Notebook: Watford struggles against stout BYU defense - Sports - The Daily Progress

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Notebook: Watford struggles against stout BYU defense

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Andrew Shurtleff

Virginia quarterback David Watford (5) gets pressure from Brigham Young linebacker Kyle Van Noy (3) during the first half of the game in Charlottesville, Va. Virginia defeated Brigham Young 19-16. Photo/The Daily Progress/Andrew Shurtleff

Updated

In the post-game press conference, Virginia quarterback David Watford sported a camouflage Cavalier lid.

He used it to tip in BYU’s direction.

Watford, making his first career start, completed 18 of 32 passes for 114 yards with a touchdown and an interception in UVa’s 19-16 win before 53,310 soaked spectators at Scott Stadium.

Facing a Cougar defense that was among the best in the nation in 2012, Watford confirmed they don’t seem to be missing much in 2013.

The redshirt sophomore struggled to find passing lanes against a crowded secondary. In throwing situations, BYU would routinely rush three and drop eight into coverage.

“They had a great scheme on their drop-eight,” Watford said. “They had a great plan in place. It’s tough, but there’s still a lot more we could have done. There’s a lot more I could have done, personally.

“But we’ll take it. A win is a win.”

Watford, who hadn’t played since 2011, admitted he dealt with nerves prior to Saturday’s kickoff.

His smoothest delivery was a scrambling scoring toss to Darius Jennings with 12:28 to go in the third quarter. Jennings kept a toe in-bounds in the back corner of the end zone to give the Wahoos a 10-7 lead.

“Keeping the play alive, I saw there was nobody rushing on that side, so I just rolled out,” Watford said. “I saw Darius late in the back of the end zone and I just had to give my boy a play.”

Watford’s shakiest effort was a second-quarter interception in which he forced a throw in the middle of the field while being put to the ground by a BYU defender.  

“It was just a bad play by me,” Watford said.

Waiting out the delay

Virginia wasn’t a total stranger to Saturday’s lightning delay impacting playing plans.

During a preseason scrimmage, weather forced the ‘Hoos to move from Scott Stadium to their indoor practice facility.

Saturday, however, caused for a two-hour, nine-minute break in the action.

“We were able to stay loose,” said UVa left guard Luke Bowanko. “Nobody was too anxious. The coaches were good with coming back, getting us some game plan stuff in.

“That’s a tribute to the guys’ maturity. We’ve been through a lot as a group in the four years, five years that I’ve been here.

“We were just able to overcome it.”

The delay came at the end of the first quarter when the game was scoreless.

Smoke’s debut

It took all of one boot for Taquan “Smoke” Mizzell to record his first official statistic as a college football player.

Mizzell, the ballyhooed freshman running back, returned Saturday’s opening kick back 25 yards.

Offensively, he carried seven times for 19 yards. He fumbled a handoff from Watford in the first quarter only to recover and suffer a three-yard loss.

Hoffman out

BYU star receiver Cody Hoffman didn’t play Saturday, nursing a hamstring injury.

Hoffman caught 100 passes for 1,248 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound All-American senior has 203 receptions, 2,718 yards and 28 scores in his career.

Without his main weapon, BYU quarterback Taysom Hill completed just 13 of 40 passes.

1 image

Andrew Shurtleff

Virginia quarterback David Watford (5) gets pressure from Brigham Young linebacker Kyle Van Noy (3) during the first half of the game in Charlottesville, Va. Virginia defeated Brigham Young 19-16. Photo/The Daily Progress/Andrew Shurtleff