Ras-I Dowling, Rodney McLeod miss Virginia's win over Richmond with injuries
Two-time all-ACC second-team cornerback Ras-I Dowling and junior strong safety Rodney McLeod dressed but did not play Saturday in Virginia’s season-opening 34-13 win over division I-AA Richmond.
Dowling, who missed significant time during training camp, was out with what Coach Mike London called a hamstring pull, while McLeod wore a thick black brace on his left knee.
“Ras-I tried to come out and run a little bit,” London said. “He felt a little sore, and we didn’t want to push the issue. I’d rather take this time and get him healed up, get him ready to go. And Rodney is still kind of a day-by-day deal. We’ll see how he responds to treatment here in the next couple of days as we get ready for our next game.”
Sophomore Devin Wallace started in place of Dowling, and senior Trey Womack started for McLeod, whom defensive coordinator Jim Reid this week called “the leader” of the secondary.
The Cavaliers’ defense showed improvement in their new 4-3 defensive alignment and proved particularly stingy on third downs. But their susceptibility to big plays enabled Richmond to remain in contention into the second half.
On Richmond’s first offensive play, quarterback Aaron Corp completed a 30-yard pass to a wide-open target. Midway through the first quarter, Spiders tailback Kendall Gaskins plunged into a crowd of orange jerseys only to pop out the other side moments later and sprint 70 yards for a touchdown. At halftime, Virginia held a 14-10 lead.
Still, the Cavaliers held the Richmond offense to 189 yards passing and allowed the Spiders to convert on 5 of 15 third downs. Afterward, London lauded the efforts of those asked to take on larger responsibilities with Dowling and McLeod out of commission.
“I have a lot of confidence in all our players,” London said. “Devin had an opportunity to step up and show that he is a very capable corner here in the ACC, and I think he did that.”
September 4, 2010; 10:51 PM ET
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