came into Saturday's game with a chance to earn bowl eligibility for the 27th consecutive season, the nation's longest bowl streak, and they left the outcome in no doubt.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker scored three total touchdowns as Virginia Tech improved to 5-0 in games he has started.

The Bad

Tayvion Robinson took a helmet-to-helmet hit in the second quarter from Georgia Tech safety Christian Campbell. Campbell was ejected from the game for targeting.

The Crazy

Down 31-0 at the half, Georgia Tech elected to go for the onside kick. It failed and Virginia Tech got the ball at the Yellow Jackets' 49. 

Georgia Tech dominated Virginia Tech 49-28 last season. It was a role reversal on Saturday as Bud Foster did a masterful job with the defense. The Yellow Jackets were outgained 299-48 in the first half and held to just 134 total offense for the game. This game marks the first time Georgia Tech has been shut out since Oct. 18, 1997.