QB Ben Chappell laments Virginia game: 'That wasn't us'
He calmly answered with one word: “No.”
Chappell finished 22-33 with 177 yards, an interception and two sacks. Senior running back Demetrius McCray – who filled in for injured freshman running back Darius Willis – gained only 47 yards on 13 carries.
The Hoosiers did not even reach the Cavaliers’ 20-yard line until less than nine minutes remained in the game.
“That was pretty rough,” Chappell said. “That wasn’t our football team. We’re going to have to do something to find it, because that wasn’t us.”
From the opening kickoff, the IU offense could not get in rhythm. Chappell was pressured by the Virginia defensive line throughout the four quarters and was not given adequate time to throw the ball.
The lack of protection forced Chappell to make ill-advised passes, most notably his interception in the second quarter. His throw intended for junior wide receiver Mitchell Evans was badly overthrown and landed perfectly in the arms of Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling.
Chappell said the ineffective air attack was not the fault of one particular player.
“It was a total lack of execution,” Chappell said. “We had guys going the wrong way, guys not getting the signals – the little stuff on offense that we cannot have to be successful.”
A challenge throwing the football was expected for IU as the Cavaliers were ranked in the top 10 nationally for passing defense.
But Virginia’s rushing defense was a different story. They were ranked No. 71 in the country after giving up average of than 145 yards per game on the ground.
Even with an experienced running back in McCray, the Hoosiers averaged only 2.8 yards per carry rushing and had 82 total yards.
The Cavaliers were also able to eliminate any big play from the IU’s runners, with all of McCray’s and sophomore running back Zach Davis-Walker’s runs being reduced to no more than 12 yards.
Virginia linebacker Steve Greer said his team’s focus entering the matchup was slowing down the Hoosiers’ running backs.
“We want to go into every game and make sure people know that we have a tough defense,” Greer said. “We wanted to be a physical team today, and I think that was a big part of stopping the run. It feels good to have our defense working together, and everyone seems to be making plays out there.”
IU coach Bill Lynch said Willis was kept out of Saturday’s game because of an ankle injury.
He added, though, that Willis’ absence in the backfield was not the reason for the loss.
“We made the decision not to play him this morning,” Lynch said on Saturday. “It did hurt us, but that was one of those kinds of games where they beat us on both sides of the ball. Any one guy would not have made that much of a difference.”