Virginia Finds the Big Play in Loss to Terps
Oct. 15, 2006
Charlottesville, VA — Despite losing 28-26 to Maryland this Saturday, the Virginia football team found a part of its game that had previously been missing this year … big plays on offense.
Coming into Saturday’s game, the Virginia offense had managed only one play over 30 yards, but offensive coordinator Mike Groh opened up the playbook for quarterback Jameel Sewell, and the redshirt freshman responded with four plays over 30 yards in the first half.
“He certainly showed those things of which he’s capable,” Virginia Head Coach Al Groh said of Sewell. “He had a lot of positive plays. You’ve got to be able to run the ball well, but if you’re going to score some points, you’ve got to get them out of the passing game. Our ability to upgrade our passing game today certainly resulted in our best offensive point production. Being our trigger man, he’s certainly a part of that, and I would say that it’s a step forward in the right direction.”
Sewell’s first big play came not with his arm, but with his legs, as the Richmond native ran for a 36-yard touchdown on a designed quarterback draw during Virginia’s first possession.
“That was Michael’s [Groh] idea, Michael’s call all the way, and it certainly was a good time to spring it in there, and it worked out well,” Groh said.
“All I had to do was beat one man,” Sewell said. “The rest of them [Maryland defenders] were spread out, because we were spread out, and you have to respect that because I can throw the ball. I just took it and got what I could get, and it turned into a touchdown.”
“I just took a shot,” Sewell said. “I saw one-on-one coverage, and you just give him a shot and you never know what can happen. And the touchdown, that’s what happened, so that’s a good thing.”
On the following possession, Ogletree took a short pass over the middle, raced 55 yards and dove over the pylon with the ball extended in the endzone. The referees, however, ruled Ogletree out at the Maryland four-yard line, and Virginia was forced to settle for a field goal on the possession.
“I thought I was in,” said Ogletree. “I’m not going to question the referees, but I thought I was in.”
Maryland’s defense clamped down in the second half and held the `Hoos scoreless until 2:37 remained in the forth quarter. Sewell then laid a 45-yard bomb in Ogletree’s hands to pull Virginia within two, 28-26.
“He was open in my progressions, and I saw him,” Sewell said. “He was open on that last touchdown pass, and he was my second progression. He just beat the safety and I threw it up there and he went and got it.”
While UVa failed to convert the two-point-conversion to tie the game at 28, Sewell and Ogletree provided a silver lining to the loss. The sophomore receiver from New York, N.Y. caught three balls for 133 yards, while the freshman quarterback completed 14 of 22 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns and also ran 10 times for 102 yards and a score.
“Jameel played really well,” said senior running back Jason Snelling, who rushed 22 times for 66 yards in the contest. “Jameel understood that the game was close, and he needed to come out here and make some plays and make some big throws. He’s really coming into his own. He performed like a real veteran today. I guess on the upside you could look at Jameel and say that he’s becoming the quarterback that we all expected him to be.”