Virginia head coach Mike London is a solid a person you would ever meet.
The Boise State Broncos dreams of a potential college football playoff berth may have come to a streaking halt two weeks ago with a loss at BYU.
True freshman quarterback Brett Rypien triggered those passes as part of a big night.
The stability appears to have helped the offense, which ranked 11th last season in the 14-team ACC in yards per game (374.2) and sixth in passing yards (236.4). Rather than take the sack, Johns flipped an errant pass to his right that was picked off by defensive tackle Justin Taimatuia, who subsequently rumbled 21 yards to cap the Pick-6 and put the Broncos up 7-0 with a mere 14 seconds having disappeared from the clock.
Eight games remain in London’s sixth, and nearly certainly, final season leading the program. Virginia had managed to make a comeback after being down 26-14 to grab the lead, but Kizer came in to replace the injured Malike Zaire on the field. They have athletic director Craig Littlepage’s ear and you wonder what that conversation is. They also gave up more big plays for scores.
And really, what would an immediate firing accomplish?
Besides, if you can just ignore Friday’s margin for a moment, I think it’s safe to say that the only teams remaining on Virginia’s schedule that might approach Boise State/Notre Dame/UCLA caliber are Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. We used to get the exit row seats so we’ve always had a little bit of extra legroom. The Cavaliers are in a “that’s not who we are” frame of mind after sneaking past FCS William & Mary last week, 35-29.
None of which excuses Friday. “I thought he went in there and showed what he is capable of doing with his first opportunity”. As Matt Johns dropped back to pass, a blitzing Kamalei Correa grabbed Johns around the waist. After a 14 play drive ended with a field goal, the Broncos scooped up a Mizzell fumble on Virginia’s 30 yard line.
“We needed to have one of these games”, linebacker Ben Weaver said after the Broncos (3-1) limited Virginia (1-3) to 273 yards. T.J. Thorpe caught a 75-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter when he tip-toed up the sideline and scored. The Broncos have played on a Thursday a Friday and a Saturday this season. Johns was sacked three times combined in the season’s first three games.
Boise State’s defense scored once again on the ensuing Cavalier possession after Johns was flagged for intentional grounding in his own end zone. That’s on the offensive coaching staff for not adjusting protections. The Virginia Cavaliers ground game is averaging 111.6 yards per contest, and Mizzell leads the way with 155 yards on 39 carries. Unfortunately, that victory was undercut by the loss of starting quarterback Ryan Finley who is out indefinitely with a severe ankle injury.
Johns finished 12 for 25 for 199 yards and two touchdowns as the latest starter in Virginia’s quarterback carousel in which six players at the position have transferred during London’s tenure.
And some of the pessimists will predict which game Virginia will play with an interim head coach.