Virginia Falls To No. 16 TCU, 30-14
Sept. 12, 2009
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -TCU's defense picked up right where it left off last season, holding Virginia to seven first downs Saturday as the No. 16 Horned Frogs breezed to a 30-14 victory in their season opener.
The Horned Frogs of the Mountain West Conference, looking to make a splash against a team from a league (the ACC) with an automatic BCS bowl spot, dominated until Virginia connected on a couple of scoring passes in the final five minutes, long after the outcome had been decided.
Last year's TCU defense led the nation in yards allowed, and this season's group looks equally stout. Virginia never snapped the ball in the red zone and managed only 177 yards total offense, 83 of them coming on Jameel Sewell's two late touchdown passes.
It was a rough day for Sewell. He went the whole way after sharing time last week with Marc Verica and Vic Hall, who was idled Saturday by a hip injury. Sewell was sacked eight times and finished 8 of 18 for 120 yards and one interception - the Cavaliers' only turnover after committing seven in their season-opening loss to William and Mary.
TCU gained 380 yards and converted on all five red-zone chances. Andy Dalton was 15 of 21 for 177 yards and one touchdown, a 31-yarder to Jimmy Young. Joseph Turner and Jeremy Kerley had scoring runs for the Horned Frogs.
The first half was filled with kicking game misadventures for the Cavaliers. First, the Cavaliers botched the snap on a 40-yard field goal attempt. Then, Chase Minnifield, filling in at punt returner for Hall, fair-caught a punt at the Virginia 3. That brought groans from fans who remembered Hall muffing a punt inside the 10 against William and Mary.
On Minnifield's next chance, he signaled for a fair catch at the 10 but let the ball go, and it was downed at the 3 again. Virginia finally was able to flip the field position, thanks to a 29-yard run by Sewell, but TCU put together a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Kerley scored from the 2 to make it 7-0 early in the second quarter.
Later, with Virginia facing fourth-and-2 at midfield, Joe Torcia was stopped for no gain on a fake punt. Six plays later, Turner scored on a 1-yard run with 2:55 left in the half.
Sewell's 56-yard TD pass to Javaris Brown late in the game allowed Virginia to avoid its first home shutout since a 55-0 loss to Clemson in 1984. He added a 26-yard touchdown pass to Tim Smith with 1:48 left.