Virginia football notebook
THE ANSWER ... YES ... Jameel Sewell has officially arrived.
It had appeared that things were headed in this direction after the freshman quarterback threw for 243 yards and ran for 92 more in a loss to Maryland on Oct. 14.
His 166-passing-yard, 40-rushing-yard performance in Virginia's 23-0 win over North Carolina Thursday night was even more impressive to Cavalier fans - though coach Al Groh thinks there is room for more improvement out of his signal-caller.
"There were some rocky times out there. Some key issues with play-calling in the huddle the way we wanted it called. But as he has done in all circumstances, he stayed positive and kept his poise," Groh said of Sewell after the the UNC game.
The most important statline from the game came in the area of turnovers - where UVa. put up a big goose egg.
Turnovers have been the Achilles heel for the 'Hoos in '06 - most recently with two second-half miscues playing a key role in the 28-26 loss to Maryland that came after Virginia had posted a 20-0 halftime lead.
"That looked a little bit more like Cavalier football is supposed to look like. The coaches did an excellent job preparing our team in the short week," Groh said last week.
"They have a lot to feel positive about. We are starting to look like we've always felt this team could look like," Groh said.
The second most important statline from the Carolina game - Sewell led the Cavs (3-5 overall, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) on five scoring drives against the Tar Heels.
Sewell said what a quarterback is supposed to say regarding the bottom line.
"Yards are definitely easy to come by when we run the way we did today," said Sewell, noting how UVa. was able to run up a season-high 194 yards on the ground on 38 carries.
"Also, the blockers played well today. We only gave up one sack, and that was just a miscommunication. We adjusted, came back and
capitalized," Sewell said.
SECOND SHUTOUT: The Wahoos posted their second shutout of the season - both against the ACC's bottom two teams.
(Virginia also whitewashed last-place Duke by a 37-0 count earlier in the 2006 campaign.)
That fact seemed not to escape Al Groh's attention.
"I want to make sure I don't go too far with paying the defense credit for what they did to get their second ACC shutout of the year. Certainly, they are continuing to step up and meet some challenges. I thought those three takeaways were key tonight. Each one of them was a pretty significant play," Groh said.
It didn't matter to defensive end Chris Long who was on the other side of the ball.
"It means a great deal," Long said. "Anytime you win, you want to be critical of your own performance, and there are things we are going to be able to take from that. But it's good to shut somebody out, and that's what we want to do more around here. We're building a defense, and we're excited about it."
THE EARLY LINE: Virginia's game with North Carolina State (3-4 overall, 2-2 ACC) is currently listed as a pick 'em.
Kickoff at Scott Stadium is scheduled for noon Saturday.
- Chris Graham