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'Silly' penalties add to Virginia's anxiety

Entering Saturday’s games, Florida State was tied with Maryland as the most penalized team in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Seminoles and the Terrapins averaged eight penalties and 71.3 penalty yards per game. In terms of penalty yardage, Virginia (67.7 per game) ranked just ahead of Florida State and Maryland.

After the Cavaliers were whistled for nine infractions that took them back 86 yards Saturday against the Seminoles, Coach Mike London said he had figured penalties would factor into the game. Florida State was flagged four times for 42 yards.

Virginia now leads the ACC in penalty yardage per game (72.2), a fact London deemed "unacceptable" when speaking to reporters via teleconference Sunday night.

Early in the second quarter, Florida State had a first and 10 at the Virginia 19-yard line. Seminoles quarterback Christian Ponder threw a pass intended for Taiwan Easterling in the end zone, and junior cornerback Chase Minnifield was called for a personal foul on the play when he decked Easterling after the ball already had flown past him.

Florida State moved up to the 10 yard-line and scored on a run by Jermaine Thomas on the next play to push its lead to 24-0.

On the ensuing Virginia offensive series, fifth-year senior tailback Keith Payne converted on a fourth and one from the Florida State 31 yard-line, but junior center Anthony Mihota was whistled for unsportsman-like conduct after the play was over. The first down stood, but the Cavaliers were pushed back to the Florida State 45. They punted four plays later.

"When you do something after the fact, after the whistle, when you do something over on the sideline to hit a guy out of bounds, when you do something that it’s an overt action that’s directed towards another player, then you should be called," London said. "But sometimes, you know, the position that our guys get into or players get into, you know, regardless of seeing the football, sometimes collisions occur that, you know, everyone doesn’t have the best view of it, and sometimes calls occur. That’s part of the game, though, you know?"

Florida State faced a third and six in the fourth quarter, but Virginia was caught with 12 players on the field. The ball was moved up five yards, and the Seminoles got a first down on the third and one play with a five-yard run by Thomas.

“They were last in the ACC in penalties,” London said, referring to Florida State. “And I thought penalties were going to be an issue for the one that got the least amount. I think we got nine, and they got four. So they did a good job of not getting penalties, not extending drives. They got some penalties, but offsides and some holdings that we had, 12 men on the field, which is inexcusable, those type of silly things move you backwards. I thought that was going to be one of the issues for us.”

By Steve Yanda  | October 4, 2010; 12:06 PM ET
 
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Next: Virginia's Oct. 16 game against North Carolina to kick off at 6 p.m.

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