Virginia shows improvement, but can’t overcome perennial power TCU

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UVA quarterback Michael Rocco was 13-28 for 126 yards and two interceptions against a staunch TCU defense. UVA quarterback Michael Rocco was 13-28 for 126 yards and two interceptions against a staunch TCU defense.

Mike London was encouraged. Gary Patterson wasn’t.

But it was Patterson’s TCU team that thumped Virginia, 27-7, Saturday in Fort Worth.

“We found a way to get to 3-0,” Patterson said. “It was not pretty.”

Unbeaten and ranked No. 15 nationally, TCU ran its winning streak to 11 games, the longest active streak in the country. The Horned Frogs have won 28 of their last 29 home games and are 38-3 since beating UVA in Charlottesville in 2009.

“Even though the score is indicative of the way they played, believe it or not there are some positive things that occurred for us against a top 20 team,” London said. “We’re 2-2. We are what we are right now, with a chance to get better, a chance to go back home and do some things, play some games, get these things corrected.”

Virginia’s ground attack improved upon lackluster performances against Penn State and Georgia Tech, but the offense committed four turnovers and converted just three of 16 third down opportunities.

“They were fast, they were physical, but we moved the ball,” UVA quarterback Michael Rocco said. “Take no credit away from them, they’re a great defense, and they force turnovers, but I believe in our offense. I believe we can play with anybody.”

TCU picked off Rocco twice, but also allowed a touchdown for the first time this season – a 5-yard pass from Phillip Sims to E.J. Scott with 4:22 remaining in the game.

Sims has now thrown for three touchdowns and zero interceptions and completed more than 62 percent of his passes in limited time. (Rocco is the ACC’s only starting quarterback with more interceptions than touchdowns). After Sims’ late-game scoring drive, London was questioned about a potential change at quarterback.

“I know we didn’t score any points till the very end down there, and I know we had four turnovers, I know that for sure, and then that’s something we have to look at tomorrow and then talk about it as a staff about what we do, how do we correct it. Whether it’s personnel, whether it’s scheme, whatever it might be, we gotta do better.”

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall threw for 305 yards and three scores, and UVA allowed an opening drive 60+ yard play for the second consecutive week, but defensive coordinator Jim Reid was encouraged by his unit.

“I was really proud of the way our players played today,” Reid said. “I still think we were a little shaken from last week at the beginning of the game, and we ran back on our heels a little bit. Then I thought we went hell-bent for election, and started playing with a little bit of a swagger and a little bit of confidence.”

Up next for UVA is a home date with Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs are averaging 54.7 points per game.

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