Richmond vs. Virginia: Live Score, Highlights and Analysis

Ben GibsonSenior Analyst ISeptember 1, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31:  Michael Rocco #16 of the Virginia Cavaliers against the Auburn Tigers during the 2011 Chick Fil-A Bowl at Georgia Dome on December 31, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Final Virginia 43, Richmond 19

In many ways, Virginia did exactly what it had to do against the Richmond Spiders.

The Cavaliers had superior talent and pressure to not let the easiest game on their schedule slip away from them.

Quarterback Michael Rocco needed to prove that he was the same player he was in November when he helped lead the Cavaliers towards a bowl game with victories over Miami and Florida State.

He responded with a career-high 311 yards and although he looked shaky at moments, he did what he had to do to get Virginia a comfortable victory.

Cavalier returner and third-string running back Khalek Shepard stole the show with 52 yards on the ground and some strong returns off kickoffs. However it was sophomore Kevin Parks who led the way with two touchdowns on the ground.

Coming into this season we knew that the offense would have to carry Virginia and the team seemed to click on all cylinders in that regard. Even when highly touted back-up Phillip Sims came in and went 5-of-6 for 50 yards.

The defense showed some holes in the linebacking corps, particularly in pass coverage but diminutive cornerback Demetrious Nicholson showed some real physical toughness out there.

His inspired play leaves Virginia with a good feeling going forward. Yet this is not the time to get too confident.

Penn State is on the horizon, a team full of pride and with something to prove. Despite an opening loss to Ohio, the Nittany Lions are not going to just throw in the towel.

They will look to Virginia as a make or break game, the Cavaliers must respond in kind.