A second straight loss brings another lower grade amongst the position groups. Certain groups have held up their end of responsibility, but obviously there is room for improvement across the board.
Unsurprisingly, Jacoby Brissett has been the lightning rod of the discussion from the last two games. Both sides have points, as Brissett has struggled but shouldn't be blamed for everything. Against Virginia Tech, Brissett easily had his worst statistical game of the year, going 12 of 25 with a touchdown and his first interception of the season. Granted the interception came after the game was decided (and was controversial), his completion percentage was not good and not enough to win a game on the road.
The backs did not have a breakout game, but were not the problem either. Matt Dayes continued to be the main back, but only had 14 carries. He made good on those with a 4.7 average for 66 yards. Gallaspy had four carries for 13 yards, which is about average for a freshman.
The receivers saw a few more targets than usual, but their production did not elevate. This was a combination of their play as well that of their quarterback. They did not have any drops, just lost a few 50-50 balls, but Brissett also missed a few chances. On the plus side, Jumichael Ramos made a fantastic touchdown catch on the first play of the second quarter.
This seems like a recurring theme, but with only the one catch by David Grinnage, this position group had minimal impact on the game. It was an important catch at the time, but it would have been nice to see more from such an important position. The blocking portion was obviously important, but there still wasn't enough statistical production.
He had another solid game, even if he did not score a touchdown for the first time this season. Playing as an actual running back for the first time all season, with seven carries for 33 yards. Samuels added 2 catches for 29 yards, providing several of the bigger plays in the game.
The line had another iffy day following the Louisville loss. They were pretty stout in the run game, but Brissett did get sacked four times. Even if one or two of those could have been blamed on him standing in the pocket for too long. Not a terrible outing, but they didn't necessarily win the battle in the trenches.
The defensive line was not the weak link on the day, but they did occasionally struggle to corral the dual threat Motley and Travon McMillian. Allowing almost 200 rushing yards falls on the shoulders of the line, despite occasionally pressuring Motley, is not good. This was not a dominant performance against a unit that usually struggles, and one sack does not cut the mustard.
Airius Moore was one of the few players who seemed to make an individual mark on the game, making a few plays in the running game. Jerod Fernandez made a few plays, but not enough to have left a specific mark on the game. Still, in the short to intermediate passing game, they did not make enough plays.
Mike Stevens did fairly well at corner again, and the DBs were called for a few questionable pass interferences, but the backs were not impressive. Allowing Isaiah Ford to score three pretty uncontested touchdowns is inexcusable, especially against an unproven quarterback. Germaine Pratt struggled after coming in for the nicked up Hakim Jones. Once again, no turnovers forced lies with the DBs.
Nyheim Hines averaged 27 yards on his two kick returns and Bra'lon Cherry had a 14 yard punt return. Kyle Bambard made both of his field goal attempts (!) and AJ Cole averaged well over 40 yards on his punts. This was probably the strongest unit on the team for the night.