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College Football: Can Cavs slow ’Dogs?
LOUISIANA TECH’S SOUPED-UP OFFENSE MAY GIVE VIRGINIA FITS
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
CHARLOTTESVILLE—University of Virginia true freshman cornerback Maurice Canady gained a bit of confidence after the Cavaliers’ 27–7 loss to Texas Christian last Saturday.
Virginia didn’t achieve the desired result, but Canady registered an interception against the Horned Frogs’ spread offensive attack.
Louisiana Tech (3–0) has a similar offense. The Bulldogs are set to visit Virginia (2–2) today at Scott Stadium as the Cavaliers attempt to snap a two-game losing streak.
“I really love this type of game plan,” Canady said of the spread.
If Canady researched Louisiana Tech’s statistics, he might have a different opinion.
The Bulldogs are the only team in the nation to score 50 or more points in each of their games. They’ve scored eight touchdowns in one minute or less.
They are 17 of 17 in red zone scoring opportunities, with 16 touchdowns.
“I think right now,” Bulldogs’ senior quarterback Colby Cameron said, “we can only stop ourselves.”
Virginia coach Mike London wonders why Louisiana Tech isn’t ranked in the top 25.
The Bulldogs are coming off of a 52–24 thumping of Big 10 opponent Illinois. They amassed a season-low 403 yards in that contest against an Illini defense that entered the game ranked 25th in the nation.
“I tell you, they put up a lot of points on the board,” London said. “When you look at their possessions sometimes you see three or four [plays], and you think, Man, they had to punt the ball after having three downs. But their possessions are three, four downs and it’s a touchdown.”
London said the Cavaliers are going to have to score their share of points to keep pace.
But that hasn’t been easy. Virginia’s offense has sputtered lately, averaging just 14.3 points per game since a season-opening 43–19 win over Richmond.
Bulldogs coach Sonny Dykes said his game plan is to make Virginia quarterback Michael Rocco throw the ball because “that is probably the part of their offense that is not playing as well as they would like for it to.”
“They just haven’t gotten on track yet,” Dykes said. “We just have to make sure they do not get on track against us because they are capable of being a very good offensive football team.”
The Cavaliers’ inexperienced defense hasn’t been particularly stout, either. And it doesn’t help that senior linebacker LaRoy Reynolds, a co-captain, is out indefinitely following hand surgery. He’s been replaced by sophomore D.J. Hill.
Hill and the Cavaliers will not only have to deal with Louisiana Tech’s aerial attack.
Running backs Tevin King and Kenneth Dixon have combined for 613 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. But King is lost for the year with a torn ACL.
So perhaps the Cavaliers’ best hope is to take advantage of a defense that ranks 115th in the nation (498.0 yards allowed per game).
“I’d like to be able to play really good defense against them, but the reality of it is they’ve been running this offense for a while,” London said. “If we do what we’re capable of doing, there’s enough to put points on the board.”
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