Football falls to 3-1 with 49-35 loss to Virginia
1985 remains the last time a Central Michigan football team started a season 4-0.
It was a game of momentum Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, but the Chippewas loss momentum at the wrong time and it cost them the game.
CMU overcame a 28-point deficit in the first half, but it wasn’t enough as the Chippewas suffered their first loss of the season, 49-35 to Virginia.
CMU (3-1) is now 0-14 against Atlantic Coast Conference teams all-time.
After CMU rallied and tied the game at 28 early in the fourth quarter, Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert found receiver Olamide Zaccheaus down the left sideline, who out ran freshman defensive back Sean Bunting for an 82-yard touchdown to regain the lead with nine minutes to play.
Virginia (1-3) added to its lead with a 5-yard touchdown pass to go up by 14, and closed out the game with a 53-yard passing score on the heels of an interception from senior quarterback Cooper Rush.
Despite the late interception, Rush found open receivers throughout the game. He completed 25-of-45 passes for 402 yards and two touchdown passes to junior receiver Corey Willis.
After a three-and-out on their first drive, the Cavaliers’ offense scored touchdowns on their next four drives in the first half to take a commanding 28-0 lead.
Instead of folding in the first half, the Chippewas settled in with a 1-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Jonathan Ward late in the second quarter.
On the ensuing drive, Rush found Willis for an 85-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 28-14 at halftime.
Needing a defensive stop, junior defensive back Amari Coleman intercepted a pass and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown to make it a one-score game.
The Chippewas tied the game on the second touchdown connection between Rush and Willis and appeared to be on its way to another come-from-behind victory.
However, Virginia’s long touchdown pass to Zaccheaus tipped momentum back on the side of the Cavaliers, and they rode it to the win.
CMU’s defense came into the contest ranked 12th in the country in total defense, but the Chippewas struggled in the loss giving up 569 total yards, including 421 passing and five passing touchdowns.
Not only did the Chippewas fall to 3-1, they lost a handful of players to injury. Offensive lineman Derek Edwards left the game with an ankle injury, and senior receiver Jesse Kroll exited the game with a knee injury.
CMU will have little time to regroup as it opens Mid-American Conference play next Saturday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium against in-state rival Western Michigan.