'Hoos Hot - Cavalier Top 5 (Week 10)

The Cavaliers were finally able to break their November curse against Maryland, achieving a chance for post-season play in the process.  Virginia's offense poured it on Maryland, hitting the Terps with a balanced attack to the tune of 527 yards and 31 points. The Cavalier defense was just as good, with Rodney McLeod picking off 3 passes while he and his teammates held the Terps to only 84 yards on the ground.  Since taking the reigns at the quarterback position, Mike Rocco has led the Cavaliers to two ACC road victories - and finds himself in the 'Hoos Hot list for the first time all year.  Were there any other shake ups in this week's edition?

1. Perry Jones (Last Week - #1)

[caption id="attachment_675" align="alignright" width="243" caption="Perry Jones took his first carry of the day 47 yards to the house against Maryland. Photo / Virginia Media Relations / Jim Daves"][/caption]

Superman continues to amaze, putting up 139 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Maryland.  Jones needs only 218 more rushing yards to top the 1,000 yard plateau - which would make him the first Cavalier running back to do so since Alvin Pearman in 2004.  Jones has also been vital to UVA's passing game this year, with 324 yards and 2 additional scores coming through the air.  Despite his size, Jones has also gone 3-for-3 on fourth down attempts this year, showing the heart that has made him a favorite in the locker room and in the stands.  The most pleasing thing about Perry's performance this year?  It's got to be the fact that we get to see him do it all again next year, as Jones is only a junior.

2. Kevin Parks (Last Week - #2)

KP showed another element to his game against Maryland, making a beautiful finger-tip grab and taking it 35 yards to the house for his first receiving touchdown of the year. Parks also churned out 67 yards on the ground, putting him over 500 yards on the year. Of course, KP has been stuck on that Virginia freshman record-tying 7th rushing touchdown since the Georgia Tech win nearly a month ago.  There's no chance he breaks it against Duke this weekend.

3. Oday Aboushi (Last Week - #4)

[caption id="attachment_676" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Oday Aboushi's has led the way for Virginia's dominant offensive line. Photo / Virginia Media Relations / Jim Daves"][/caption]

While it was Austin Pazstor who took home last weekend's hardware, Aboushi continued to lead a resurgent Virginia offensive line that paved they way for 527 total offensive yards (220 on the ground).  More importantly, Aboushi and his blocking mates didn't give up any sacks on the day - giving QB Mike Rocco plenty of time to make good decisions and throws in the pocket.  For those of you keeping score at home, that's two games in a row that the mules up front have not given up a sack.

4. Matt Conrath (Last Week - #3)

Matt Conrath's presence up front continues to pace the Cavalier defensive line, who held Maryland's running game in check (84 yards) while keeping significant pressure on the quarterbacks.  Conrath is now third in tackles for Virginia, leading all lineman with 49 stops.  He also leads the way in tackles for loss with Cam Johnson, each with 8.  Matt should have a big day against the Dookies this weekend.

5. Mike Rocco (Last Week - 'Hoos Knocking)

[caption id="attachment_677" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Mike Rocco is emerging as a star behind center for the Cavaliers. Photo / Virginia Media Relations / Jim Daves"][/caption]

Mike, how nice it is to see you here!  Many week's ago I commend that, should Mike Rocco find his way into the 'Hoos Hot list, than the Cavaliers would be finding themselves in post-season play.  While that wasn't exactly going out on a limb, it sure feels good to finally have a prediction come through (notice I haven't been to clean when predicting the wins and losses this season).  Since taking the reigns two weeks ago, Mike Rocco has thrown for 533 yards with a 4:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.  Compare that with the 4:8 ratio when he was splitting time with freshman David Watford, and it's easy to see why Virginia's offense has clicked in the last two outings.  Rocco's continued ascent up these rankings will mirror Virginia's success on the field.

'Hoos Knocking

This week's list of 'Hoos Knocking consists of many of the same players seen in previous weeks.  There is one new addition, however, as we welcome Hot Rod McLeod this week following a 3 interception performance that garnered the senior safety National Defensive Back of the Week honors.

Chase Minnifield (Last Week - #5)

It's not Chase's fault quarterbacks aren't throwing his way.  Though his production has been down, Minnifield's presence alone has benefited Virginia's secondary this year - allowing Virginia's safeties the ability to sneak over and help freshman Demetrious Nicholson, who has had his ups and downs (as expected).  With FSU and VT looming, Minnifield will need to be at his best as he concludes his last year in the orange and blue.

Steve Greer (Last Week - 'Hoos Knocking)

[caption id="attachment_680" align="alignright" width="285" caption="Steve Greer's goal line stop was the play of the game for the Cavaliers. Photo / Virginia Media Relations / Jim Daves"][/caption]

Steve Greer had the play of the day when he came up and smacked Terp running back David Meggett, keeping him out of the end zone on a second-and-goal from inside the 1 yard line.  Virginia's defense would go on to force a field goal, keeping the game within one score for the Cavaliers.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Greer added 5 more tackles to his season leading 77 total.  With Greer's play in the middle, what was once considered a weakness for the Virginia defense has been an absolute strength through the second half of the season.

LaRoy Reynolds (Last Week - 'Hoos Knocking)

Reynolds continues his late season surge, as the game appears to finally be 'slowing' down for the third year 'backer.  Reynolds was key in limiting Maryland's running game to only 84 yards, doing a great job of holding the edge against the Terrapins.  He is second on the team in tackles, quietly racking up 59 stops on the year.  Reynolds will need to once again step up against a Duke team that can move the ball on offense.

Tim Smith / Kris Burd (Last Week - 'Hoos Knocking)

Tim Smith and Kris Burd became the first 100 yard receiving duo for the Cavaliers since Terrence Wilkins and Kevin Coffey achieved the same feat in 1998.  Burd has been a consistent target all year, needing only 8 more receiving yards to break the 600 yard barrier and only 3 more receptions to become Virginia's number two all-time leader. Smith, on the other hand, has come on like wildfire the last month - racking up 267 receiving yards and 3 scores over the past 4 games.  It will be interesting to see how these two perform down the stretch.

Rodney McLeod (Last Week - Unranked)

[caption id="attachment_679" align="alignright" width="234" caption="Rodney McLeod picked off Maryland 3 times and garnered National Defensive Back of the Week honors for his efforts. Photo / Virginia Media Relations / Jim Daves"][/caption]

Last, but certainly not least, Rodney McLeod finally breaks into the 'Hoos Knocking list with an incredible performance against the Terps - one in which he picked off 3 passes. Not since his position coach, Anthony Poindexter, did the same in 1996 had another Cavalier accomplished such an impressive feat.   Of course, whether or not he should have just batted down a couple of them is up for debate...but who can blame the senior safety for wanting to have a huge day in front of his friends and family (McLeod is a DeMatha product).  Virginia will need another strong outing from McLeod and his running mate, Corey Mosley, against Duke's passing attack on Saturday.

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