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Saturday, October 11, 2008
Final analysis: Virginia 35, East Carolina 20

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Virginia's turnaround this season has been simply remarkable. From their formerly fourth-string quarterback to their once-on-the-hot-seat coach, everyone within the program deserves credit.

No, it wasn't a flawless performance, but the Cavaliers are looking like a much more respectable team than they were in the first few weeks of the season, and this win proved they have made significant strides. As the second half of the season progresses, so will Virginia, and it's very possible we'll look back on the Maryland game as the turning point in their season.

Virginia looks capable of winning more games in the ACC, but like every other team in the Coastal Division, will have a tough time knocking the Hokies off their perch. Then again, that Commonwealth Cup game suddenly seems more interesting now, doesn't it?

First they've got to get through the rest of their schedule, and next up is North Carolina, followed by a road trip to Georgia Tech. A month ago both of those teams could have walked right over Virginia. Now they've got to work for the win.

ECU's defense stuffed Cedric Peerman on a fourth-quarter fourth-down, but the Cavaliers got it right back when they finally got some pressure on Patrick Pinkney again and forced him to fumble. That shows that Virginia hasn't just learned how to win this season, it has learned how to play with a lead.

They even faked a field goal and scored on a pass from backup quarterback Scott Deke to tight end John Phillips. The play was a microcosm of Virginia's season -- getting contributions from everyone, third and fourth-string quarterbacks included.