3 Quarterbacks Can't Save Cavs

Fontel Mines can't bear to watch as Virginia suffers an embarrassing Homecoming loss to Western Michigan.
Fontel Mines can't bear to watch as Virginia suffers an embarrassing Homecoming loss to Western Michigan. (By Andrew Shurtleff -- The Daily Progress Via Associated Press)
By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 17, 2006

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Sept. 16 -- A missed extra point last week spared Virginia from an unsightly upset against Wyoming.

On Saturday, there was no escaping that fate.

Virginia (1-2) played three quarterbacks, looking for somebody to inject some life into its moribund offense. Instead, Western Michigan turned two Kevin McCabe interceptions into 14 points and the other quarterbacks could do nothing to stop a humiliating 17-10 Homecoming loss. The win was the Broncos' first against an ACC school and first over a BCS conference school since 2000.

"We were well below unacceptable in every phase of the game," Virginia Coach Al Groh said. "From me on down, it's got to get better than this."

Groh had declined to name a starting quarterback in the week leading up to the game, and the situation grew only more unsettled during the game.

Groh pulled McCabe after his second interception, which Desman Stephen returned 34 yards for a touchdown. That put Western Michigan up 14-7 with 7 minutes 42 seconds left in the first half.

"It was the coach's decision," said McCabe, who finished 13 for 16 for 111 yards and led the Cavaliers to their only touchdown. "I'm not the coach."

McCabe's replacement, deposed starter Christian Olsen, lasted just two drives, leading the Cavs to a field goal to cut the deficit to 14-10 at halftime.

Groh pressed redshirt freshman Jameel Sewell into service in the second half. But Sewell's inexperience showed as he made mistakes that cost the Cavaliers points. The most egregious came in the fourth quarter. With the Cavaliers facing third and three at the Western Michigan 14, Sewell took a sack. Place kicker Chris Gould followed by missing a 41-yard field goal attempt wide right with 6:40 left.

It was the Cavaliers' last chance to score.

"A lot of it was inexperience," said Sewell, who has gotten limited reps in practice.

Virginia's quarterbacks combined to throw for just 189 yards. Though they completed 24 of 32 passes, many completions came on short routes and screen plays that proved to be of little consequence for an offense that failed to generate points against a Western Michigan defense that wasn't shy to send the blitz.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2006 The Washington Post Company