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Posted at 09:50 AM ET, 09/12/2011

Evaluating Michael Rocco’s performance against Indiana

Virginia sophomore quarterback Michael Rocco completed his first 11 passes during the Cavaliers’ 40-3 win Sept. 3 against FCS William & Mary.

His start to Saturday’s game at Indiana did not go so smoothly.

Rocco was intercepted on his first pass attempt against the Hoosiers. The pass was intended for redshirt sophomore wide receiver Tim Smith down the right sideline, but it was severely under-thrown.

And while Rocco’s final stat line – 15 of 29 passing (51.7 percent) for 191 yards and two interceptions – might not indicate as much, his overall performance was fairly decent when judged on percentages of good and bad plays.

As we discussed last week – and as we continue to borrow from a quarterback evaluation method thought up by East Carolina Offensive Coordinator Lincoln Riley – a quarterback’s percentage of bad plays* should be less than 15 in any given outing (less than 12 is ideal).

Rocco’s bad play percentage at Indiana on Saturday: 14.1 percent.

* To review, every sack, interception, turnover, negative yardage play and offensive penalty that occurs while a particular quarterback is on the field is considered to be a bad play for said quarterback.

Meantime, 31 percent of the snaps in which Rocco was on the field Saturday were considered good plays* under Riley’s formula. Rocco was on the field for 71 snaps (including the three in which Virginia was whistled for either a false start or delay of game).

*Every pass play of at least 15 yards, run play of at least 12 yards, touchdown and first down while a particular quarterback is on the field is considered to be a good play for said quarterback.

Virginia’s offense stalled significantly in the third quarter against the Hoosiers. The Cavaliers tallied 37 total yards and went 1 for 3 on third down conversions. Rocco was on the field for just 10 snaps during that quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Virginia posted 135 total yards and went 3 for 5 on third down conversions. Rocco was on the field for 28 snaps during the final period. Rocco might have thrown his second interception of the night during the fourth quarter, but he also led the Cavaliers on a 15-play drive that covered 77 yards in just less than five minutes.

That series concluded with junior tailback Perry Jones rushing for a touchdown and Rocco connecting with tight end Paul Freedman on a two-point conversion that tied the score, 31-31. Virginia ended up winning, 34-31.

By  |  09:50 AM ET, 09/12/2011

Tags:  Football

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