No. 16 Cavs Blank No. 25 Auburn, 19-0
September 3, 1998
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – Beating No. 25 Auburn was a lot easier than Aaron Brooksthought it would be.
Brooks threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Coffey in the second quarterand set up two field goals with passes in leading 16th-ranked Virginia to a19-0 victory over No. 25 Auburn Thursday night.
“I thought they would bring all 11 guys on the line to confuse me, but theydidn’t,” Brooks said. “I expected them to do something out of the ordinary.We expected the blitzes they brought, but expected a little more.”
Virginia dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage. Brooks took care ofthe offense and and the defense made it a miserable debut for Auburnquarterback Ben Leard.
Auburn Coach Terry Bowden had promised the Tigers would depend more on therunning game this year, especially with the inexperienced Leard at quarterback.So Virginia was ready.
“We are a pretty good run-stopping team,” Virginia coach George Welshsaid. “Through the years, it’s been pretty tough to run our defense. Theydidn’t run on us last year, but they threw for a ton of yards. This year theydidn’t.”
Virginia held Auburn to only 18 yards rushing and 179 yards total offense.
“The plan didn’t work,” Bowden said. “The plan was to establish therunning game and not rely on the quarterback. It failed. We need to find arunning game.”
Virginia cornerback Anthony Poindexter said the Tigers had a miserable timerunning the ball because the Cavaliers were ready for it.
“We knew coming in they were going to be committed to running the ball, sowe knew we had to shut down the run,” Poindexter said. “We knew we had tomake them pass and I think we were effective doing that.”
Brooks, 16-for-28 for 220 yards, gave the Cavaliers the only points theyneeded when he checked off his primary receiver and found Coffey between twodefensive backs in the right flat. Coffey scored untouched and Virginia led 6-0with 5:27 left in the half.
Brooks’ 22-yard completion to Casey Crawford set up Todd Braveman’s 24-yardfield goal in the third quarter and his 10-yard pass to Terrence Wilkins gotBraveman within range for a 32-yarder with 12:57 to play.
That made it 12-0 and Virginia was home free against an Auburn team thatcouldn’t manage anything offensively. With an ineffective run, Leard was unableto move the Tigers through the air, hitting only 11-of-25 for 146 yards withone interception. Leard also lost two fumbles after being chased out of thepocket.
It was a rematch of last year’s season opener and Brooks made sure hisCavaliers would avenge last year’s 28-17 loss at Charlottesville. Thefifth-year senior capitalized on the big play, hitting on 10 passes of 10 ormore yards and spreading the ball among eight receivers.
“This helps us with out confidence, beating a great team like Auburn,”Brooks said. “It should make a difference throughout the season.”