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Third-down inefficiency contributes to Virginia's early deficit against Florida State

Virginia did not convert on third down Saturday until midway through the third quarter. The Cavaliers were 3 for 13 on third down conversions on the day, and two of those came on a late fourth-quarter drive conducted by redshirt freshman Ross Metheny against several Florida State reserves.

“When you look at the number of plays in our drives – and there weren’t very many of them over three – that’s an issue,” Virginia Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor said. “You can’t go three and out that many times and expect to score enough points to win.”

The Cavaliers tallied 14 points Saturday. One touchdown came in the third quarter on a 76-yard passing strike from Marc Verica to Kris Burd on a play in which Florida State brought a blitz and left thin coverage in the secondary. The other touchdown came on that Metheny-led drive late in the game.

During a first half that proved disastrous for Virginia, the Cavaliers went 0 for 7 on third down conversions. They trailed, 27-0, at halftime. Fifth-year senior quarterback Marc Verica completed 2 of 6 passes for 13 yards and was sacked twice on third downs.

In its two games against 1-AA opponents this season, Virginia has converted on 53.6 percent (15 for 28) of third downs. Against the two 1-A foes Virginia has faced thus far, the Cavaliers have converted on 25 percent (7 for 28) of third downs.

Virginia is converting on 39.3 percent of third downs on the season, which ranks No. 7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

By Steve Yanda  | October 4, 2010; 2:37 PM ET
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