Daily Press (Sunday)

Yellow Jackets end Cavs’ surge

UVA loses QB Muskett to injury in 1st quarter

- By Nathan Warters

CHARLOTTES­VILLE — A Virginia football team that seemed to be trending in the right direction in recent weeks came back down to earth in a 45-17 home loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday at Scott Stadium.

The Yellow Jackets were dominant in their first win here since 2013, ending a four-game losing streak on the Cavaliers’ home field. Georgia Tech racked up 514 total yards, 305 on the ground, in handing Virginia its worst home loss of the season.

UVA (2-7, 1-4) dropped its first five games this season, but it showed signs of a possible breakthrou­gh with back-to-back wins against William & Mary and then-No. 10 North Carolina before an overtime loss at Miami last week.

That progress skidded to a halt against Georgia Tech. Virginia head coach Tony Elliott said he put the blame on himself for not having the team adequately prepared.

“We’ll own our mistakes,” Elliott said. “We got what we earned today.”

Not only did the Cavaliers lose the game, but they also lost starting quarterbac­k Tony Muskett to a high ankle sprain in the first quarter.

Freshman Anthony Colandrea took Muskett’s place and saw his most extensive action since playing four games (three starts) earlier in the season while Muskett was out with a shoulder malady.

The prospect of redshirtin­g Colandrea has passed for the Cavaliers. Freshmen can’t play more than four games and still redshirt.

Colandrea could be needed for more than just spot duty in the coming weeks. Muskett’s availabili­ty for Thursday night’s game at Louisville is unknown, Elliott said afterward.

Colandrea led UVA to a touchdown on his first drive — a 9-yard

scoring dart to reserve tight end Josh Rawlings — but Georgia Tech (5-4, 4-2) answered with 24 straight points.

Yellow Jackets quarterbac­k Haynes King rushed for touchdowns of 34 and 2 yards in the first half. The transfer from Texas A&M finished with 208 passing yards, 83 rushing yards and three total touchdowns. His 58-yard scoring completion to wide receiver Eric Singleton Jr. early in the third quarter gave the Yellow Jackets a 31-10 lead.

“We just gave them too many big plays,” UVA defensive coordinato­r John Rudzinski said.

Georgia Tech running back Jamal Haynes rushed for a gamehigh 119 yards and a touchdown. Singleton caught five passes for 80 yards and a score.

Colandrea completed 21 of 37 passes for 200 yards, two touchdowns and an intercepti­on. He rushed for a team-high 33 yards and lost a fumble.

UVA senior wide receiver Malik Washington caught 11 passes for 109 yards. He reached the 1,000yard threshold in fewer games than any of the other five UVA receivers to reach the mark.

Washington also set a school record with his fourth straight and seventh overall 100-yard game.

Virginia’s offense showed life early with Colandrea behind

center. He ran with conviction, welcoming contact, and made some big plays passing. His second attempt was his touchdown throw to Rawlings with 8:30 remaining in the first quarter.

He faked a handoff, rolled right and zinged the pass to Rawlings, who previously had one career catch for one yard.

Colandrea struggled the rest of the first half. He was fortunate to have a first-quarter intercepti­on called back because of a facemask penalty and then he coughed up a fumble early in the second quarter while trying to reach for a first down.

“He’s trying to scrap for every inch,” Elliott said.

The Yellow Jackets ran off 24 straight points to take control. They went ahead 24-7 with 28 seconds remaining in the first half on a 33-yard scoring run by Dontae Smith.

UVA managed to get three points back at the end of the second quarter. A 13-yard pass from Colandrea to running back Kobe Pace was followed by a 15-yard facemask penalty against the Yellow Jackets, and then a 25-yard catch and run by Washington set up Bettridge’s field goal to end the half.

The Cavaliers must bounce back quickly. They travel to No. 15 Louisville for a Thursday night contest.

 ?? MIKE CAUDILL/AP ?? Georgia Tech running back Dontae Smith runs for a touchdown after breaking a tackle from Virginia safety Caleb Hardy during Saturday’s game in Charlottes­ville.
MIKE CAUDILL/AP Georgia Tech running back Dontae Smith runs for a touchdown after breaking a tackle from Virginia safety Caleb Hardy during Saturday’s game in Charlottes­ville.

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