It was evident that the Yellow Jackets came to play this Saturday, as they faced the Coastal Division leading Virginia Cavaliers.
Despite the loss, the Jackets showed true grit throughout the whole game, keeping the score close and responding pound for pound throughout. The Jackets came into this game as huge underdogs, so the fact that they were able to hang in with the Cavaliers says a lot about how far this team has come this year, as they continue to show improvement week by week.
1) James Graham continues to prove that he is the Jackets best option at quarterback.
James Graham had an outstanding day on Saturday afternoon. By the end of the first half, Graham had already mustered up 192 passing yards with two touchdowns. Graham also had one rushing touchdown. After a lackluster performance last week against Pitt, Graham came back strong this week in big ways. He connected with wide out Ahmarean Brown on the first drive of the game with a 59 yard touchdown pass and later connected with Malachi Carter for a 25 yard touchdown pass.
Graham seemed to slow down in the second half as it was evident that the Cavaliers made some halftime adjustments in order to contain him. Despite that, Graham had possibly his best game of his young career in an environment in which Virginia plays their best. Graham ended the game with 229 passing yards and 2 touchdowns.
2) Jackets defense struggled to contain UVA quarterback Bryce Perkins
Bryce Perkins an amazing athlete and proved that Saturday as he carved up the Jackets defense. Perkins ended the game with 258 passing yards and one touchdown. Perkins also rushed for 106 yards and rushed for one touchdown.
Possibly the biggest thing that came from Perkins though was his final drive of the first half. After the Jackets took the lead 21-17 with less than a minute to go in the half, Perkins marched the Cavaliers downfield after a good kickoff return, scoring a quick touchdown to put Virginia back on top 24-21. What should have been a big momentum turn in favor of the Jackets headed into the half instead turned the other way in favor of the Cavaliers, which they continued to build on in the third quarter.
3) The Yellow Jackets continue to improve and impress each week
The beginning of the season this year was difficult to watch, seeing the Jackets lose to the likes of The Citadel and Temple. It would appear that the Jackets really had no chance to win any other games throughout the remainder of the season, but now that is far from the case. The Jackets handed Miami an overtime loss (in Miami) and stayed in the game last week against Pitt, and had numerous chances to win that game but could not capitalize. Saturdays game truly proves that the Jackets are on the right track.
Its been a long season, but the future looks promising under Coach Collins, and the Jackets look to bounce back next week against Virginia Tech in the Battle of the Techs.