No. 7 UCLA’s trip to Charlottesville, Va. was supposed to be a chance for the Bruins to show case the team’s talent and national title inspirations; instead it became the Matt Johns show.
The Cavaliers struggled anything to do anything on offense throughout the first half, as their starting QB Greyson Lambert struggled to hold on to the football; and UVA head coach Mike London made the decision to bench Lambert in favor of third-string QB Matt Johns in the second quarter:
|David Watford||6’2, 200||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||244||427||2202||8||15||57.1%||19||4.3%||4.6|
|Greyson Lambert||6’5, 220||So.||3 stars (5.7)||33||75||340||1||2||44.0%||5||6.3%||3.5|
|Matt Johns||6’5, 205||So.||3 stars (5.5)|
|Brendan Marshall||6’5, 210||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)|
|Corwin Cutler||6’4, 185||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)|
Johns came into the game with 1:10 left in the first half. Three plays later, he connected with redshirt freshmen WR Andre Levrone on a 29-yard touchdown pass that closed UCLA’s lead to 11 points (21-10, Bruins).
After half time, Johns came in and helped Virginia outscore UCLA, 10-7 in the second half. He mixed in an ability to escape the pocket as it collapsed and quick decision-making to help jump-start the Cavaliers offense. But it wasn’t to be for Virginia, as the Bruins were able to hold on to the lead that their defense built-in the second quarter — UCLA only had one offensive touchdowns all game — and won 28-20.
Johns completed 59.1% of his passes, averaged seven yards per attempt, and threw two touchdowns without any interceptions — his final line was 13-22 with 154 yards. It’ll be interesting to see how London handles the sudden QB controversy in 2014; as it could determine whether or not he has a job at the end of this season.