<
>

Midseason report: Virginia

VIRGINIA (2-5, 0-3)

Mike London was coming off of an ACC Coach of the Year season in which his team won eight games, was in the hunt to win the Coastal Division and went to a bowl game for the first time since 2007.

Instead of building on that, though, the Hoos have gone backward and hit the midway point of the season riding a five-game losing streak.

Growing pains were expected for a defense that returned just one starter in the secondary and had to replace seven starters overall. A troubled offense has been a surprise, especially with talented tackles Oday Aboushi and Morgan Moses anchoring the line, and an experienced quarterback in starter Michael Rocco. Once again, the quarterbacks have become the storyline in Charlottesville, as UVa has tried to find an answer in both Rocco and former Alabama transfer Phillip Sims. Both have had their moments, but neither one has taken control of the offense. Virginia ranks No. 10 in the ACC in scoring offense and No. 8 in rushing offense, despite the return of veteran tailback Perry Jones. The defense, meanwhile, has allowed opponents 33 points per game.

One of the most glaring problems has been turnovers. The Cavaliers rank last in the ACC in turnover margin, and have gained four while losing 17 this year.

Offensive MVP: TE Jake McGee. He has made a name for himself this season, and has 19 catches for 263 yards and a team-high four touchdowns. His 24-yard touchdown reception last week pulled Virginia within 27-20 with 4:10 left at Maryland. He is averaging 13.8 yards per catch.

Defensive MVP: LB Steve Greer. He’s been a consistent leader and playmaker for the Hoos, and leads the team with 62 tackles. He also has 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and two pass breakups.