William & Mary stalls in 40-3 loss to Virginia
William & Mary usually doesn't have any trouble scoring points, whether the opposition is a Football Championship Subdivision team or from the bigger Football Bowl Subdivision ranks.
In fact, the Tribe put up 26 two years ago in an upset of Virginia of the FBS. But William & Mary, ranked No. 3 in the preseason FCS poll, found the going much rougher this time against the Cavaliers and dropped its season opener 40-3 to the Atlantic Coast Conference school.
''I don't think we executed our passing game and we didn't get our running game going,'' said William & Mary coach Jimmye Laycock, whose club managed only 169 yards of offense and was held without a touchdown for the first time since 2007.
''When we don't do those two things, it's kind of tough, but they had a lot to do with it.''
Starting William & Mary quarterback Michael Paulus, a transfer from North Carolina in his second season, had all kinds of trouble finding receivers, in part because he was under heavy pressure most of the evening. Paulus was just 5 of 22 for 35 yards.
''It just wasn't working out tonight,'' said Paulus, who was relieved in the second half by Brent Caprio (3 of 7 for 24 yards) and Michael Graham (3 of 5 for 62 yards).
William & Mary's running game fared even worse, accounting for 48 yards on 20 attempts, an average of only 2.4 yards.
''It was tough to get anything started,'' said William & Mary linebacker Dante Cook, who had 11 tackles. ''We just never really got into a flow or rhythm. We couldn't take the pressure off the offense. The defense was on the field a long time.''
Kevin Parks rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns and Robert Randolph kicked four field goals to lead Virginia. The Cavaliers also got a big boost from their much-maligned defense, which produced two turnovers that led to 10 points. Virginia had no turnovers.
Virginia's Michael Rocco, making his first career start, completed his first 11 passes and finished 21-of-29 for 174 yards.
William & Mary was unable to cross midfield until 8 minutes remained in the game. A 34-yard field goal by Drake Kuhn with 4:34 left accounted for the Tribe's only points.
''I thought our guys played extremely hard,'' said Laycock. ''I was encouraged by that. I'm disappointed we didn't make it a closer game but I'm not disappointed about our effort and how hard we played.''
A 97-yard drive on Virginia's first possession of the second half took the wind out of the Tribe and gave the Cavaliers a 20-0 lead when Parks scored on a 1-yard run. The Cavaliers added another touchdown by Parks and a field goal to make it 30-0 after three quarters.
The Cavaliers led 13-0 at halftime, thanks in part to the accurate arm of Rocco, a sophomore who was 14-of-18 in the first half for 92 yards.
When Virginia's opening drive stalled at the Tribe's 15, Randolph booted the first of his four field goals, a 32-yarder. He later added a 48-yarder on the final play of the opening half, along with 26- and 42-yarders in the second half.
The Cavaliers also scored on a 19-yard touchdown run by Parks midway through the second quarter. Sharing the running duties with junior Perry Jones, the redshirt freshman accounted for 78 of his rushing yards in the first half.
Virginia outgained the Tribe 212-52 yards in the first half, allowing William and Mary only four first downs.