Notre Dame did everything they could to stop junior Matt Johns. They blitzed from every possible angle, and hid where it was coming from. It didn’t matter. The junior showed the kind of poise under fire that is needed in order to orchestrate a shocker of the magnitude that was almost witnessed on Saturday as Virginia nearly upset Notre Dame in Charlottesville.
Matt Johns’ Composure Nearly Leads Team To Upset
When all was said and done Johns completed 26-of-38 passes for 289 yards and three total touchdowns, two through the air and one he ran in himself; and Virginia came within 12 seconds of upsetting the ninth ranked team in the nation.
While the Irish did a good job containing the Cavalier running game, Virginia’s offensive line did provide Johns with time to throw the ball. And when they couldn’t, the junior quarterback showed the ability to slide in the pocket and deliver the ball down the field.
“I thought Matt did a nice job and he continues to get better,” UVA head coach Mike London said after the game. “There was some leadership he exhibited. He’s got some guts, especially on that touchdown run.”
London went on about what Johns means to the Cavaliers.
“He’s an emotional leader for our team. He’ll have to continue to play well for this team to do well.”
Johns played in all 12 games last year for UVA, starting three of them when Greyson Lambert went down with an injury. He would later beat out Lambert for the starting job in the spring; and Lambert eventually transferred to the University of Georgia.
Entrenched as the team’s starting signal caller, London wasn’t the only person shooting his praise.
“Matt is the same old Matt,” starting running back Taquan Mizzell said of Johns. “He is confident. He’s a leader. He never let’s us get down even when we’re behind. He’s a great quarterback and a great leader. This was the best I’ve seen him. It’s only up from here for Matt.”
The early schedule for Virginia didn’t do them any favors with a trip to Los Angeles against UCLA in week one and this week against a team ranked in the top ten. Regardless, Johns has performed admirably throughout.
In two games – both losses – Johns has completed 64% of his passes; and has four total touchdowns to two turnovers overall (one interception and a fumble lost).
Expectations haven’t been high in Charlottesville in quite some time; and this year isn’t really any different. UVA has two more games against teams that are currently ranked, and gets them both at home. It is not completely out of the question for them to steal a game or two at some point throughout the season.