Thursday, April 18, 2024

No. 9/10 William & Mary Tribe Football Leads Early but Falls at Virginia, 27-13

(Courtesy William & Mary Athletics)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 9/10 William & Mary football team concluded its non-conference slate with a 27-13 setback at Virginia on Saturday afternoon.

W&M (4-2, 2-1 CAA) led by 10 in the first half, but Virginia (1-5, 0-2 ACC) scored 24 unanswered points to secure the victory.

The Tribe built its biggest advantage, 13-3, early in the second quarter following a 1-yard touchdown run by Martin Lucas on a fourth-and-goal. Linebacker John Pius set up the score when he forced a fumble by UVA quarterback Tony Muskett and returned it 57 yards to give W&M starting field possession at the Cavaliers’ 4-yard line.

Placekicker Caden Bonoffski provided W&M’s other points on a pair of field goals (38, 48) in the first quarter.

Trailing by just a touchdown late in the third quarter, 20-13, W&M had an opportunity to draw even when it drove to UVA’s 8-yard line, but it turned the ball over on downs when it was unable to convert a fourth-and-two. The Cavaliers scored a touchdown on its ensuing possession.

Tribe Standouts
In addition to generating the turnover that set up W&M’s touchdown, Pius totaled a team-high eight tackles with 2.5 sacks and 3.0 TFL.

Linebacker Alex Washington posted seven stops and a sack, while defensive end Nate Lynn totaled seven tackles and a half sack.

Safety Malcolm Spencer recorded an interception in the end zone that halted a UVA scoring opportunity.

Quarterback Darius Wilson rushed for a team-high 74 yards on 13 carries and completed 14-of-18 passes for 72 yards.

Inside the Numbers
UVA outgained W&M, 453-219, and posted 27 first downs.

The Tribe’s defense posted four sacks, forced two turnovers and limited the Cavaliers to just 6-of-15 on third down.

The Opposition
Muskett completed 17-of-26 passes for 232 yards with two touchdowns, while he also recorded a 7-yard touchdown run.

Malik Washington posted a team-high seven catches for 112 yards with a touchdown, while Malachi Fields recorded four receptions for 63 yards and a score.

Perris Jones (134 yards, 12 carries) and Kobe Pace (83 yards, 20 carries) combined to total 217 yards on the ground.

Notes
Pius moved into sixth on W&M’s career sacks list (20.5) … Bonoffski’s 48-yard field goal equaled a career long … W&M has not allowed any points in the third quarter this season           … Muskett’s 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter marked the first time W&M has allowed a rushing touchdown since the season-opening win at Campbell.

Up Next
After an open date next weekend, W&M will return to action when it hosts Towson for Homecoming on Oct. 21 at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale and available at TribeAthletics.com.

Head Coach Mike London Postgame Quotes

Opening Statement:

“First of all, hat goes off to Coach Elliot. They played a tough, gritty game and came out with the W. I know they were looking to kind of change their mindset a little bit, but I’ll say right here, right now I’m very proud of my football team, our football team. When you’re going toe-to-toe with an FBS, ACC opponent, and you’re leading at some points and at the very end halftime they score and have that opportunity tied up. Then you come out third quarter, fourth quarter, they go with one score, and you’re still going back and forth. I just thought our players played really, really well. I am very proud of them. Obviously, some things occurred that you don’t want to happen. I think we weren’t as efficient on third down offensively nor defensively. That’s been one of our calling cards is to be pretty good on third downs and in total defense as well. So, without dissecting the stats, like I said, I think that when you’re battling and competing against an ACC, FBS team and your players are fighting, my hat goes off to them. So, like I said, I’m proud of this team. We have a bye-week coming up and then we have an opportunity to get ready to go down the stretch with our CAA schedule. The next game is a home game so I’m very optimistic about where we’re going from here.”

On Passing Offense:
“Obviously, you look at the third down situation, it is probably not as good as what it needs to be and what we want it to be. That’s got to improve; give Darius (Wilson) opportunities to get out of the pocket and play action passes. There were some things that we tried to do. They did a great job on setting the edges and not letting them get on the edge. In their coverage, they’re fast, so we’ll have to take advantage of the other teams we’re playing and make sure we put our playmakers out there too. We can be successful.”

On Defense:
“Defensively the goal is to obviously not to put that many points up on the board. There were points in there that I thought we got after the passer. The sacks, the harassment of the passer, created the turnovers that give you an opportunity to win. It was about possessions for this game. You want to have the possessions and not give the ball back over to them. John Pius showed that he can play against any level and anybody. I’m glad he’s on our team because he’s truly one of the best in the country along with Nate Lynn. I believe that.”

On Coming Back to Scott Stadium:
“Well, the human element of it is you make relationships with people and you move on, but you never forget. It was great just reconnecting with guys like Jake McGee, Mike Rocco, Quin Blanding because you had experiences with them. They come up and they hug and say, “Thanks, coach.” I mean, that’s why I’m a coach and that’s why you do it. It’s one of those things that I’m on the opposite side of the field, but we’re always going to be on the same page because we have had the same kind of values.”

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