Cavaliers Face No. 17 BYU On The Road Saturday
Sept. 20, 1999
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia ventures out of conference this Saturday (Sept. 25) witha long road trip to Brigham Young in Provo, Utah. The Cavaliers have wontheir last two non-conference road games (both last year over Auburn andVirginia Tech). Virginia began the season with three straight ACC games andare currently 2-1 on the season. Kickoff for this intersectional clash isset for 9:00 p.m. (Eastern).
Brigham Young has won its first two games in convincing fashion, downingWashington 35-28 and Colorado State 34-13. The Cougars jumped from 25th to17th in this week’s Associated Press poll. They are also ranked 19th in theUSA Today/ESPN coaches poll.
Sept. 25, 1999 * 9:00 p.m. (Eastern) (ESPN2)
Television: The game is being televised nationally on ESPN2. Mark Jonescalls the play by play, while Sean Salisbury is the color analyst. NickLowery is the sideline reporter. This is the second week in a row theCavaliers are on “The Deuce.”
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.
The Series vs. Brigham Young
This is just the second meeting between the two schools. Virginia won thefirst meeting 22-16 in the 1987 All American Bowl in Birmingham, Ala.
Cougar quarterback Sean Covey got quite a workout in that game, completing37 of 61 passes for 394 yards. His figures for attempts and completions arethe second-most ever against Virginia, while his yards passing are sixth.
UVa quarterback Scott Secules led a balanced attack and earned MVP honorsin leading the Cavaliers to the victory. He completed 10 of 19 passes for162 yards and tossed a 22-yard scoring strike to wide receiver John Ford inthe fourth quarter. Fullback Kevin Morgan led the ground attack, rushingfor 82 yards on 10 carries, including a 25-yard touchdown run in the secondquarter.
Despite forcing just one turnover and relinquishing 489 yards of totaloffense, the Virginia defense turned in key second half plays when needed.The Cavalier defenders kept the Cougars out of the end zone onfourth-and-goal from the two-yard line in the third quarter. On BYU’s nextto last possession, Sean Scott stopped Covey on fourth-and-one at the BYU48 to turn the ball over on downs. In the final minute, the Cavaliersforced Covey to throw four consecutive imcompletions on the Cougars’ finalpossession.
Defensive backs coach Art Markos and tight ends coach Danny Wilmer are theonly remaining members of head coach George Welsh’s staff from the lastmeeting between the two teams.
This game has several curious firsts. This is the first time the Cavaliershave played in Utah, it is their first game in the Mountain time zone andit’s likely to be the highest game in terms of altitude they have everplayed.
They are also making the second-longest road trip in school history, toppedonly by a trip to Washington in 1976.
Of the 82 different teams that Brigham Young has played in its footballhistory (dating back to 1922), Virginia has played only 18, includingFlorida State, Georgia and Navy among others.
Welsh is 2-0 all-time against Brigham Young and both wins have occurred inbowl games.
His 1978 Navy squad downed the Cougars 23-16 in the 1978 Holiday Bowl,while Virginia defeated BYU 22-16 in the 1987 All American Bowl
Cavaliers Venture West
This is a rare game for Virginia west of the Mississippi River. TheCavaliers have played 1,071 games in their history, but this is just the11th played west of the Mississippi River.
Virginia is 3-7 in games played west of the Mississippi. The last time theCavaliers went past the Mississippi occurred in 1995 when they dropped atough 17-16 loss at Texas in Austin.
Looking for a Road Win over Ranked Team
The Cavaliers face the #17 Brigham Young Cougars this weekend in Provo, Utah.In what might be a good omen, Virginia has won its last two non-conferenceroad games against ranked teams.
Last season the Cavaliers opened with a 19-0 whitewashing of #25 Auburn andended the regular season with a record comeback performance against #20Virginia Tech 36-32.
Overall, playing on a ranked opponent’s home field hasn’t been veryfruitful through the years for the Cavaliers. Virginia is 9-41-1 whenplaying a ranked opponent on its home field since the first AssociatedPress rankings in 1936.
The record is much better under head coach George Welsh (8-14-1).The highest ranked team Virginia has defeated on the road is #12 and that’shappened twice. Virginia defeated 12th-ranked West Virginia 27-7 inMorgantown in 1984 and Penn State 14-6 in State College in 1989.
A look at all of Virginia’s wins on the home fields of ranked opponents isbelow.
Season Opponent & Rank UVa Rank Score1949 #20 Penn 19 26-141984 #12 West Virginia - 27-71989 #12 Penn State - 14-61989 #18 N.C. State 24 20-91991 #18 N.C. State 24 42-101994 #14 Virginia Tech 16 42-231995 #23 N.C. State 16 29-241998 #25 Auburn 16 19-01998 #20 Virginia Tech 16 36-32
UVa vs. the Mountain West Conference
Virginia becomes the first ACC school to face a team from the newly-formedMoutain West Conference, made up of teams who left the Western AthleticConference following last season.
The Cavaliers are 1-0 all-time against teams in the new conference. Thelone win is the 22-16 win over BYU in the 1987 All American Bowl inBirmingham, Ala.
Virginia Goes Out of Conference for First Time
After starting the season with three consecutive ACC games, the Cavaliersplay their first non-conference game against Brigham Young.
The Cavaliers have done well in non-conference road games recently, winningtheir last two. Last season Virginia defeated Auburn and Virginia Tech onthe road. A win over BYU would give Virginia its third three-game roadnon-conference winning streak under head coach George Welsh since hearrived in Charlottesville in 1982.
Two Coaching Greats MeetThis game features two of the winningest active coaches in thenation-Virginia’s George Welsh and Brigham Young’s Lavell Edwards.Welsh is in his 27th season as a collegiate head coach and has compiled a178-122-4 overall record, including a 123-76-3 record in 18 seasons at UVa.Edwards is also in his 27th season and has a 245-91-3 overall record.
Edwards is seventh in NCAA Division I-A history in wins, while Welsh tiedwith long-time Syracuse coach Ben Schwartzwalder for 30th place all-time.Brigham Young captured the national title in 1984 and is one of five formernational champions (since 1936) on the Cavaliers’ schedule this season.
Others include Clemson (1981), Florida State (1993), Georgia Tech (1990),and Maryland (1953).
Turnovers Make a Difference
Virginia was hampered in the first two games of the season byturnovers-three fumbles lost, three interceptions thrown.
The Cavaliers compounded the turnovers with a double whammy-turnovers inthe red zone and an inability to prevent scores after turnovers.Quarterback Dan Ellis threw three interceptions in the opener against NorthCarolina, two coming inside the red zone (including one returned 89 yardsfor a touchdown).
Against Clemson, Thomas Jones lost a fumble inside the Clemson 10-yard lineas UVa was attempting to cut into a 17-0 deficit in the second quarter.Virginia committed a season-low one turnover (interception) last weekagainst Wake Forest, but weren’t hurt by it as the Demon Deacons wereunable to score as a result.
Of UVa’s seven turnovers, five have been turned into points by theopposition. Clemson scored two touchdowns and a field goal off Virginiamiscues, while the week before North Carolina’s defense scored on aninterception return.
The opposition has been aided by several Virginia turnovers in Virginiaterritory. North Carolina drove only 30 yards for its only offensivetouchdown, while Clemson scored touchdowns on drives of 20 and 43 yardsfollowing UVa turnovers.
Conversely, Virginia has forced six turnovers this season (fiveinterceptions, one fumble) and have scored just two touchdowns as a result.
Jones Runs Toward Top Five
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).
So far this season Jones looks poised for another big year. He has rushedfor 410 yards in three games, with a high game of 164 yards against WakeForest the last time out.
Jones now has 2610 career rushing yards, sixth in school history and needs86 yards to pass current UVa radio color analyst Frank Quayle for fifthplace.
Jones’ place on UVa’s all-time rushing list is below.
Player Att. Yds. Avg. TD1. Tiki Barber 651 3389 5.2 312. 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. Thomas Jones 539 2610 4.8 24
Coffey Turning into Big Play Receiver
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, 31 of 34 receptions (91.2 percent) have resultedin either a first down or touchdown.
For his career, Coffey is averaging 21.2 yards per reception, second inschool history (behind Herman Moore).
Kiddie Corps Get Pickoffs
Virginia has intercepted five passes this season, all by freshmen defensivebacks.
The safety tandem of Shernard Newby and Chris Williams (both red-shirtfreshmen) have teamed to intercept passes in the same game twice-NorthCarolina and Wake Forest. The North Carolina game was the first collegegame for both.
True freshman Jerton Evans intercepted a pass against Clemson two weeks agoin the second game of his brief college career.
Isabelle Reaches Double Digits Twice
Junior middle linebacker Yubrenal Isabelle gets better with each game as heattempts to fill the rather large shoes of current NFL starter Wali Rainerin the Cavalier defense.
Isabelle, who saw limited action in his first two seasons behind Rainer,led the Cavaliers with 14 tackles against Clemson two weeks ago. The 14tackles is a career high, topping the eight he had against Florida State asa freshman two years ago.
He paced the team against last Saturday with 10 tackles against Wake Forestas Virginia held Morgan Kane, the nation’s leading rusher coming into thegame, to just 65 yards.
A very smart player who is still learning on the job, Isabelle leads theteam with 27 tackles this season.
A look at his game-by-game stats are below.
Solo Ast. TTL otherN. Carolina 2 1 3 PBUClemson 9* 5* 14* FRW. Forest 7* 3 10*
* led team
Cavaliers Score Four TDs in First Half
Wake Forest seemed to be just what Virginia needed last Saturday as theCavaliers rolled to a 35-7 Homecoming game win in Charlottesville.
The Cavaliers hadn’t played particularly well in the first two games of theseason (North Carolina, Clemson), but things seemed to gel vs. Wake Forest.Coming into the game Virginia managed to score just three points in thefirst half this season (a Todd Braverman field goal vs. North Carolina).But the Cavaliers erupted for 28 points in the first 30 minutes of the gameagainst the Demon Deacons.
UVa took the opening kickoff and marched down field only to have the drivestall in the red zone with an interception.
From there, the Cavaliers scored on their next four possessions to run to a28-0 score in the first half, their first touchdowns in the first half thisseason.
In contrast, UVa’s opponents have scored 17 points in the first quarter and19 in the second quarter this season.
Third Down Production Determines Outcome
In the first two games of the season Virginia did not do a particularlygood job on third downs either on offense or defense.
Offensively, Virginia converted just 29.6 percent of their third downconversions in the first two weeks of the season. They were just three of13 against North Carolina and five of 14 vs. Clemson.
Defensively Virginia allowed the Tar Heels and Tigers to convert on 41.9percent of its third downs.
But the Cavaliers began to turn things around on both sides of the balllast Saturday against Wake Forest.
Dan Ellis and crew converted all eight of their attempts on offense in thefirst half as Virginia bolted to a 28-7 halftime lead. For the game UVaconverted nine of 13 (.692).
The defensive unit was just as effective, holding the Demon Deacons to a.308 conversion rate (four of 13).For the season Virginia is converting 42.5 percent of its third downs (17of 40), fifth in the ACC.
On defense the Cavaliers allow the opposition to convert 38.6 percent ofthe time (17 of 44), seventh in the conference.
Jones Attains Ironman Status
Despite leading the ACC in rushing by nearly 400 yards and standing as thethird-leading returning rusher in the nation this season, Thomas Jonesdoesn’t get the attention 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 26 games.
His streak of 26 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.)
First-Time Starters Dot Line-Up
Injuries and graduation have caused head coach George Welsh and his staffto shuffle players around this season.
There were five first-time starters in the line-up in the opener vs. NorthCarolina-tackle Brad Barnes, middle linebacker Yubrenal Isabelle,quarterback Dan Ellis, defensive end Ljubomir Stamenich and safety ChrisWilliams.
Several Cavaliers went down with injury against the Tar Heels which createdopenings for three more players in the line-up against Clemson. Making thefirst start of their career against the Tigers were wide receiver DemetriusDotson, cornerback Jermaine Lauzon and safety Shernard Newby.
True freshman Jerton Evans joined the list of first-time starters lastSaturday against Wake Forest pushing the total to nine players who havemade their starting debuts this season.
Of the Cavaliers’ 22 starters, 13 players have started fewer than 10 gamesin their careers. Only Thomas Jones and Byron Thweatt (26), Noel LaMontagne(23) and the injured Travis Griffith (20) have as many as 20 career starts.
Experienced Line Opens Holes for Jones
Head coach George Welsh has always emphasized the need to have a strongrunning game and this year is no different.
The Cavaliers feature one of the nation’s top running backs in ThomasJones. Jones has rushed for 410 yards this season (136.7/g), 11th in thenation. Last season Jones rushed for 1303 yards and led the ACC by almost400 yards.
Leading the way for Jones is a battle-tested line that features threereturning starters and another player who started five games a year ago.Virginia’s top offensive lineman is left guard Noel LaMontagne. A seniortri-captain, LaMontagne is the most experience lineman with 23 careerstarts under his belt.
Joining LaMontagne on the left side of the line is Josh Lawson, afirst-team All-Freshman by The Sporting News last season. He worked his wayinto the starting line-up last preseason and has remained there since.
Second-team All-ACC John St. Clair is the center. One of the top (and mostunderrated) centers in the country, he is quietly molding himself into oneof the top center prospects available in the upcoming NFL draft.
Sophomore Evan Routzahn, a starter in five games at left guard last season,has moved to right guard this season and is considered a very promisingplayer by Welsh. He is joined by junior Brad Barnes, the right tackle.Barnes saw limited action in his first two years, but has worked hard toforge his way into the line-up.
Welsh Seventh Among Active Wins Leaders
Head coach George Welsh, tabbed last season by The Sporting News as thenation’s best coach, is ranked seventh in wins among active Division I-Acoaches.
Welsh has won 178 games in a 27-year career at Navy (1973-81) and Virginia(1982-present), tied for 30th in NCAA Division I-A history.His overall career record is 178-122-4 (.592).
The dean of ACC coaches, Welsh is the only coach in league history to winat least 100 games. He has a 123-76-3 record in 18 seasons at Virginia. His77 wins in ACC games is also a record.
A look at the winningest active coaches is below.
1. Joe Paterno, Penn State (34 years) 311 wins
2. Bobby Bowden, Fla. State (34) 295
3. LaVell Edwards, BYU (28) 245
4. Lou Holtz, So. Carolina (28) 216
5. Don Nehlen, West Va. (29) 192
6. John Cooper, Ohio State (23) 180
7. George Welsh, UVa (27) 178
Workhorse Jones Eases Pressure on Ellis
New starting quarterback Dan Ellis has had his early-season inexperienceoffset by the presence of tailback Thomas Jones, who helps take some of thepressure off Ellis.
Jones, the ACC’s leading rusher a year ago, is off and running this seasonand looks like this season could be more special than last.Jones has rushed for 410 yards (136.7/g) and is second in the conference inrushing. He has reached the end zone five times so far this season andleads the ACC in touchdowns.
The senior co-captain from Big Stone Gap, Va., got off to a flying startthis season by rushing for 149 yards on 35 carries in the season openingwin over North Carolina. The 35 carries matches Jones’ career high.
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.He ran for 97 yards against Clemson and surely would have had more yards,but he ran the ball just four times in the second half as Virginia had topass to try (unsuccessfully) to catch the Tigers.
Jones returned to the century club last Saturday against Wake Forest,rushing for 164 yards and three touchdowns on just 24 carries. His threetouchdowns is his personal best, while his 164 yards is the fourth-highesttotal of his career.
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 be expected toprovide 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.
He has gotten off to a slow start this season, registering just 16 tacklesthrough three games.
Taylor Returns with a Vengeance
Linebacker Shannon Taylor sat out last season for personal reasons. But thelay-off hasn’t seemed to be a setback based on his performance so far thisseason.
He was recruited as a quarterback, but moved to linebacker shortly afterhis arrival in Charlottesville and has alternated between linebacker anddefensive end during his career. He lettered as a linebacker in 1996 and atdefensive end in 1997. A gifted athlete who excels at getting to thequarterback, he has been in on six sacks in his career.
He was one of the few defensive bright spots against Clemson two weeks ago.He tied his career high at the time with seven tackles against the Tigers,including two stops behind the line of scrimmage.
His career high for tackles didn’t last long, however because he followedthat with a 10-tackle performance against Wake Forest last Saturday. He hadtwo tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including his second sack of theseason.
Taylor is second on the team with 23 tackles (7.7/g), four behind leaderYubrenal Isabelle. His five tackles for loss and two quarterback sacks areteam-leading figures.
Ellis Hitting High Percentage
Quarterback Dan Ellis is starting to exhibit some of the qualities that ledhead coach George Welsh to comment that Ellis has picked up the offensefaster than anybody he’s ever had in the program.
The junior from Exton, Pa., got off to a slow start in the season openeragainst North Carolina, but still directed the Cavaliers down field to setup Todd Braverman’s game-winning field goal. Against the Tar Heels, Elliscompleted 10 of 25 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, but was picked offtwice.
He improved the next week against Clemson, throwing for a career-high 233yards and a touchdown. He also completed 19 of 33 throws (57.6 percent)despite facing constant pressure as the Tiger defense was able toconcentrate on stopping the pass with a 33-0 lead in the second half.
Ellis had the hot hand against Wake Forest in the home opener lastSaturday, completing 19 of 25 passes (76.0 percent) for 220 yards and atouchdown. His completion percentage is the second-highest total in schoolhistory for a performance of at least 25 attempts.
Ellis also did a good job of spreading the ball around, completing passesto nine different receivers.
After three games Ellis is completing 57.8 percent of his passes and isaveraging 206.0 yards per game.
UVa Defense Controls on First Down
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 has banded together and turned in fine efforts in leading theteam to two wins in the first three games of the season.
One of the factors in the defense’s ability to thwart the opponent is itsstinginess on first down.
In the season opener against North Carolina, the Tar Heels ran 28 plays onfirst down and only 10 went for more than three yards. Conversely, 12 playsgained one yard or less or resulted in an incomplete or intercepted pass.
Last week against Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons had 24 first down plays.They rushed 14 times for 14 yards and completed five of 10 passes foranother 54 yards. With so little production on first down, the Deacsfrequently found themselves in second-and-long situations.
Conversely, in the loss to Clemson when the Cavaliers played poorly onoffense and defense, the Tigers completed nine of 12 first down passes for66 yards and gained 60 yards rushing on 20 attempts.
Braverman, Greene Share Kicking Chores
For the second year in a row, the place-kicking duties this season aresplit 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 inscoring with 74 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 does the kicking off just as he didso capably a year ago. Last season in his first action, he did all thekicking off. In 59 kickoffs he had 14 touchbacks, while typically placingthe ball deep.
Building on a fine finish to last season, Greene has boomed 10 of 14kickoffs this season into the endzone, resulting in six touchbacks. Theopponents are averaging less than 20 yards per return against UVa’s kickoffcoverage team.
Braverman Redeems Himself Quickly
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 didn’tlet the contestants know the winner until the week of the North Carolinagame.
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.
His 50-yard victory kick vs. the Tar Heels is the longest game-winningfield goal in school history.
Braverman has made all nine extra points and and two of three field goalattempts this season. After missing the first extra point attempt of hiscareer (last season vs. Auburn), he has made 47 in a row in regular seasongames.
Virginia’s Secondary Remains Unsettled
Of prime concern to defensive coordinator Rick Lantz this season is theshape of the secondary. At first glance it looked as if the Cavaliers wouldbe set as three very experienced players return-Antwan Harris, Tim Spruilland Dwayne Stukes. But Harris has never played more than nine games in aregular season due to various injuries. Stukes’ 1998 season was marred byinjury and he was injured again during spring practice. But early-seasoninjuries to both have created problems for the secondary.
Against North Carolina in the opener, the three above were joined by ChrisWilliams in the starting line-up. But Stukes left the game late in thesecond quarter due to an injury which forced some rearrangements in thesecondary. Red-shirt freshman Shernard Newby saw a lot of action at safetyas Harris moved from safety 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.
Lauzon and Newby got the first starts of their careers the next weekagainst Clemson due to injuries to Harris and Stukes but Clemson’sno-huddle offense did an outstanding job of exploiting the Cavaliers’inexperience as Brandon Streeter passed for a Clemson record 343 yards.
True freshman Jerton Evans started at safety against Wake Forest, the firststart of his career. Harris returned to action, starting in place ofSpruill at cornerback as the juggling continued. For the second time thisseason Newby and Williams intercepted passes in the same game.
Scott Second in ACC in Punting
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. Scottwas outstanding 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.
This season Scott looks like he might threaten more records. He isaveraging 42.6 yards on 11 punts and ranks second in the ACC (25th in thenation). He has buried three punts inside the 20-yard line and has only onetouchback.
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 123-76-3 record atVirginia. Welsh has also won 77 ACC games, the most in league history.
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 against North Carolina. Thisis the most since 1997 when 11 players made their first start againstAuburn in the opener. Last season’s squad also had five first-time startersin the season opener. Three players got their first start vs. Clemson andone more got his first start against Wake Forest to push the season totalto nine first-time starters in just three games.
7-UVa head coach George Welsh is seventh among active Division I-A coachesin wins. He has won 178 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.
91.1-Wide receiver Kevin Coffey has been very productive with hisreceptions the last two seasons, converting 31 of his last 34 catches(91.1 percent) into either a first down or touchdown. This season he hasconverted 10 of 11 receptions into either a first down or touchdown.
780-Thomas Jones needs 780 yards rushing to break Tiki Barber’s UVa careerrushing record. Jones rushed for 149 yards against North Carolina, 97 vs.Clemson and 164 vs. Wake Forest and now has 2610 career yards. Barberrushed for 3389 yards in his career.