UVa has two quarterbacks, needs just one

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UVa has two quarterbacks, needs just one

By Steve Roney
CSNwashington.com

At 4-7, Virginia is in a familiar situation: playing for pride and another winter break without a bowl trip.

At the center – or rather, under center – of it all is Michael Rocco, the workmanlike junior quarterback who gives five-star effort. In giving that effort, Rocco takes snaps away from Phillip Sims, perhaps the more talented signal caller.

Excluding tonight’s game against North Carolina, Rocco has started six of UVa’s games, with Sims leading the way for the other four.

Throw out the Richmond and Penn State games, and each quarterback has piloted the Cavaliers to one win – Rocco the thriller over Miami, Sims the beat down of NC State.

Along the way, the two quarterbacks have put up similar statistics, with Rocco’s edging Sims – albeit slightly – across the board: completing 61.5% of his passes to Sims’ 57.5%, accounting for 12 touchdowns and 8 interceptions against Sims’ 10 scores (eight passing, two rushing) and 4 picks, for an efficiency rating edge of 132.5 to 124.3.

The real difference between the two is felt on the field; Rocco looks like an overachiever while Sims exudes raw potential and flashes of brilliance.

With another season drawing to a close, and a youth movement in full swing at the other skill positions, which player should take the remainder of Virginia’s snaps?

Recruiting rankings aren’t everything, or even close to it - otherwise, Al Groh would still be in town. However, Sims parlayed his Parade All-American, top-ranked high school quarterback status into a scholarship offer from Nick Saban and Alabama.

At Alabama, Sims acquitted himself well enough to push and share time with A.J. McCarron – who currently has a top-10 quarterback rating and Heisman candidacy. In limited action (eight games), Sims completed 64% of his passes, and spent the balance of his time preparing to take the reins of a National Championship team.

The Cavaliers haven’t had a quarterback with this much raw talent in a decade or more. The saying goes that if your team has two starting quarterbacks, you don’t have one. 

UVa. needs to figure out who that quarterback is. 

Perrantes, No. 19 Virginia roll past Clemson

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Perrantes, No. 19 Virginia roll past Clemson

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Virginia's London Perrantes thought about getting to Clemson a little early. After all, who doesn't love a parade?

"I thought that was cool," Perrantes said of the Clemson's football national championship parade and ceremony Saturday morning. "I wish I got to witness that. It was crazy packed coming in here."

Perrantes put on a show of his own in the game, making four 3-pointers and scoring a season-high 25 points to lead the 19th-ranked Cavaliers to a 77-73 victory against the Tigers.

It was the senior's second straight game with 20-plus points after coach Tony Bennett encouraged him to shoot more often.

"He kind of gave me that confidence to go out and play," Perrantes said.

The Cavaliers (13-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) shot 58 percent from the field in their second straight win since dropping two in a row to Pittsburgh and Florida State. Marial Shayok tied his career high with 17 points, and Isaiah Wilkins finished with eight points and 13 rebounds.

Virginia blew a nine-point lead in the second half, but Perrantes stepped up for the Cavaliers down the stretch. After Clemson tied it at 70 on Jaron Blossomgame's three-point play with 2:18 left, Perrantes made his fourth 3-pointer to put Virginia back in front.

Perrantes pushed the lead to 75-70 with another basket with 41 seconds left, prompting many of the fans to head for the exits.

"When we need him the most he shows up," Shayok said. "When he's rolling, everybody's rolling."

It was a festive day at Clemson (11-6, 1-4), with the school holding a big party to celebrate its first national championship in football in 35 years. But the basketball team dropped its fourth straight game since winning nine in a row.

Blossomgame led the Tigers with 22 points, and Avry Holmes and Gabe DeVoe each scored 15.

"This is our fourth league game that's come down to the last minute and we've only won one," said Brad Brownell, Clemson's seventh-year coach. "That's frustrating for all of us."

The Cavaliers shot 10 for 18 on 3-pointers, just the second time this season they finished with double-digit baskets from behind the arc.

Virginia Tech's rally falls short at home against No. 20 Notre Dame

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Virginia Tech's rally falls short at home against No. 20 Notre Dame

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Steve Vasturia and No. 20 Notre Dame are making a habit of playing in close games, and winning them.

The Fighting Irish did it again Saturday, rebounding after blowing all of a 19-point lead to beat Virginia Tech 76-71.

"When you win those type of games, you like those moments and you're not afraid to step up," Vasturia said.

Vasturia scored 20 points and Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson added 14 each for the Fighting Irish (16-2, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won their five conference games by a total of 23 points.

More impressively, three of the wins have come on the road.

"That's five games in a row now in league play where we kind of believe when it gets down the stretch, we've been able to get defensive stops -- we did it again tonight -- and then make big-time, fearless offensive plays," Irish coach Mike Brey said.

"I think now it's a psychological advantage because we've closed out so many games, we kind of believe."

Virginia Tech had a 15-game home winning streak snapped.

The Hokies (13-4, 2-3) trailed almost throughout, but went ahead 67-66 on a three-point play by Chris Clarke with 1:52 to play. But Farrell scored on a drive and the Hokies turned it over on consecutive possessions and the Irish converted, rebuilding their lead.

The outcome won't be one to dwell on, Clarke said.

"Just let it sting for a little bit so you learn from it and get ready for the next game or the next practice."

Clark had 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Allen added 16 points and Justin Robinson 14 for the Hokies.

Notre Dame made 14 of its first 20 shots, scoring 17 straight at one point and building a 33-14 lead.