Virginia vs. Indiana
October 10, 2009, 3:30 p.m. EDT
Scott Stadium (61,500; Natural Grass)
ESPN360.com: Frank Giardina (p-b-p) & Sonny Randle (analyst)
When Virginia has the ball: With Jameel Sewell entering his fourth game as the full-time quarterback, expect more development from a player who has improved every game. Sewell said his priority is limiting turnovers, which he did in Saturday’s win over North Carolina. Running back Mikell Simpson finally became involved last weekend, and Coach Al Groh expects a physical game that will likely include a steady dose of Simpson. Indiana’s defense is anchored by ends Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton. Virginia’s offensive line must play better than the past weeks or else the Hoosiers ends will register another big game.
When Indiana has the ball: Virginia held North Carolina to three points last week, although that might have been as much about the Tar Heels as the Cavaliers. Saturday will provide an indication of how far along Virginia’s defense is this season. Indiana wide receiver Tandon Doss is one of the top skill position players in the Big Ten. Through five games, Doss recorded 32 catches and 470 yards. Quarterback Ben Chappell has already thrown six interceptions, so look for Virginia’s secondary to try to swipe a pass. Safety Brandon Woods is expected to make his second start of the season.
Special teams: Virginia still awaits the game-changing plays Groh promised when he hired Ron Prince to lead the special teams. Indiana already had one this season when Ray Fisher returned a kick 91 yards for a score. Cavaliers kicker Robert Randolph has not missed a field goal this season. He hit three in last week’s win.
Coaches: Both Groh and Indiana Coach Bill Lynch need to reach a bowl this season to feel some semblance of job security. The Hoosiers opened the season with three wins but lost to Big Ten stalwarts Michigan and Ohio State during the last two weeks. Slipping to .500 could ruin the good will generated in the season’s first month. Groh enjoyed a day of redemption with the road win over the Tar Heels, but memories are short in Charlottesville.
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