Thanksgiving dinner always brings that moment: Everyone is full turkey and stuffing when someone decides to start the “let’s go around the table and say what we’re thankful for” chain. For future reference, you should keep your comments short and to the point and make sure you always have three things to be thankful for just in case you’re late in the rotation. Nobody likes a copycat.
What I’m thankful for is college football rivalries.
At the highest level, it’s Alabama watching its probable playoff hopes go down the drain thanks to missed field goals and pick-sixes at Auburn (although for the record at 10-2 I’m sure the Crimson Tide can still find their way back into the picture).
It’s Michigan losing to Ohio State for a record eighth straight year. It’s Ole Miss rallying for a last-minute touchdown against Mississippi State, only to miss an extra point after receiving a personal foul penalty because the player who scored the touchdown pretended to urinate in the end zone like a dog (one cannot make this up).
And it’s Virginia putting a generation of mishaps and anguish to bed at long last on a Friday afternoon in Charlottesville. Fifteen years of woe traded for “Wahoowa!”.
Virginia (9-3, 6-2 ACC) alums may be taking Monday and Tuesday off this week as they’re probably still celebrating after 15 years of close calls and anguish with a 39-30 win over Virginia Tech (8-4, 5-3). The nine-point margin of victory was the fifth time in eight years the Commonwealth Cup was decided by single digits. And instead of going the Hokies way — as has been the case this decade — it was the Cavaliers who made the plays down the stretch this year.
Cavalier Congrats: The cape fit once again for Bryce Perkins, who passed for 311 yards and a touchdown while running for 164 yards and a score. His top target was Hasise Dubois, who made four catches for 139 yards. The defense posted six sacks, including the one that led to the game-sealing fumble recovery in the Hokies’ end zone. Noah Taylor tallied a pair of interceptions while Aaron Faumui made 2.5 sacks. Brian Delaney made game-tying and go-ahead field goals in the fourth quarter.
Cavalier Concerns: Delaney missed his first extra point attempt of the day and the special teams failed to generate any major returns. Seven penalties for 62 yards might not hurt you against the Hokies, but they will against Clemson. The defense was accommodating once again; they’ve allowed 29 points per game in November.
Hokie Highlights: Hendon Hooker also threw for 311 yards and a touchdown, and while the sophomore didn’t pass the century mark on the ground he did rush for a TD. Tre Turner caught seven passes for 134 yards and a score. Divine Deablo tallied 11 tackles to pace the defense. Oscar Bradburn averaged 45.8 yards per punt while Tayvion Robinson had a 35 yard punt return while Keshawn King recorded a 43 yard kickoff return.
Hokie Humblings: The game was theirs in the second half to lose, and the defense that had notched consecutive shutouts allowed the Cavaliers to score on their final four possessions of the day. The offense that had done a great job taking care of the ball since the 2-2 start turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter, and the offensive line was ravaged for six sacks by the U.Va. pass rush.
Next: For Virginia, it’s a trip to Charlotte for their first-ever ACC Championship Game. They’ll face defending national champion Clemson at 7:30 p.m. Virginia Tech plays the waiting game. The Hokies could potentially appear in the Camping World or Citrus Bowl.
Maryland (3-9, 1-8 Big Ten) rallied on the road but came up short in its season finale, falling at Michigan State 19-16. Head coach Mike Locksley has meetings scheduled with players and coaches over the next few days. In any program rebuild there’s usually change after the first season, even if it’s considered by the coach as “Year Zero.”
Terrapin Triumphs: Anthony McFarland rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown (a 63-yard scamper that gave Maryland a fourth-quarter lead) while also returning a kickoff 40 yards. Dontay Demus caught seven passes for 96 yards and a 44-yard touchdown. Fa’Najae Gotay led the defense with 15 tackles, and the unit intercepted Spartans senior quarterback Brian Lewerke twice. Colton Spangler averaged 47 yards per punt.
Terrapin Troubles: The offense turned the ball on each of their first two possessions and a third quarter fumble jump-started the Spartans’ game-tying drive. In between the Terps converted just 1-of-11 third downs. The defense didn’t break but it bent just enough to allow the game-tying and tiebreaking field goals in the fourth quarter.
Next: Saturday Sept. 5, 2020 at home against Towson.
Navy (9-2, 7-1 ACC) wasn’t able to win the AAC West as No. 17 Memphis clinched the division on Friday with their win over No. 18 Cincinnati, but the Midshipmen enter their annual game with archrival Army on the high of a 56-41 win over Houston.
Midshipman Medals: It takes a lot to upstage the play of Malcolm Perry. But while the senior quarterback rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown while throwing for 107 more yards, running back Jamale Carothers ran for 188 yards and five TDs. The defense intercepted four passes and recovered a fumble. Kevin Brennan led the unit with seven tackles and one of the five interceptions.
Midshipman Miscues: The defense allowed 41 points and 527 yards, allowing pass plays of 47, 52 and 67 yards. Clayton Tune burned them for 393 yards after managing 425 yards over his three previous games in November.
Next: Against Army in Philadelphia at 3 p.m. on December 14.