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Virginia's victory preserved by late third down conversions

Virginia had converted on just 4 of 15 third downs Saturday prior to its final offensive possession. And after building a 24-0 lead, the Cavaliers had allowed Miami to score 19 unanswered fourth-quarter points.

So when fifth-year senior quarterback Marc Verica led the Virginia offense out onto the field with 4 minutes, 39 seconds remaining in the game, his objective was clear, if not necessarily simple: Keep the drive going.

The Cavaliers converted on two third downs on their final offensive possession, including a third and eight on which Verica completed a 20-yard pass to junior wide receiver Kris Burd. Three plays later, Verica took a knee and watched the clock expire on Virginia's first ACC victory in its last 10 tries.

"That," Burd said, "was the biggest catch of my life right there."

The first third down conversion on that drive came on a six-yard completion to junior wide receiver Matt Snyder on a third and three. The route Snyder ran was the same one sophomore tight end Colter Phillips executed on his 16-yard touchdown catch earlier in the game.

It doesn’t get any harder than when the defense knows you’re going to go run-run-pass," Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor said. "You try to stay away from that formula as much as possible, but in that situation it’s hard to disguise. We’re trying to run the clock and get first downs. They were two critical plays. They were two concepts that I think our players, including Marc, know very well. And when you get in those situations, that's what you should do is give them things that you know that they know very well. I'm really proud of how they executed them."

When told of Burd's comment that his third down catch on that final possession was the biggest catch of his life, Lazor smiled wide.

"I don't know him for very long," Lazor said, "but I won't disagree with him."

By Steve Yanda  | October 30, 2010; 5:57 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Next: Big hit by DT John-Kevin Dolce changed course of Miami game


any particular reason why the entire University of Miami team (minus maybe 3 players) refused to shake hands after the game? It was an embarrassing display of poor sportsmanship.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | October 31, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

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