Cavaliers Battle Tigers Saturday
Sept. 6, 1999
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Cavaliers continue their season-opening road trip byventuring to the Palmetto State to face the Clemson Tigers. Virginia haswon the last two meetings in Death Valley dating back to 1995. TheCavaliers defeated the Tigers 20-18 last season in Charlottesville on ToddBraverman’s 30-yard field goal with 49 seconds left. Virginia has won fourof the last five meetings vs. Clemson.
Braverman booted a career-best 50-yard field goal with 27.4 secondsremaining to give UVa a dramatic 20-17 win over North Carolina in theseason opener last weekend. Dan Ellis made his first start at quarterbackand guided the Cavaliers to the victory. Doak Walker candidate Thomas Jonesrushed for 149 yards and one touchdown on 35 carries. Virginia is now 1-0overall this season and sits atop the ACC standings with a 1-0 league mark.Clemson fell at home to Marshall 13-10 in the season opener for both teams.
This game is Clemson’s first ACC game.
Virginia at Clemson
Sept. 11, 1999 * 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
Memorial Stadium/Frank Howard Field
Television: The game is being televised regionally by ABC. Terry Gannoncalls the play by play, while Nick Lowery is the color analyst.
Radio: All UVa games are heard on the Virginia Sports Network originatingat WINA/WQMZ in Charlottesville. Mac McDonald calls the play by play. FrankQuayle, the 1968 ACC Football Player of the Year, provides the colorcommentary, while former UVa signal caller Mike Groh provides sidelineanalysis and conducts the postgame interviews.
UVa Opens Season on Road
This is the sixth time in school history the Cavaliers open with twostraight road games (1957, ’70, ’77, ’87, ’94).
Last week UVa opened the season with a 20-17 win over North Carolina inChapel Hill.
The last two times the Cavaliers played their first two games on the road,they earned bowl invitations (1987, ’94). In addition, Virginia opened the1989 season with two games away from home and went to a bowl game.
First Time in 30 Years
Virginia’s schedule this season marks the 13th time in ACC history that ateam has opened a season with two ACC road games. It was a rather commonoccurrence in the league from 1953-69 (12 times), but this is the firsttime since 1969 (North Carolina) that this has happened.
The Cavaliers downed North Carolina 20-17 last week in Chapel Hill, N.C.,and a win over Clemson would give them two road wins in the conference,equalling their total of last season. It would also mark the first timesince 1995 that Virginia has won its first two ACC road games.
The Series vs. the Tigers
After one of the longest droughts in college football history, theCavaliers have turned things around a bit against Clemson. The Tigers wonthe first 29 meetings in the series before Virginia snapped the losingstreak with a 20-7 win in Charlottesville in 1990. Virginia’s luck has beenmuch better in the 1990s as the Cavaliers are 5-3-1 this decade againstClemson, but Clemson still holds a commanding 32-5-1 record in the series.
Virginia has won the last two games in Clemson-22-3 in 1995, 21-7 in 1997.The Cavaliers held Clemson to less than 10 points both of those games,accounting for Clemson’s lowest output in the regular season in those years.
UVa is vying for its first-ever three-game winning streak over Clemson andits first-ever three-game winning streak at Death Valley. Three-gamewinning streaks on the home fields of the Cavaliers’ ACC opponents arerare-Virginia has had just six all time.
The Tigers have scored fewer than 10 points in three of the last fivemeetings against Virginia and Virginia has won the last four games whengiving up fewer than 10 points. Clemson’s 18 points in last year’s game arethe most points the Tigers have ever scored in a loss to Virginia.In what might be a good omen for Virginia, the Cavaliers have won the lastfour games played in September in the series.
Cavaliers Slow Clemson Passing Game
Clemson has historically been a team that bases its offensive attack on astrong ground game. So perhaps it’s not surprising that the Tigers have hadbetter success running against Virginia than passing.
Virginia had never defeated Clemson until a 20-7 win in 1990 and has beensuccessful against the Tigers during this decade due in part to holdingClemson’s passing game in check. Clemson has thrown only two touchdownpasses against UVa in the 1990s (vs. 13 interceptions) and is averaging136.7 yards per game passing this decade.
Here’s a look at Clemson’s passing statistics against UVa during this decade.
Year Att. Comp. Pct. Yds. Int. TD1990* 31 12 .387 123 0 01991 23 15 .652 196 1 01992 17 5 .294 88 0 01993 9 4 .444 109 3 11994* 24 7 .292 107 3 01995* 36 19 .528 213 2 01996 16 8 .500 43 1 01997* 33 26 .788 206 2 01998* 24 12 .500 145 1 11990s 213 108 .507 1230 13 2
UVa Must Stop the Clemson Running Game
One of the Cavaliers’ keys to success against Clemson in the 1990s has beentheir ability to contain the Tiger rushing attack. Clemson has typicallybeen a power running team and has put up some impressive numbers againstVirginia over the years, but Virginia has done a good job of containing theTigers on the ground in winning four of the last five meetings.
The only times in the last 21 meetings (dating back to 1978) that Clemsonhas rushed for fewer than 200 yards are also the only times (five) Virginiahas defeated the Tigers.
Clemson rushed for 181 yards in 1990 and lost to UVa 20-7. Virginia limitedClemson to 60 yards rushing and won 9-6 in 1994.
Virginia held the Tigers to just 180 yards on the ground in winning 22-3 in1995. Clemson gained 100 yards in the 1997 game and 101 last season.Clemson has averaged 278.6 yards rushing per game and 5.0 yards per carryin the last 21 contests (which include 15 Tiger wins).
In Virginia’s last four victories (1994-95-97-98) Clemson has averaged110.3 yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry, while scoring one rushingtouchdown. Conversely, in their last three wins (1992-93-96), the Tigershave averaged 342.0 yards per game, 6.1 yards per carry and have scorednine rushing touchdowns.
Workhorse Jones Eases Pressure on Ellis
Dan Ellis’ first start at quarterback was made easier by the presence oftailback Thomas Jones, who could take some of the pressure off Ellis.Jones, the ACC’s leading rusher a year ago, picked up where he left offlast season by rushing for 149 yards on 35 carries against North Carolinain last Saturday’s season opening win. The 35 carries matches Jones’ careerhigh.
Jones ground out yardage, especially in the second half, as Virginiamaintained ball control. In the second half, he carried 22 times for 84yards.
He scored on a one-yard plunge late in the third quarter as UVa regained a10-9 lead heading into the fourth quarter.Jones carried four times for 21 yards on UVa’s final drive to help set upTodd Braverman’s game-winning field goal.Not surprisingly, Jones is the ACC’s leading rusher after one full week ofplay and is second in all-purpose yardage.
Anderson Paces Defensive Effort
Senior defensive tackle Maurice Anderson turned in one of the bestperformances of his career in the season opener against North Carolina.He led Virginia in tackles for the first time in his career with acareer-high 10 stops vs. the Tar Heels.P
lugging the middle of the line, he was able to get into the backfield toharass quarterback Ronald Curry. The elusive Curry managed to get free onscrambles, but completed only 10 of 28 pass attempts for 147 yards.Anderson also sacked Curry on the game’s final play to squelch any attemptby the Tar Heels to win at the buzzer.
Defense Bottles North Carolina Offense
Virginia’s defense looked as if it could be a liability following the lossof five key performers in the offseason due to a variety of reasons. Andthe replacements were, for the most part, inexperienced.But the group banded together and turned in an outstanding effort in theseason opening win over North Carolina.
The UVa defensive front got the best of the Tar Heel offensive line and wasable to put pressure on quarterback Ronald Curry, constantly forcing him tothrow off balance.
Curry was able to hold the Cavalier defenders at bay with his scramblingability, but was unable to connect on the big play and was sacked threetimes. (North Carolina’s offense scored only one touchdown and had to driveonly 30 yards for the score.)
The Tar Heels averaged just 3.5 yards per rush, while Curry completed only10 of 28 passes and had two intercepted.An indication of how well the Virginia defense played is to look to see howUNC did on first down plays.
The Tar Heels ran 28 plays on first down and only 10 went for more thanthree yards. Conversely, 12 plays gained one yard or less or resulted in anincomplete or intercepted pass.
Jones Jumps Two Places on Rushing List
As his career at Virginia was coming to a close in 1996, Virginia’sall-time leading rusher, Tiki Barber, mentioned that Thomas Jones (then atrue freshman) would be the one to break his records. Barber seems to bevery prescient regarding the performance of the player who was hisunderstudy three years ago.
Jones rushed for 1303 yards last season, the third-highest single-seasonmark in school history (behind Barber’s two best seasons).This season Jones looks poised for another big year. He rumbled for 149yards and one touchdown on 35 carries last Saturday against North Carolinaand jumped two places on UVa’s career rushing list.
With 2349 career yards, Jones is seventh in school history in rushing.His place on UVa’s all-time rushing list is below.
Player Att. Yds. Avg. TD1. Tiki Barber 651 3389 5.2 31 2. Terry Kirby 567 3348 5.9 243. John Papit 537 3238 6.0 274. Tommy Vigorito 648 2913 4.5 155. Frank Quayle 514 2695 5.2 286. Jim Bakhtiar 555 2434 4.4 137. Thomas Jones 492 2349 4.8 20
Braverman Boots Ghosts
Place-kickers live a strange existence, always walking on the cusp betweenhero and goat. Over the last two seasons Todd Braverman can surely attestto the fine line kickers walk.
Last season he booted a 30-yard field goal with 49 seconds remaining todefeat Clemson 20-18 in the season’s third week. But from that point on,the up-and-down nature of kickers seemed to be mostly down for him.
He missed a field goal that could have sent the Georgia Tech game intoovertime, but to be fair it was from 54-yards out and didn’t miss by much.He then missed an extra point and a 48-yard field goal in the waningseconds of the Peach Bowl loss to Georgia. The field goal, if good, wouldhave won it for Virginia, but instead the ball drifted wide right.(Braverman shouldn’t be blamed for either loss as Virginia held 21-pointleads in both contests.)
The uncertainty of his position continued into the preseason as he had tobattle David Greene for the starting nod. Head coach George Welsh took thedecision to the last moment, waiting until the week of the North Carolinagame to select the winner.
But things swung upward for Braverman when he was named the starter. Hewasted little time justifying Welsh’s decision and erasing the memories oflast season in the opener against North Carolina with two field goalsagainst the Tar Heels.
Called on to be the hero, Braverman answered the call with a 50-yard bootwith 27.4 seconds remaining to give Virginia a 20-17 victory. The kickdidn’t clear the crossbar by much, but it was enough to make Braverman thesixth kicker in school history to make a 50-yarder.
Thweatt Lone Returning Starter at Linebacker
Butkus Award candidate Byron Thweatt is one of the top returninglinebackers in the nation and is Virginia’s lone returning starter at theposition.
Going into his third season as a starter, Thweatt will no doubt be expectedto provide leadership and experience to coach David Turner’s linebackingcorps. He has finished second on the team in tackles in each of his firsttwo seasons and was in on 99 stops last season.
Joining Thweatt in the starting line-up are senior Shannon Taylor andjunior Yubrenal Isabelle.
Taylor returns after sitting out last season for personal reasons. He wasrecruited as a quarterback, but moved to linebacker shortly after hisarrival in Charlottesville.He has alternated between linebacker and defensive end during his career,lettering as a linebacker in 1996 and at defensive end in 1997. Taylorstarted his only game at linebacker three years ago against Virginia Tech.A gifted athlete who excels at getting to the quarterback, he has been inon four sacks in his career.
Isabelle was an understudy behind All-ACC performer Wali Rainer the lasttwo years. He saw action in every game last season, making 23 tackles andbreaking up one pass. He didn’t see much action as a true freshman twoyears ago, but had a career-high eight tackles against Florida State thatseason.
The back-ups at linebacker are a relatively inexperienced group. JuniorEarl Sims has seen limited action in his first two years in the program,making 11 tackles in that time. Sophomore William Clark moved to linebacker from wide receiver during the 1998 preseason and played in all 12 gameslast season with four tackles.
Red-shirt freshmen Darnell Hollier andAntonio Mayfield could also see reserve duty this season.
Coffey Provides the Big Play
Wide receiver was a big concern for the Cavaliers last season, but TerrenceWilkins blossomed into a clutch receiver.Wilkins wasn’t the only receiver to come into his own last fall. KevinCoffey proved he could make the big catch as well. Witness his 61-yardtouchdown reception in the season opener at Auburn that proved to be thewinning score.
For the season, he caught 23 passes for 583 yards (25.4 avg.) and ateam-leading five touchdowns.A possession-type receiver, Coffey has shown a knack for getting addedyards after the catch. His 25.4-yards per catch average last season wastops among ACC receivers with at least five receptions and is the UVarecord for highest average by a player with at least 20 receptions.He had two receptions of more than 60 yards and only two of less than 10yards, while 21 of his 23 catches went for a first down or a touchdown.This season seems to be much of the same.
Quarterback Dan Ellis made hisfirst career start against North Carolina and frequently looked Coffey’sway. Coffey caught four passes for 101 yards (his second career 100-yardgame) and one touchdown. In addition to his touchdown grab (a 32-yarder),his other three receptions all went for first downs.Over the last two seasons, 25 of 27 receptions (92.6 percent) have resultedin either a first down or touchdown.
For his career, Coffey is averaging 23.5 yards per reception, the top markin school history.
Virginia’s Secondary Unsettled
Of prime concern to defensive coordinator Rick Lantz coming into the 1999season is the shape of the secondary. At first glance it seemed that theCavaliers should be set as three very experienced players return-AntwanHarris, Tim Spruill and Dwayne Stukes. But Harris has never played morethan nine games in a regular season due to various injuries. Stukes’ 1998season was marred by injury and he was injured again during springpractice. An injury to any one of the three will compromise the depth inthe secondary.
Several newcomers are certain to see plenty of time in the secondary,including Shernard Newby and Chris Williams (both red-shirt freshmen).Harris is perhaps the most versatile of the group, having started at bothsafety and cornerback in his career.
Against North Carolina on Saturday, Spruill and Stukes started at thecorners, while Harris and Newby were the safeties.Stukes left the game late in the second quarter due to an injury whichforced some rearrangements in the secondary. Newby saw a lot of action atsafety as Harris moved to cornerback.
Sophomore Jermaine Lauzon also saw extended action at cornerback, spellingSpruill and Harris on a muggy day.Despite playing in their first collegiate game, both Newby and Williamsbroke up one pass and intercepted another. For the game, Virginia’ssecondary broke up five passes and didn’t allow a completion of more than24 yards.
Welsh Seventh Among Active Wins Leaders
Head coach George Welsh, tabbed last season by The Sporting News as thenation’s best coach, enters this season ranked seventh in wins among activeDivision I-A coaches.
Welsh has won 177 games in a 27-year career at Navy (1973-81) and Virginia(1982-present), 31st in NCAA Division I-A history.His overall career record is 177-121-4 (.593).
The dean of ACC coaches, Welsh is the only coach in league history to winat least 100 games. He has a 122-75-3 record in 18 seasons at Virginia. His76 wins in ACC games is also a record.
A look at the winningest active coaches is below.
1. Joe Paterno, Penn State (34 years) 309-80-3 (.792)2. Bobby Bowden, Fla. State (34) 293-85-4 (.772)3. LaVell Edwards, BYU (28) 243-91-3 (.726)4. Lou Holtz, So. Carolina (28) 216-96-7 (.688)5. Don Nehlen, West Va. (29) 191-117-8 (.617)6. John Cooper, Ohio State (23) 178-75-6 (.699)7. George Welsh, UVa (27) 177-121-4 (.593)
Replacing 10 Starters in 1999
Head coach George Welsh and his staff have had to replace a total of 10starters (four offense, six defense) this season. The Cavaliers returned 37lettermen in 1999, and lost 20.
On offense, the most notable void comes at quarterback with the loss oftwo-year starter Aaron Brooks. Brooks’ favorite target in 1998, TerrenceWilkins, is also gone. Two linemen also must be replaced-guard Fady Chamounand tackle Robert Hunt.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cavaliers will be hard hit in thesecondary, having to replace safeties Adrian Burnim and All-AmericanAnthony Poindexter.
Replacements must also be found for two other All-Americans-defensive endPatrick Kerney and middle linebacker Wali Rainer.Defensive tackle Antonio Dingle, a three-year starter, and linebacker DonnyGreen, a two-year starter, must also be replaced.
Thweatt Named to Butkus Award List
Linebacker Byron Thweatt is among 65 players named to the initial list ofcandidates for the 1999 Butkus Award, presented annually to the nation’soutstanding linebacker by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando (Fla.).Thweatt was also named to the initial list a year ago.
The list will be trimmed to 10 semifinalists on Oct. 21 and the threefinalists will be announced on Nov. 11. The winner of the Butkus Award willbe announced on Dec. 10.
Thweatt, who was in on three tackles in the opener vs. North Carolina, made196 tackles in his first two years, the third-highest total after two yearsin school history. Charles McDaniel, UVa’s second-leading all-time tackler,had 239 after two seasons, while career leader Jamie Sharper had 217.
UVa Relies on Rushing Offense
Led by Thomas Jones’ 1303 yards, Virginia featured one of the top rushingattacks in the nation in 1998. The Cavaliers ground out an ACC-leadingaverage of 213.1 yards rushing per game last season and ranked 15th in thenation in rushing offense.
There are high expectations for the ground game again this season in aneffort to take some of the pressure off quarterback Dan Ellis, particularlyearly in the season.
Jones proved to be a workhorse last Saturday against North Carolina,grinding out 149 yards on 35 carries.
Leading the way for Jones is a battle-tested line that features threereturning starters and another player who started five games. Josh Lawson,who was named first-team All-Freshman by The Sporting News last season,returns at left tackle. Next to him is All-ACC guard Noel LaMontagne. JohnSt. Clair, an All-ACC second-teamer in 1998, returns at center. EvanRoutzahn, a five-game starter last season, moves in at right guard, whileBrad Barnes mans the right tackle slot.
Taking a Look at the Schedule
The Cavaliers’ 1999 schedule features six games against teams that playedin bowl games last season.Virginia’s schedule includes two games against teams that won at least 10games last season (Florida State, Georgia Tech), and two against nine-gamewinners (Brigham Young, Virginia Tech).
Among the bowl teams on the Cavaliers’ 1999 slate are Brigham Young,Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, N.C. State and Virginia Tech.Several of these teams are also listed among the nation’s top-25 squads inpreseason rankings.
UVa’s opponents this season had a combined 70-60 (.538) record last season.
Scott Booms School Record Five 60-Yard Punts
Unlike last season when the Virginia roster didn’t feature a single playerwho had ever kicked, punted or kicked off in a game, this year’s squad hasexperience in all three areas.
The punting will be handled by All-America candidate Donnie Scott. Scott,who endured a fierce battle for the job last year with Mike Abrams, wasoutstanding in his first year as the starting punter.He averaged 42.6 yards per punt last season, with 16 over 50 yards(including five of 60+) and 23 inside the 20-yard line.
Scott finished third in the ACC in punting in 1998, but his ability tolimit returns enabled Virginia to rank second in the league in net punting.Since Virginia started keeping track of punts inside the 20 in 1984, onlyWill Brice has had more in a season than Scott. Brice had 26 in 1995.Scott’s five 60-yard punts is the school record for most in a season.
RussHenderson (1978) and Brice (1994) had four in one season.Scott averaged 43.2 yards on seven punts in the opener against NorthCarolina, buried two inside the 20 and had punts of 52 and 54 yards.
Ellis Starting Signal-Caller
Despite seeing limited action during his first two years in the program,junior Dan Ellis is UVa’s starting quarterback this season. Coming intothis season he had attempted just 39 passes and saw his most extensiveaction two years ago as a true freshman when he attempted 33 passes.Starting a quarterback with so little experience is nothing new for coachGeorge Welsh. In fact, it has been a relatively common occurrence for himas UVa’s head coach.
Welsh has had two starting quarterbacks who had never attempted a pass incollege prior to their first start (Kevin Ferguson, Bobby Goodman) andthree others with fewer than 10 attempts (Matt Blundin, Scott Secules,Symmion Willis).
A list of past starters, with the number of career pass attempts prior totheir first start, looks like this:
First-time starters under Welsh
Player, class Yr/Opp.* C A I Yds TD Car. Att.Wayne Schuchts, Jr. 82-NCSU 10 23 0 156 1 49#Kevin Ferguson, So. 84-Clem. 5 12 2 68 0 0Don Majkowski, So. 84-GaT 6 20 3 161 1 44Scott Secules, So. 85-UNC 8 14 1 106 2 8Shawn Moore, So. 88-W&M 13 22 1 167 2 18Matt Blundin, So. 89-Clem. 14 34 2 248 2 3Bobby Goodman, Jr. 91-Navy 11 18 2 119 0 0Symmion Willis, So. 93-Md. 15 23 1 192 2 2Mike Groh, Jr. 94-Navy 26 35 1 257 3 48Tim Sherman, Sr. 96-C. Mich. 6 10 0 103 0 24Aaron Brooks, Jr. 97-Auburn 25 41 1 305 2 91Dan Ellis, Jr. 99-UNC 10 25 3 165 1 39
# Schuchts transferred to UVa after playing two years at Colgate. Hisattempts are UVa only.
Other notables from the past
Gary Cuozzo, So. 60-NCSU 10 24 2 106 1 25Bob Davis, So. 64-WFU 14 27 2 250 0 0Gene Arnette, Jr. 67-Army 14 25 3 164 0 0Mike Cubbage, So. 69-UNC 10 19 0 141 0 42Scott Gardner, Fr. 72-Clem. 3 12 2 62 0 19
*=first career start
Thweatt Primed to Top Century Mark
As the most experienced returnee among a rather young group of linebackers,junior Byron Thweatt will be expected to help spearhead the defense thisseason.A preseason All-ACC selection by many publications, Thweatt has been secondon the team in tackles in his first two seasons. He was in on 97 tackles asa freshman in 1997 and in on 99 last season.
A remarkably steady player, Thweatt has started all 24 games in his career.He had five games of 10+ tackles a year ago, including a career-high of 13stops three different times.He will long be remembered for his 53-yard interception for a touchdownagainst Virginia Tech last season to start the Cavaliers on theirrecord-setting come-from-behind victory.
Thweatt came into the season with 196 tackles in his career, thethird-highest total after two years in school history. Charles McDaniel,UVa’s second-leading all-time tackler, had 239 after two seasons, whilecareer leader Jamie Sharper had 217.Thweatt had three tackles in the season opener vs. North Carolina lastSaturday.
Griffith Leads Sack Attack
Senior co-captain Travis Griffith is in his third year as a starter atdefensive end. After playing in the shadow of NFL first round draft pickPatrick Kerney the last two years, Griffith will be expected to utilize hispass rushing skills to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.He was part of a front four that prevented North Carolina quarterbackRonald Curry from making the big play last Saturday. He had five tacklesand sacked Curry once as the Cavaliers held the Tar Heels to less than 300yards of total offense.
Griffith leads all active UVa players with 12 career sacks (13th in schoolhistory).Last season he recorded 40 tackles, just three off his career high and hadthree sacks, despite missing three games with injury.
Ellis is Eighth this Decade
Winning seasons and points on the scoreboard are constants for the Virginiaprogram in the 1990s. They are made all the more remarkable due to theseemingly annual change in the starting quarterback.Dan Ellis made the first start of his career last Saturday against NorthCarolina and became the eighth different quarterback this decade to start aseason opener for the Cavaliers.
Ellis fared reasonably well, completing 10 of 25 passes for 165 yards andone touchdown, but was hurt by three interceptions.This season also is the fifth time in the last six years that Virginia hashad a different quarterback start the opener.
Virginia’s starting quarterbacks throughout the 1990s are listed below. Thenumber of starts is indicated.
1990: Shawn Moore 11, Matt Blundin 1
1991: Blundin 10, Bobby Goodman 2
1992: Goodman 11
1993: Symmion Willis 12
1994: Mike Groh 8, Willis 4
1995: Groh 13
1996: Tim Sherman 12
1997: Aaron Brooks 11
1998: Brooks 12
1999: Dan Ellis 1
Jones Attains Ironman Status
Despite leading the ACC in rushing by nearly 400 yards and standing as thethird-leading returning rusher in the nation, Thomas Jones doesn’t get theattention he deserves.He ran for 1303 yards last season, the eighth-highest total in ACC history,and tied the ACC record with two 200-yard games.
Going into his third year as the starting tailback, perhaps it’s importantto also note his durability. A testament to his offseason work ethic, Joneshas not missed a game in his career, while starting the last 24 games.His streak of 24 consecutive starts is the longest by a UVa running backsince Terry Kirby got the nod in 30 consecutive games from 1990-92. (TikiBarber had a string of 21 consecutive starts.)
Four of Five were Winners
New starting quarterback Dan Ellis joined some pretty good company bydirecting the Cavaliers to a dramatic 20-17 win over North Carolina onSaturday in the first start of his career.Prior to the North Carolina game, four of the last five UVa quarterbacksdating back to 1991 won their first career start.
Bobby Goodman (Navy, 1991), Symmion Willis (Maryland, 1993), Mike Groh(Navy, 1994) and Tim Sherman (Central Michigan, 1996) all won theirstarting debuts, with Willis and Groh winning on the road. Aaron Brooks isthe only UVa quarterback this decade to lose his first start-Auburn 1997.
Overall, quarterbacks have done remarkably well for Virginia in their firststart under head coach George Welsh. Ellis is the 12th different player tostart at quarterback under Welsh and the first-time starters have compileda 7-4-1 record.
In addition to those mentioned above, other UVa starters include WayneSchuchts (N.C. State, 1982), Kevin Ferguson (Clemson, 1984), Don Majkowski(Georgia Tech, 1984), Scott Secules (North Carolina, 1985), Shawn Moore(William & Mary, 1988) and Matt Blundin (Clemson, 1989). Secules and Moorewon, Majkowski tied and Schuchts, Ferguson and Blundin lost their firststart.
Braverman, Greene Share Kicking Chores
For the second year in a row, the place-kicking duties this season will besplit between Todd Braverman and David Greene. Braverman is the kicker forfield goals and extra points, while Greene is the kick-off man.Braverman, a left-footed junior, had an up-and-down season last fall. Hemade 12 field goals and 38 extra points to finish second on the team with74 points.
He made eight of his first nine field goal attempts in the first half ofthe season, but connected on just four of his last 12 tries, including twomisses in the Peach Bowl.
Braverman seems to have put last season’s performance behind him. He madetwo field goals in the spring game and connected on two field goals in eachpreseason scrimmage without a miss.
Named the starting place-kicker just days before the opener against NorthCarolina, Braverman sent the Cavaliers home with a victory by connecting ona 50-yarder with less than 30 seconds remaining to down the Tar Heels 20-17.Greene possesses the stronger leg and will do the kicking off as he did socapably a year ago. Last season in his first action, he did all the kickingoff. In 59 kickoffs he had 14 touchbacks, while typically placing the balldeep.
Building on a fine finish to last season, Greene boomed four of fivekickoffs against North Carolina last Saturday into the end zone. Two weretouchbacks, while three were returned for an average of just 19.0 yards.
ACC Media See Cavaliers Third
Virginia was selected to finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference thisseason by media representatives attending the annual ACC Football Kickoffat the Grandover Resort and Conference Center in Greensboro, N.C., on July19-20.
The media exhibited good selection skills last season as they felt theCavaliers would finish third and they did.
The predicted conference standings for 1999 look like this (first-placevotes in parenthesis):
1. Florida State (84) 7802. Georgia Tech (3) 6883. VIRGINIA 5654. North Carolina 5165. N.C. State 4826. Clemson 3027. Duke 2138. Wake Forest 1979. Maryland 171
Projected National and Conference Finish
Several publications have made their predictions about the upcoming seasonand most see the Cavaliers finishing in the first division of the AtlanticCoast Conference standings again this season. The general opinion among themedia is a third place finish in the league for the Cavaliers in 1999(behind Florida State and Georgia Tech according to most).
Virginia finished third in the conference last season with a 6-2 leaguemark. The Cavaliers haven’t finished lower than fourth in the league since1986 when they tied for sixth.
ACC national finish rankStreet & Smith's 3 16Athlon 3 19Preview Sports 3 21CNN/SI.com 3 28College & Pro Football Newsweekly 3 NALindy's 4 29The Sporting News 4 41Game Plan 4 NRFootball News NA 23
Cavaliers Receive Preseason Recognition
Seven of Virginia’s 14 returning starters this season have receivednational or conference recognition this preseason by various publications.Leading the way is All-ACC running back Thomas Jones. Jones, the ACC’sleading rusher a year ago, is among the top returnees in the nation and isa Doak Walker candidate as the nation’s top running back.
UVa’s honor candidates are listed below in alphabetical order.
Tight End Casey Crawford
Honorable Mention All-American by Street & Smith’s#5 tight end in the nation by Lindy’s (only ACCtight end listed)Listed as top TE in nation by Mel Kiper1st-Team All-ACC by Athlon1st-Team All-ACC by Football News1st-Team All-ACC by Street & Smith’s1st-Team All-ACC by Lindy’s1st-Team All-ACC by Jim Feist’s College Football2nd-Team All-ACC by The Sporting News
Defensive End Travis Griffith
1st-Team All-ACC by Street & Smith’s2nd-Team All-ACC by The Sporting News
Defensive Back Antwan Harris
#23 cornerback in the nation by Lindy’s2nd-Team All-ACC by Lindy’s
Running Back Thomas Jones
Doak Walker Award CandidateFootball Writers Assn. All-America checklist2nd-Team All-American by Football News#8 running back in the nation by Lindy’s#12 running back in the nation by The Sporting NewsHonorable Mention All-American by Street & Smith’sListed among the ACC’s top-five offensive playersby CNN/SI.comListed as the sixth-best player in the ACC by Lindy’s1st-Team All-ACC by Preview Sports1st-Team All-ACC by Athlon1st-Team All-ACC by The Sporting News1st-Team All-ACC by Football News1st-Team All-ACC by College & Pro Football
1st-Team All-ACC by Street & Smith’s1st-Team All-ACC by Lindy’s1st-Team All-ACC by Jim Feist’s College Football
Guard Noel LaMontagne
Football Writers Assn. All-America checklist#7 guard in the nation by The Sporting News#11 guard in the nation by Lindy’s2nd-Team All-American by Football News2nd-Team All-American by AthlonHonorable Mention All-American by Street & Smith’sListed as the ACC’s “Secret Weapon” by CNN/SI.com1st-Team All-ACC by Preview Sports1st-Team All-ACC by Athlon1st-Team All-ACC by The Sporting News1st-Team All-ACC by Football News1st-Team All-ACC by College & Pro Football
1st-Team All-ACC by Street & Smith’s1st-Team All-ACC by Lindy’s1st-Team All-ACC by Jim Feist’s College Football
Center John St. Clair
Football Writers Assn. All-America checklist#12 center in the nation by Lindy’s (only ACC centerlisted)1st-Team All-ACC by Preview Sports1st-Team All-ACC by Athlon1st-Team All-ACC by The Sporting News1st-Team All-ACC by Football News1st-Team All-ACC by College & Pro Football
1st-Team All-ACC by Street & Smith’s1st-Team All-ACC by Lindy’s
Linebacker Byron Thweatt
Listed among candidates for the Butkus AwardFootball Writers Assn. All-America checklist#5 outside linebacker in the nation by The SportingNews (only ACC OLB listed)#9 outside linebacker in the nation by Lindy’s (top ACC OLB listed)Honorable Mention All-American by Street & Smith’sListed as the eighth-best player in the ACC by Lindy’s1st-Team All-ACC by Preview Sports1st-Team All-ACC by Athlon1st-Team All-ACC by The Sporting News1st-Team All-ACC by Football News1st-Team All-ACC by College & Pro Football
1st-Team All-ACC by Street & Smith’s1st-Team All-ACC by Lindy’s1st-Team All-ACC by Jim Feist’s College Football
VIRGINIA BY THE NUMBERS
1-UVa head coach George Welsh is the winningest coach in ACC history. Theonly coach in league history to win 100 games, he has a 122-75-3 record atVirginia. Welsh has also won 76 ACC games, the most in league history.
2-Number of active Division I-A players who rushed for more yards thanThomas Jones’ 1303 yards last season. Jones, who led the ACC in rushing bya wide margin, finished 11th in the nation in rushing last season. OnlyTravis Prentice from Miami of Ohio (1787 yards) and Texas Tech’s RickyWilliams (1582 yards) ran for more yards than Jones among this season’sreturning players.
3-Thomas Jones earned his undergraduate degree in psychology in just threeyears. He received his degree in May of 1999.
5-Players made the first start of their career last Saturday against NorthCarolina. This is the most since 1997 when 11 players made their firststart against Auburn in the opener. Last season’s squad also had fivefirst-time starters in the season opener.
7-UVa head coach George Welsh is seventh among active Division I-A coachesin wins. He has won 177 games in a 27-year career at Navy (1973-81) andVirginia (1982-present).
12-Consecutive seasons with at least seven wins by UVa, the longest streakin ACC history. UVa is one of only four Division I-A programs (Fla. State,Michigan, Nebraska) to post at least seven wins in each of the last 12seasons. It is also tied for the eighth-longest current streak of winningseasons in the nation.
92.6-Wide receiver Kevin Coffey has been very productive with hisreceptions the last two seasons, converting 25 of his last 27 catches (92.6percent) into either a first down or touchdown. In the opener against NorthCarolina, he caught four passes for 101 yards that he turned into threefirst downs and a touchdown.
1041-Thomas Jones needs 1041 yards rushing to break Tiki Barber’s UVacareer rushing record. Jones rushed for 149 yards last Saturday againstNorth Carolina and now has 2349 career yards. Barber rushed for 3389 yardsin his career.
Miscellaneous 1999 Statistics
“Red Zone” Performance
(all series first & 10 from opponents’ 20-yard line and in)
Opponent Att Result Pct.No. Carolina 2 TD, FG 100.01999 2 TD, FG 100.0(1998 stats) 37 23 TD, 7 FG 81.1
No. Carolina 1 TD 100.01999 1 TD 100.0(1998 stats) 28 12 FG, 11 TD 82.1
player KO TB Ret.-Avg. Avg. KO goes to Greene 5 2 3-19.0 inside 1-yd line