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. 

No. 18 Virginia struggles against Miami, loses its fourth straight game

No. 18 Virginia struggles against Miami, loses its fourth straight game

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Bruce Brown made a 3-pointer with 23.8 seconds left in overtime, and Miami beat No. 18 Virginia 54-48 on Monday night for the Cavaliers fourth straight loss.

Brown scored 14 points to lead the Hurricanes (19-8, 9-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) to their third consecutive victory. Kamari Murphy and Dejan Vasiljevic added 10 points each.

Devon Hall scored 15 points to lead Virginia (18-9, 8-7), which last lost four straight in 2009-10, Tony Bennett's first season as coach. Isaiah Wilkins added 10 points and 10 rebounds, including two free throws with four seconds left in regulation to tie it.

Miami thought it had won when Davon Reed hit a 3-pointer at the end of the second half, but a video review was used to determine he released the ball just after the buzzer.

A putback by Marial Shayok with 39 seconds left gave the Cavaliers a 48-47 lead, but Brown made his only 3-pointer of the game on the Hurricanes' ensuing possession, and Miami sealed it at the free-throw line.

Both teams shot under 40 percent, with Virginia at just 31.4 percent, and it wasn't until Hall made a pair of free throws with 3:38 left in the second half that either team broke the 40-point mark. However, the Cavaliers were then scoreless until Wilkins made 1-of-1 on a trip to the line with just five seconds left in regulation. 

CSN Mid-Atlantic contributed to this report. 

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No. 12 Ohio State upsets No. 2 Terrapins, handing them second season loss

No. 12 Ohio State upsets No. 2 Terrapins, handing them second season loss

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Kelsey Mitchell scored 31 points and No. 12 Ohio State used a sizzling start to upset second-ranked Maryland 98-87 on Monday night.

Ohio State (24-5, 14-1 Big Ten) scored 35 points in the first 10 minutes on 14 for 18 shooting, led by nine at the half and held on as Maryland rallied in second half. The Terps were down by two at the start of the fourth quarter and were down by six with 1:29 left, but had to start fouling and couldn't make up the deficit.

The loss was only the second for the Terps (26-2, 14-1) this season and their first in the Big Ten. Their last was a six-point setback to No. 1 UConn on Dec. 29.

Shayla Cooper had 20 points nine rebounds, and Alexa Hart added 15 for the Buckeyes, who won their 10th straight game.

Senior guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough led Maryland with 29 points, and senior center Brionna Jones had 21 on aggressive play in the paint with nine rebounds. But the Terps finished shooting just 41.8 percent from the field, compared with the Buckeyes 63.2 percentage. 

Freshman guard Destiny Slocum also added 15 points as the only other Terp to score in double digits. 

The lone bright spot for the Terps overall is they outrebounded Ohio State, 42-32, grabbing 20 offensive boards compared with the Buckeyes' four on their glass. 

Ohio State jumped out to a 35-22 lead at the end of the first quarter, led by Mitchell's 15, including 3 for 4 from beyond the arc. The Buckeyes shot an astounding 77.8 percent in the frame and put together a 12-0 run.

After going up by 15 early in the second quarter, Ohio State came down to earth, and the Terps trailed 49-40 at the half. Mitchell didn't score in the second quarter and had two turnovers.

CSN Mid-Atlantic contributed to this report.

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