As the season unlike any other enters its final days, we look back to where the local schools stood entering the season.
Each had questions that needed to be answered, and how successful they’d be answered would go a long way towards potential success in 2020.
Maryland’s question surrounded its quarterback: Not who would start, but would that person be able to start the entire year? That’s happened just once since 2006.
So far, Taulia Tagovailoa has started all four games for the Terps and although the redshirt freshman is experiencing the expected growing pains, there’s enough on tape to give one confidence for 2021.
Navy had a quarterback question as well — and sadly the Mids never found the right answer.
Dalen Morris, Perry Olsen, Tyger Goslin, Maasai Maynor and Xavier Arline have each taken turns trying to run the option offense, with none of them generating the necessary staying power.
Virginia’s quarterback question was answered by Brennan Armstrong, who when healthy, has turned into the dual threat we’ve come to expect from U.Va. QB’s as of late.
Virginia Tech’s question wasn’t at quarterback, but how their defense would fare in the first year after longtime coordinator Bud Foster’s retirement: The Hokies have allowed more than 30 points in six games this fall and have coughed up an average of 39 points during their current four-game losing streak.
While there’s still time to change the narrative of 2020 — wins in rivalry games or a loss to Rutgers will do that — there’s no doubt these questions will emerge again next fall. At least until they’re answered.
Navy (3-6, 3-4 AAC) came up short on Senior Day for the first time since 2002 in their 19-6 loss to Tulsa.
The last time they dropped their final regular season home game was Paul Johnson’s first year at the helm and at the hands of UConn, who was an Independent on their way to the Big East and then the American Athletic Conference before becoming an Independent again.
- Midshipman Medals: The defense held the Golden Hurricane attack to 40% passing and 3.0 yards per carry, with Mitchell West’s eight tackles leading the way. Diego Fagot’s first quarter fumble recovery ended a great opportunity for Tulsa (they had the ball 1st & 10 at the Navy 35).
- Midshipmen Miscues: The offense gained just 153 yards, with 116 of those coming on their two scoring drives. The other ten possessions included a lost fumble and six three-and-outs. Six penalties, which seemed to happen at the most inopportune times.
Next: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at 7-2 Army.
Virginia (5-4, 4-4 ACC) won its fourth straight game, outscoring Boston College 43-32. They might not be in the ACC race but the way this team has come together has to be satisfying for those who were wondering what the program would do for an encore to 2019.
- Cavalier Congrats: Brennan Armstrong threw for 287 yards and a touchdown while also running for 130 yards and a score. And after a brief hiatus, Billy Kemp IV is back where he belongs in leading the team with six receptions. The Cavaliers ran for 262 yards while holding BC’s runningbacks to 36 yards on 14 carries. The D also notched four sacks and three interceptions.
- Cavalier Concerns: They allowed 520 yards passing to Eagles backup Dennis Grosel (who passed for 983 yards last season) after Phil Jurkovec was ruled out due to injury, including passing plays of 35, 36, and 50 yards. Despite putting 43 points on the board the offense had issues on third down, converting just 4-12 attempts. And 10 penalties for 95 yards doesn’t ring of the discipline you want a team to have in its penultimate game.
Next: Saturday at 8 p.m. against 4-6 Virginia Tech. Are we feeling one more time on the ACC Network?
Virginia Tech (4-6, 4-5 ACC) knew matching up with No. 3 Clemson would be one tall task. But for one brief shining moment the Hokies led 7-3 in the first quarter, and they trailed by a touchdown at the half. Unfortunately they’d be shut out in the second half as the Tigers pulled away for a 45-10 win that wrapped up a berth in the ACC Championship Game. The loss clinches the first losing regular season for the program since 1992.
- Hokie Highlights: The offense had the ball for 38 minutes while Khalil Herbert ran for 96 yards and a touchdown. The quarterback triumvirate of Braxton Burmeister, Hendon Hooker, and Knox Kadum combined to complete 15 of 19 passes for 202 yards. The defense held Clemson to 3-9 on third down. Oscar Bradburn averaged 41 yards per punt. And committing just a pair of penalties isn’t perfection, but still pretty impressive.
- Hokie Humblings: The defense didn’t face a ton of third downs because Clemson kept moving the chains on first and second; VT allowed 7.9 yards per carry. The fourth quarter saw the D allow a pair of back-breaking plays in a 50-yard TD run and a 65-yard scoring pass. Not to be outdone the offense lost three fumbles in the second half, one of which was returned for a 66-yard touchdown.
Next: Saturday at 8 p.m. against 5-4 Virginia. They haven’t lost to U.Va. at home since 1998.