* First and foremost, thoughts and prayers go out to Herb Waters. That was a tough scene to watch. You can tell he's a very well liked kid by his teammates and that was a very unfortunate situation. It was very encouraging that he was moving his hands after the injury and lets all hope he makes a full recovery very soon.
* Onto the game, what a disaster. Lets be honest, though. Was that really a big surprise to a lot of people? Sure, it had all the signs of being a potential letdown game but Al Golden's teams have always been terribly inconsistent. It's always something different in terms of why his teams continue playing very mediocre football. Whether it's penalties, offensive struggles, the inability to get off the field on third down, or even a tough road schedule because of "too many night games" the excuses just keep on flowing. That's the major issue here -- it's never just one aspect of the football team. It's always something different.
* For whatever reason, Golden has not figured out how to win on the road. That tells me they need to spend time next summer in someone else's camp figuring out a completely new way to travel. Whatever they're doing, it's not working. It could be things such as when and what they eat. It could be the timing of their meetings. It could be the amount of information they ask their players to digest. The bottom line is that UM is now 2-7 in their last nine games away from home. That's terrible.
* The commentators on ESPN said tonight that Mike London was 14 games below .500 in his tenure at Virginia going into tonight's game. Clearly, they've been one of the worst teams in the ACC over the last several years. The troubling part about that? Golden is now 1-3 against him since arriving at Miami. They coached together and know each other well. It's discouraging that London has such a huge advantage over Golden because of that. As strange as this sounds, UM might never get back to competing for championships as long as Golden's former co-workers are running other programs.
* UM came out flat tonight. The kids didn't have much positive energy. They didn't seem terribly excited about being there. That's been a troubling problem for several years that pops up every so often and it did again tonight. Virginia simply seemed better prepared and more interested in being in that stadium tonight.
* Having said all of those things, I hear and firmly believe that Al Golden's job is safe. Even a loss at home to Pittsburgh next season likely won't matter much. The likely scenario is that UM wins next week and then loses a bowl game that most of its players won't even want to play in. That would mean a 7-6 finish four years into the Golden era. Ouch. How the mighty have truly fallen!
* Miami's offensive game plan tonight didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. Sure, UVA's defense dictates a lot of that but it was Brad Kaaya back on the road and Miami's been running the football so incredibly well the last month of the season. Why, then, does UM come out throwing the ball so much? Sure, falling behind late helped skew the numbers a bit but why did UM drop back to throw it 37 times and only give the ball to its running backs 18 times? That made very little sense to me.
* Duke was Duke. What another very strong effort. He had over 130 yards of total offense and despite the fumble had a very strong night. It was discouraging that Gus Edwards did not get any offensive touches. He made a tackle on the opening kickoff so he was definitely available early. Perhaps he was re-injured but it was strange not seeing him involved at all offensively.
* UVA's defensive front gave Miami's offensive line a lot of problems tonight. Ereck Flowers did an excellent job against Eli Harold, UVA's best pass rusher, but Trevor Darling struggled on the other side against Max Valles, who finished the game with three sacks. Darling's going to be very good but his youth showed in this game tonight. Kudos to Jon Feliciano, who was playing both left guard and right tackle throughout the night.
* Miami's defense looked a lot more like it has in recent years in this game. Despite losing their best running back early in the game after just three carries, Virginia ran the ball for 198 yards as a team. This is the same team that has struggled running the football against just about everyone this season.
* One of the biggest issues is how Miami's defenders continue catching blocks instead of attacking them. It creates problems in terms of being able to get off blocks -- something the commentators often talk about -- to make plays. I firmly believe it's a product of the system they're being asked to play in. Sure, we are continuing to see Miami's corners play more press coverage but they're not getting their hands on opposing receivers. I don't understand why they're not given more freedom to do those types of things.
* Denzel Perryman was a beast again tonight. He continues playing at a really high level and will be sorely missed in the middle of this defense next season.
* Bring on Pittsburgh!