Virginia 48, EMU 21 recap
First up, the question everyone’s been asking: who is Javonti Greene and where did he come from?
Greene, a true freshman from Royal Palm High School (West Palm, Florida) has been on the EMU team since at least September. I can’t find any information about him on Rivals or Scout.com. He’s not listed in EMU’s media guide, which states that it was current as of July 26, but he is listed on the roster released ahead of the first game, dated August 30, 2010. So, at some point between July 26 and August 30, he joined the team, which would definitely make him a late addition. Even today, EMU has no photo and almost no information about him on their website.
He got his first playing time in the Ohio State game, in which he carried 13 times for an unimpressive 23 yards, an average of 1.6 yards per carry. After limited action against Ohio (2 carries for 7 yards), he got another 12 carries against Vanderbilt, gaining a respectable, though not terribly noteworthy, 45 yards (3.8 yards per carry). Against Ball State he took just 3 carries for 20 yards, and of course, yesterday against Virginia he took 8 carries for 155 yards (19.4 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.
So, EMU’s running game was one of the bright spots in yesterday’s game — the Eagles went to halftime averaging nearly 11 yards per carry, though the Virginia defense tightened up in the second half — let’s look at the other highs and lows.
- As mentioned, EMU’s running game was solid. Sherrer and Mitchell weren’t able to do much with their few carries (3 and 4, respectively), but Welch gained 19 yards on 3 carries (6.3 yards per carry), Priest gained 38 yards on 8 carries (4.8 yards per carry), Gillett gained 86 yards on 13 carries (6.6 yards per carry), and of course Greene I’ve already mentioned. Of those players only Priest is a senior (Sherrer and Welch are juniors, Gillett is a sophomore, and Mitchell and Greene are freshmen), so the Eagles will be set for running backs next year, particularly with the addition of Mike Marrow.
- Keeping it close. Despite the final score, EMU was in this game up until the start of the fourth quarter. Jimmy Howell’s 56-yard touchdown pass to Trey Womack on a fake punt put the Cavaliers up 38-21 early in the fourth quarter and effectively put the game out of reach. Up to that point the Eagles had done a pretty good job of not letting the game get out of hand. After spotting Viriginia two touchdowns, EMU came right back and tied the game at 14-14 before a field goal with 27 seconds left in the second quarter sent the Cavaliers into the break with a narrow 17-14 lead. Coming out of the half, Virginia score first, but again, the Eagles came right back with a touchdown less than two minutes later to bring the score to 24-21. Terence Fells-Danzer returned EMU’s kickoff for a touchdown, but the 10-point margin still seemed within reach for the Eagles up until the aforementioned fake punt.
- The attendance. The crowd, announced as 37,386 (and from reports, well below that),marked the lowest attendance at Scott Stadium in 13 years. Fortunately for EMU, this attendance issue is someone else’s problem!
- Kickoff returns. This was the second game in a row that the Eagles allowed an opponent to return for a touchdown.
- Slow starts. It’s hard enough to win football games without letting the other team get a double-digit lead. Last week EMU was down 21-0 early. Yesterday the Eagles were down 14-0 before they decided to start playing ball.
- Third/fourth down conversions. Virginia converted 7 of 14 third downs (that’s 50%, for any readers who might be math-impaired) and went 2 for 2 on fourth down conversions, including the touchdown on the fake punt. EMU converted just 3 of 11 third downs (27%) and never tried on fourth down.
- Passing. Gillett went 7 of 12, which is just over 58%, but the average yards per attempt was a pitiful 5.3, and he threw an interception but no touchdowns. The pass plays were 22 , 13 , 11 , 9, 5, 2, and 2 yards. Put a decent passing game together with that ground game, and EMU could have won this game, or at least held it close until the end.