Perkins, Reed pace Virginia in rout of William & Mary, 52-17

USA TODAY Sports Images

Perkins, Reed pace Virginia in rout of William & Mary, 52-17

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Bronco Mendenhall viewed Virginia's game against William & Mary as something of a measuring stick for how far the Cavaliers have come in his three-plus years as coach, and the way they took command quickly and never let up left him pleased.

"It reflects maturity and again, experience, and so I take that as a step in the right direction," Mendenhall said after Bryce Perkins threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third and Virginia took an early 21-0 lead and drubbed the Tribe 52-17 on Friday night.

Letting up, even after leading 35-3 at halftime, was never an option, linebacker Jordan Mack said.

"We just keep playing the game, keep the throttle down and whatever the score is, just come out ready to play," he said.

Joe Reed caught a 40-yard touchdown pass and returned a kickoff 100 yards for the Cavaliers (2-0), who spoiled the return of former coach Mike London, the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year who was fired after the 2015 season and replaced by Mendenhall.

"I think they scored every which way you could," London said.

William & Mary (1-1) got its only points against Virginia's first team after recovering a muffed punt at the Cavaliers' 13 yard-line in the second quarter. The Tribe began the fourth quarter trailing 45-10 and having gained just 75 yards. It finished with just 193 yards as the Cavaliers got after freshman quarterback Hollis Mathis from the start. One week after running for 127 yards, he managed just 10.

"I don't know about rattled him as opposed to they got after him and they covered all the gaps and made sure that he was going to be under duress when he threw the ball," London said.

Mathis did not complete a pass in just four attempts and was intercepted once.

The Tribe intercepted Perkins twice, ending his string of 145 passes without an interception, and got another pick when Arman Jones picked off backup Brennan Armstrong and returned it 47 yards for a score. William & Mary has forced four turnovers in both of its games.

"If there is a time to have those, now was the time," coach Bronco Mendenhall said of Perkins' miscues.

Perkins' other touchdown pass was a 15-yarder to transfer Terrell Chatman, his roommate when they started their careers at Arizona State. The Cavaliers also scored on Nick Grant's 85-yard interception return and freshman Mike Hollins' 9-yard run on his first college attempt.

Hollins later added a 1-yard scoring run.


William & Mary: Hollis Mathis set a program record with 127 rushing yards in the Tribe's opener, but was no match for the Cavaliers' swarming defense. He finished with 10 yards on 15 carries. His quickness will serve him much better against FCS-level competition, but his throwing needs much work. His lone attempt at throwing deep was very poorly thrown and never had a chance of reaching the receiver.

"We actually wanted to stop him before he ever got started," Mendenhall said of Mathis' scrambling ability.

Virginia: The Cavaliers have now won 10 of their last 15 games, and while they never drew more than 43,128 fans to 61,500-seat Scott Stadium last season, their student section was packed for this game and the announced crowd was 45,250, the largest since 48,609 saw them lose 10-0 to rival Virginia Tech with a chance to end the Hokies' long bowl streak in the 2017 season.

"It was noticeable the support we had today," Mendenhall said. "I really noticed the student section."


Hollins was hardly touched on his first scoring run and showed the ability to gain yards in traffic, too.

He finished with 78 yards on just 11 carries.


The game was the first for Virginia since they beat Duke 49-28 in 1989 that the Cavs did not have to punt.

It also was the first time since a 48-29 victory against Akron in 2002 that they scored on offense, defense and special teams.


William & Mary: The Tribe returns home to face Colgate next Saturday.

Virginia: The Cavaliers play the second of three consecutive home games, hosting Florida State.


Week 1: Statement wins for Maryland, Navy and Virginia

Week 1: Statement wins for Maryland, Navy and Virginia

College football is back in full swing and Week 1 left most of the local fans happy....except for you, Blacksburg. Maryland obliterated Howard in Mike Locksley's coaching debut, Navy got its rebound season off on the right foot and Virginia looked every bit the Coastal contender as they pulled away from Pitt. Virginia Tech's season, however, got off on the wrong foot with a conference loss to Boston College.

Here's a breakdown of the weekend's action.

Maryland 79, Howard 0

The good: Josh Jackson

It’s hard to pick just one -- when you win by 79 points, chances are you had more than one thing going for you -- but let’s go with Jackson who made his Maryland debut under center. After a shaky first drive, Jackson was hugely impressive.

Howard loaded the box trying to keep the Terps’ talented runners under wraps. Jackson took advantage with 15 completions on 24 attempts, 245 yards and four the first half. With the game well in hand, Jackson was not needed for the second half of this one.

The bad: A second-quarter pass interference

Maryland’s defense was just as brilliant as the offense on Saturday as the Terps held Howard to just 68 total yards. Quarterback Caylin Newton, the reigning MEAC player of the year, completed just three passes for 23 yards.

There really was no bad in this game, but I’m going to nitpick here and say Kenny Bennett’s second-quarter pass interference penalty. Up to that point, the Terps had not given up a first down. Bennett’s penalty moved the chains for Howard for the first time all game. It was an unforced era and ended a pretty good streak by the Maryland defense.

The ugly: Howard’s punt team

Howard’s punt team accounted for 30 of Maryland’s 79 points on Saturday. You read that right.

Punter Isaiah Moore’s first punt went only 14 yards giving Maryland the ball at Howard’s 26. Later in the first, a snap went to Moore’s left which he fumbled giving the Terps the ball on the Bison’s 13. Moore shanked his first punt in the second quarter as well sending it a grand total of...three yards. Yes, three. Maryland took over at Howard’s 22. The Terps scored a touchdown on all three resulting drives.

Moore did not get much help when he did get the ball away later in the second as D.J. Turner returned a punt 40 yards for a touchdown just when things were starting to get ugly. Maryland added a safety off a punt block in the third quarter. Moore also fumbled another punt in the third, but he was able to get it away as there was little pressure from Maryland’s return team with the score already 65-0.

Moore did manage to kick a 72-yard punt in the game though so at least there was that.

Navy 45, Holy Cross 7

The good:  An aggressive defense

No team in the country recorded fewer tackles for loss last season than Navy which got just 37. Under new defensive coordinator Brian Newberry, the Midshipmen got seven tackles for loss against Holy Cross.

The bad: A new look offense?

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo vowed Navy would get better after a disappointing 2018 season. One area of focus was the passing game. Yes, Navy is an option team and its bread and butter is the rush attack, but there is certainly room for improvement when you finish dead last in the country in passing yards per game as the Midshipmen did in 2018.

Against an overmatched FCS opponent, Navy's new-look offense managed only 103 passing yards and 44 of those yards came on a single reception late in the second quarter.

Quarterback Malcolm Perry completed six of nine passes and looked fine on the day, but the Midshipmen are going to face defenses a lot tougher than the one they played on Saturday. If 103 yards is all they could manage against Holy Cross, there's not much reason to think the pass attack will be as much of a factor as Niumatalolo may have hoped.

The ugly: Navy's rush attack against Holy Cross's defense

The Midshipmen ranked fifth in the nation last year averaging 276.5 rushing yards per game. Pretty good, right? Well, Navy managed 428 rush yards on 57 attempts. 

The pass attack may not have been all that prolific, but it does not need to be if you can rush for over 400 yards-per-game.

Virginia Tech 28, Boston College 35

The good: The pass attack

Virginia Tech's platoon rush attack was largely ineffective against the Eagles, but the offense was still able to move the football through the air. Quarterback Ryan Willis threw for 344 yards and four touchdowns which would be a great day if not for all the turnovers. More on that later.

The bad: The defense

The Hokies were uncharacteristically porous last season finishing with the 98th ranked defense in the country. You would think that unit would have been ready to redeem itself especially in Bud Foster's final season. 

Not so much.

The Eagles torched Virginia Tech's defense to the tune of 432 yards, very close to the 438.7 that unit gave up last year. It is going to be a very long season if that defense does not tighten up.

The ugly: 5 turnovers

You are not going to win very many football games when you turn the ball over five times. Four of those turnovers came from Willis who threw three interceptions and added a fumble.  In his defense, he attempted 47 passes. When you are asked to put the ball in the air that much, it's only a matter of time before the defense gets its hands on it. If there is a takeaway from this it is that the Hokies need more of a consistent rush attack than they got to take some of the pressure off Willis.

Virginia 30, Pitt 14

The good: An all-around effort

Bryce Perkins picked up where he left off with 181 passing yards, two touchdowns and another 44 yards on the ground. The defense held Pitt to 263 yards and forced two interceptions and four sacks and on special teams Virginia blocked a punt.

The bad: The first half

Virginia enters the 2019 season with high hopes. The first half of Saturday's game threatened to derail those hopes very quickly.

This game was headed in the wrong direction after two quarters. Virginia trailed 14-13 after two long scoring drives by the Panthers. Of Pitt's 263 yards of offense, 187 came in the first half before the Cavaliers finally clamped down in the second.

The ugly: The streak in Pittsburgh

The Cavaliers had never beaten Pitt on the roadin program history. Saturday's game is a first for Virginia.


College Football 2019 Week 1 What to Watch: The Mike Locksley era officially begins at Maryland

College Football 2019 Week 1 What to Watch: The Mike Locksley era officially begins at Maryland

Week 1 of the college football season is finally here! Maryland, Navy, Virginia Tech, Virginia and other local teams all open the season with the first full slate of college football.

Here is a breakdown of all the local action.

Maryland vs. Howard

When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: Maryland Stadium, College Park, Md.
How to watch: Big Ten Network

The Mike Locksley era at Maryland officially begins. One year ago the team banded together with a cloud over the program and managed to stun Texas. This year there is no such cloud and the Terps get a much more manageable opponent at home. After a decent run at Virginia Tech, quarterback Josh Jackson steps in under center to lead Maryland.

Navy vs. Holy Cross

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Md.
How to watch: CBSSN

Coming off a 10-loss season, a new-look Navy takes the field. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo has said he plans to throw the ball more this year to counter against aggressive defenses loading the box against the Midshipmen's option attack. Do not be surprised to see starting quarterback Malcolm Perry drop back more than you are used to for a Navy team.

Virginia Tech at Boston College

When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
How to watch: ACC Network

Bud Foster’s last season as defensive coordinator starts with a conference clash against Boston College. The defense had a rare down year in 2018 and will look to rebound back to its normal dominant form. The Hokies get a tough matchup against Boston College to start as the Eagles feature four 300-pound starters on the offensive line. Will Virginia Tech be able to get enough pressure to disrupt third-year starting quarterback Anthony Brown?

Virginia at Pitt

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.
How to watch: ACC Network

The Cavaliers are expected to compete for the Coastal Division this season and we will know right off the bat if the Hoos are for real. Pittsburgh has not been kind to Virginia over the years as UVa has never beaten the Panthers on the road in five meetings. Quarterback Bryce Perkins will look to pick up where he left off last season when he was one of only two FBS players since 2000 to complete at least 64-percent of his passes while throwing for over 2,000 yards, rushing for over 900 yards and scoring at least 30 touchdowns.

Game of the week: Oregon vs. Auburn

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
How to watch: ABC

Defense may be optional in this one.

Last year, Washington lost to Auburn in Week 1 and it colored the perception of the Pac-12 for the entire year. The conference was ultimately left out of the College Football Playoff as Auburn turned into nothing more than a middle of the pack SEC team. Both Oregon and the entire Pac-12 need a big game from quarterback Justin Herbert who is considered one of the top returning quarterbacks in the nation.

Auburn, meanwhile, will turn to a true freshman in what could be a make or break year for head coach Guz Malzahn. Will Saturday prove to be a coming-out party for quarterback Bo Nix?

Other local teams:

Jacksonville at Richmond, 7 p.m. Thursday
James Madison at West Virginia, 2 p.m. Saturday
Towson at The Citadel, 3 p.m. Saturday
Lafayette at William & Mary, 6 p.m. Saturday