CHARLOTTESVILLE—Virginia lost reserve tailback Mikell Simpson for the season when he sustained a left shoulder injury on the final play of the third quarter in Saturday's 24-17 loss to Miami.
U.Va. faced second-and-10 from Miami's 27 when Simpson took a handoff and was crushed by 322-pound defensive lineman Antonio Dixon for a 4-yard loss. He staggered off the field in obvious distress, and trainers immediately placed his left arm in a sling.
Simpson, a junior, walked to the locker room for X-rays and returned to the field before the game ended. Coach Al Groh said the injury is season-ending.
After starter Cedric Peerman sustained a foot injury last season, Simpson burst onto the scene with 119 rushing yards and 152 receiving in a victory at Maryland. He also had 170 yards, including a touchdown for 96, against Texas Tech in the Gator Bowl.
Simpson had not been as effective this season. He had 85 carries for 262 yards and three touchdowns this season, plus 15 catches for 66 yards.
HANG TIMEU.Va. entered the game ninth among ACC teams in net punting at 34.3 yards per kick. That standing will improve this week.
Five of freshman Jimmy Howell's seven punts pinned Miami inside its 20. He averaged 42.7 yards per kick, and the average net was 41.1. Among his punts was a career-best 58-yard effort. His previous long was 54 yards against Duke.
"During the week, we spend entire punt-team practices trying to do 'pooch' punts inside the 10-yard line," Howell said. "You see all that from practice coming out onto the field in games. There's always five guys around the ball trying to make sure we get it down and making sure it goes the max amount of yards."
TOUGH DAYU.Va. kicker Yannick Reyering missed two of three field-goal attempts, including a 38-yarder in the third quarter and a 47-yarder early in the fourth quarter. He connected on a 23-yard attempt in the first quarter.
Reyering has made six of 10 field-goal attempts this season. He's only 3-for-8 from beyond 29 yards.
"I actually felt good in the warm-ups (Saturday)," said Reyering, who missed the North Carolina game two weeks ago with a knee injury. "It's just that one moment when you're out on the field. There's nothing in the warmups that can prepare you for that… I have no explanation for the missed field goals right now."