Cavaliers' Take On N.C. State
Oct. 11, 1999
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –
Virginia looks to halt a two-game losing streak in a Saturdaymatch-up against N.C. State at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C. Thegame is slated to begin at 3:30 p.m. The current two-game losing streak isthe Cavaliers’ first in the regular season since 1993. They lost aheartbreaker in overtime at home to Duke last Saturday by a 24-17 count.Virginia is in fourth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings witha 2-2 conference record and a 3-3 overall mark.
The Wolfpack gained a come-from-behind 35-31 win at home over Clemson lastSaturday for their first ACC win of the season. The Wolfpack, eighth in theconference standings, are 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the ACC.The Cavaliers and Wolfpack have engaged in some of the wildest finishesseen in the ACC this decade. Five of the last six meetings between the twoschools have gone right down to the wire and featured amazing comebacks byboth teams. Overall Virginia has won threee of the last four games in theseries, but have only won once in Raleigh (1995) in the last three tripsthere.
The game is being televised regionally by ABC. Terry Gannoncalls the play by play, while Mike Golic is the color analyst.
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 Player of the Year, provides the color commentary,while former UVa signal caller Mike Groh provides sideline analysis andconducts the postgame interviews.
The Series vs. the Wolfpack
N.C. State holds a 30-17-1 advantage in the series that dates back to thefirst meeting in 1904. The Wolfpack has won 13 of 20 games in Raleighthrough the years.
Under head coach George Welsh the Cavaliers are 11-6 against the Wolfpack,including a 5-3 record in Raleigh.The Wolfpack has won two of the last three meetings in Raleigh (34-29 in1993, 31-24 in 1997, UVa won 29-24 in 1995).
Fans have gotten their money’s worth seeing these two teams colliderecently. Five of the last six meetings between the two have gone down tothe wire, including the last three games in Raleigh.Last season Virginia scored 14 unanswered points in the second half to posta 23-13 comeback victory in Charlottesville. Cornerback Tim Spruill dashedthe Wolfpack’s hopes at victory with an interception late in the game thatled to a UVa insurance touchdown.
The Wolfpack used a 21-point second quarter to gain a 31-24 victory twoyears ago in Raleigh, the most recent game on State’s home field. TheCavaliers rallied to cut the score to 28-24 early in the fourth quarter,before quarterback Aaron Brooks left the game due to an injury. He wasreplaced by Dan Ellis, who had the wind knocked out of him a short timelater and Brooks was forced to reenter the contest. Brooks’ mobility washampered and Ellis returned for good once he recovered. Ellis threw acrucial interception midway through the fourth quarter that endedVirginia’s chance to win.
Among other close contests betwen the two teams recently are the Cavaliers’come-from-behind 29-24 win in Raleigh in 1995 and the 1994 game inCharlottesville that saw a Virginia drive die deep in Wolfpack territorylate in the game as State won 30-27. The Wolfpack gained a come-from-behind34-29 win in 1993 in Raleigh.The series has been played all over the calendar the last few years,alternating between September, October and November. This is the first timethe game has been played in the same month two years running since the1991-92 games were played in November. This is the 21st game played inOctober, one more than has occurred in November. Virginia is 7-12-1 inOctober against the Wolfpack.
Current Virginia linebackers coach David Turner was on the N.C. State stafffrom 1988-89 and 1995-96.Exciting Finishes Between These Two RecentlyThe Virginia/N.C. State rivalry has featured several wild finishes in thisdecade, with five of the last six meetings going right down to the wirefeaturing amazing comebacks by both teams.
Last season Virginia scored 14 unanswered points in the second half topost a 23-13 comeback victory in Charlottesville. Cornerback Tim Spruilldashed the Wolfpack’s hopes at victory with an interception late in thegame that led to a UVa insurance touchdown.
The Wolfpack used a 21-point second quarter to gain a 31-24 victory twoyears ago in Raleigh, dashing the Cavaliers’ bowl hopes in the process.The 1995 game in Raleigh saw the Cavaliers snap a three-game losing streakto the Wolfpack with a come-from-behind 29-24 win. Tiki Barber scored thewinning touchdown on a one-yard plunge with 13 seconds remaining. N.C.State’s Marc Primanti kicked a 31-yard field goal with 1:15 left to givethe Wolfpack the lead, but quarterback Mike Groh calmly led Virginia downthe field for the winning score.
The game in Charlottesville in 1994 saw a Virginia drive end deep inWolfpack territory late in the game as State won 30-27.The Wolfpack gained a come-from-behind 34-29 win in 1993 in Raleigh asUVa’s final drive in the game’s waning moments stalled deep in Stateterritory.
Slowing State’s Ground Game Leads to Wins
Virginia’s ability to contain the N.C. State rushing attack has been one ofthe factors enabling the Cavaliers to win five games against the Wolfpackthis decade.
In three of the Cavaliers’ victories over the Wolfpack in the 1990s,Virginia’s defense has held State under 100 yards rushing.During Virginia’s six-game winning streak against N.C. State from 1986-91,the Cavaliers relinquished an average of 75.6 yards rushing per game to theWolfpack.
Ray Robinson rushed for 202 yards last season as the ‘Pack piled up 211yards as a team on the ground. It wasn’t enough however as the Cavaliersposted a 23-13 win. That game marked the first time ever that the Wolfpackhad gained at least 200 yards on the ground and lost to Virginia. In factthat’s the only time since 1993 the Cavaliers have given up over 200 yardsrushing in a game and won.
In an odd twist, two of the longest runs ever against Virginia have comefrom Wolfpack freshmen ballcarriers. Tremayne Stephens ripped off an84-yard scoring run in 1994, while Robinson bolted 88 yards to paydirt lastseason. Interestingly, both runs occurred in Charlottesville.Here’s a look at N.C. State’s ground game against UVa this decade.
Year Att. Net Yds. Avg. 1990 33 48 1.5 01991 36 41 1.1 11992 37 186 5.0 11993 47 165 3.5 21994 34 140 4.1 11995 45 176 3.9 21996 35 81 2.3 01997 47 245 5.2 11998 36 211 5.9 1Total 350 1293 3.7 9
NCSU per game average since 1990 when UVa wins 37.0 111.4 3.0 0.8 NCSU per game average since 1990 when UVa loses 41.3 184.0 4.5 1.3
Grinding Out the Yards
Virginia has had at least one 100-yard rusher in six of the last sevengames against N.C. State dating back to 1992, but has lost four times.The Cavaliers had also gained at least 200 yards rushing in eightconsecutive games against N.C. State before being limited to just 92 yardsin 1997. They got back on track with 229 yards last season.On the other hand, the Wolfpack has gained more than 200 yards only twicesince 1981 (1997, ’98).
Thomas Jones rushed for a team-leading 117 yards last season, whileAntwoine Womack added another 109 yards.The 1993 game, a 34-29 N.C. State victory, saw a first in Virginia history.It was the first time the Cavaliers had two 100-yard rushers (Kevin Brooks,Jerrod Washington), a quarterback throw for 200 yards (Symmion Willis) anda 100-yard receiver (Patrick Jeffers) in the same game.
Looking for Elusive Fourth Win
The Cavaliers look to end a two-game losing streak Saturday against N.C.State. The two-game losing streak is their longest (not counting bowlgames) since late in the 1993 season (Clemson, Virginia Tech).Virginia hasn’t lost three games in a row in over a decade. In 1988 UVadropped games to Duke, Clemson and Louisville midway through the season.The combined total of those losses was nine points. Nonetheless, Virginiamanaged to regroup and finish 7-4 that season.
The 1988 season is also the last time Virginia stood at .500 or below thislate in the season. The Cavaliers were 2-4 after six games before embarkingon a five-game winning streak to end the season.
Coffey’s Production Falls Off Recently
Building upon a fine season last year, when he caught 23 passes (25.4 avg.)and a team-leading five touchdowns, wide receiver Kevin Coffey looked toturn in a big year this season.
Quarterback Dan Ellis made his first career start In the season openeragainst North Carolina and frequently looked Coffey’s way. Coffey caughtfour passes for 101 yards (his second career 100-yard game) and onetouchdown. In addition to his touchdown grab (a 32-yarder), his other threereceptions all went for first downs.
He had four catches for 48 yards and one touchdown the following weekagainst Clemson, but since then his numbers have fallen off dramatically.Coffey has caught just eight passes in the last four games, and isaveraging 11.1 yards per catch (well off his career average of 20.1 yards).His lone catch vs. Brigham Young three weeks ago was a 25-yard scoringreception as well as his last touchdown.
Against Virginia Tech, featuring one of the nation’s top defenses, hecaught two passes for just 20 yards, while in last Saturday’s overtime lossto Duke he had just two catches for 16 yards.
Kiddie Corps Get Pickoffs
Virginia has intercepted 10 passes this season, including seven by freshmensafeties.
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 in the secondgame of his brief college career and came back with two crucialinterceptions against Brigham Young to help lead UVa to the win.Evans’ first interception vs. the Cougars came in the first quarter and setup UVa’s third touchdown in a 21-point first quarter, while his second pickcame in the end zone with 1:37 to play in the game that ended BYU’s hopesfor a comeback win.Tim Spruill’s interception vs. BYU was the first by a cornerback and thefirst by a non-freshman for Virginia this season.Defensive tackle Maurice Anderson and cornerback Dwayne Stukes got theirfirst interceptions of the season last Saturday against Duke. For Andersonit was the first of his career, while Stukes’ occurred on his second playfrom scrimmage after missing the previous four games.Overall Virginia is tied for seventh in the nation in interceptions.Turnovers Add to Wahoos’ WoesUVa has been hampered in several games this season by turnovers (andpenalties at bad times, too).
The Cavaliers have compounded the turnovers with a double whammy-turnoversin the red zone and an inability to prevent scores after turnovers.Dan Ellis threw three interceptions in the opener against North Carolina,two coming inside the red zone (including one returned 89 yards for atouchdown).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.After having just two turnovers in the next three games, mistakes proved tobe the Cavaliers’ undoing in last Saturday’s overtime loss to Duke.
An Arlen Harris punt return for a touchdown early in the game was broughtback due to a penalty.On Duke’s next possession, Dwayne Stukes intercepted a pass to give UVa theball on Duke’s 44-yard line. Following a first down, Ellis had a passintercepted in the end zone to end that drive.Punter Donnie Scott was unable to handle a bad snap in his end zone andtried to pass. The pass was incomplete, giving Duke possession on the11-yard line. The Blue Devils scored a touchdown four plays later.Tim Spruill blocked a Duke punt to give the Cavaliers the ball at the Duke35-yard line. But Thomas Jones lost a fumble at the 12-yard line to killanother drive. Duke drove down field to kick a game-tying field goal.Virginia’s final possession of the game ended as Ellis threw his secondinterception of the day in the second overtime.
Of UVa’s 11 turnovers, seven have been turned into points by theopposition. Clemson scored two touchdowns and a field goal off UVa miscues,while the week before North Carolina’s defense scored on an interceptionreturn and scored its lone offensive touchdown following an interception.Brigham Young returned Ellis’ only interception for a touchdown three weeksago, while Duke scored a just one field goal off three UVa turnovers lastSaturday.Virginia has forced 13 turnovers this season (10 interceptions, threefumbles) and blocked one punt, but have scored just five touchdowns as aresult.
Greene Sends Kickoffs to the End Zone
For the second year in a row, David Greene is handling the kick-off dutiesfor the Cavaliers, while Todd Braverman is the kicker for field goals andextra points.
Greene possesses the stronger leg, which makes him the ideal kick-off man.
Last season in his first action, he did all the kicking off. In 59 kickoffshe had 14 touchbacks, while typically placing the ball deep.
Building on a fine finish to last season, Greene has boomed 22 of 28kickoffs this season into the endzone, resulting in 13 touchbacks. Theopponents are averaging 23.6 yards per return against UVa’s kickoffcoverage team.
Jones Shows Up Every Day
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.In his third year as the starting tailback, perhaps it’s important to alsonote his durability. A testament to his offseason work ethic, Jones has notmissed a game in his career, while starting the last 29 games.His streak of 29 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.)Just as amazing as his streak of consecutive starts is the fact that he hasnever missed so much as a practice during his career at Virginia.
Jones Fourth in Nation
Heisman Trophy candidate Thomas Jones is putting together one of the bestseasons in school history in 1999. He has rushed for 888 yards in six games(148.0 per game) and ranks fourth in the nation in rushing.His 888 yards are the second-most yards after six games in school history.Only John Papit (1040 in 1949) rushed for more yards after six games thanJones.Not surprisingly, Jones has been the game’s leading rusher in all sixVirginia games this season.He rushed 35 times for a career-high 210 yards and two touchdowns against17th-ranked Brigham Young on Sept. 25. It was the third 200-yard game ofhis career, tying an ACC record.Like many of his offensive mates, Jones had a rough day against VirginiaTech two weeks ago. He was held to a season-low 83 yards by the Hokies. Butthat was still far better than the Hokies’ average of 51.3 yards rushingper game coming into the contest.He got back on track last week against Duke, a team that he hadn’t donewell against in three previous games. Jones rushed for 185 yards and twotouchdowns on 31 carries vs. the Blue Devils.Jones’ 888 yards (through six games) is the third-best total after SEVENgames in school history.In addition to leading the ACC in rushing, Jones leads the ACC inall-purpose yards, rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns.Below is the list of the best performances through seven games in schoolhistory.
Player, year Yds thru 7 games1. John Papit, 1949 10402. Tiki Barber, 1996 909- Thomas Jones, 1999 888 (6 games)4. Terry Kirby, 1992 884 (only played 6 of first 10)5. Thomas Jones, 1998 860
Anderson Shows Experience on Defensive Line
As the oldest member of the defensive front, Maurice Anderson has used thewisdom that comes with age and experience to his advantage this season.He has turned in the best season of his career in 1999 despite a series ofnagging injuries that might sideline other players.
Throughout most of his career he has had to play behind more heraldedlinemen including Antonio Dingle, Patrick Kerney and Todd White, but thisseason he is showing what he can do.
Anderson began the year in fine fashion by leading Virginia in tackles forthe first time in his career with a career-high 10 stops vs. North Carolina.He turned in his second double-digit outing of the year last Saturdayagainst Duke with 10 tackles.
Adept at plugging the middle of the line, Anderson has made at least seventackles in five of six games this season.With two games of at least 10 tackles, he is the first UVa defensive tackleto have as many as two double-digit performances since Todd White had twoin 1995. He is also the first UVa defensive tackle to lead the team intackles in a game since White in 1994 and is the first Cavalier defensivetackle to lead twice in a season since at least 1989.Anderson is fourth on the team with 43 tackles. That is only one less thanDingle had last season to lead UVa’s defensive tackles.
Jones in ACC All-Time Top-20
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 is turning in another big year. He has rushed for888 yards, and has had four 100-yard performances. He rushed for acareer-high 210 yards vs. Brigham Young on Sept. 25.Jones now has 3088 career rushing yards, fourth in school history and 18thin ACC history.Jones’ place on the ACC and UVa all-time rushing lists is below.
ACC UVa Player, school Yds.12. 1. Tiki Barber, Virginia 338913. 2. Terry Kirby, Virginia 3348pre ACC 3. John Papit, Virginia 323814. Michael Ramseur, WFU 332515. Charlie Wysocki, Md. 331716. Kelvin Bryant, UNC 326717. Don McCauley, UNC 317218. 4. Thomas Jones, Virginia 3088
Jones Ties ACC Record with Three 200-Yard Games
Thomas Jones had a big night as the Cavaliers defeated Brigham Young 45-40in a shootout in Provo, Utah.Jones ran roughshod through a Cougar defense that was seventh in the nationin rushing defense, relinquishing just 55.0 yards per game.He carried 35 times, tying his career high, for 210 yards and twotouchdowns against a defense designed to stop him. It is typical to seeteams put eight or more men in the box in an effort to contain the slipperyJones and BYU was no different.
In addition to establishing a new career high, the 210 yards is tied forthe seventh-best mark in school history.He also joined John Papit as the only players in school history with three200-yard games in a career and added his name to a list of four other ACCplayers with three 200-yard games. The other ACC players to compile three200-yard efforts are three North Carolina players (Amos Lawrence, NatroneMeans and Mike Voight) and Maryland’s Charlie Wysocki.Virginia’s Heisman Trophy candidate from Big Stone Gap, Va., is fourth inthe nation in rushing, averaging 148.0 yards per game.
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 179 games in a 27-year career at Navy (1973-81) and Virginia(1982-present), tied for 28th in NCAA Division I-A history.His overall career record is 179-124-4 (.590).The dean of ACC coaches, Welsh is the only coach in league history to winat least 100 games. He has a 124-78-3 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) 313 wins2. Bobby Bowden, Fla. State (34) 2983. LaVell Edwards, BYU (28) 2474. Lou Holtz, So. Carolina (28) 2165. Don Nehlen, West Va. (29) 1926. John Cooper, Ohio State (23) 1827. George Welsh, UVa (27) 179
Ten Make First Start This Season
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 againstWake Forest pushing the total to nine players who have made their startingdebuts this season.
William Clark replaced Yubrenal Isabelle in the starting line-up againstVirginia Tech, making him the 10th player to receive his first career startthis season.Of the Cavaliers’ 22 starters, 10 players have started fewer than 10 gamesin their careers. Only Thomas Jones and Byron Thweatt (29), Noel LaMontagne(26) and the injured Travis Griffith (20) have as many as 20 career starts.
Isabelle Reaches Double Digits Four Times
Junior 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 last month. The 14tackles is a career high, topping the eight he had against Florida State asa freshman two years ago.He paced the team against with 10 tackles against Wake Forest as Virginiaheld Morgan Kane, the nation’s leading rusher coming into the game, to just65 yards.
Putting up Rainer-like numbers, Isabelle’s 14 stops vs Brigham Young ledthe team for the third week in a row.He did not play against Virginia Tech due to the death of his mother,Deberah, but returned vs. Duke to lead the team once again with 10 tackles.A very smart player who is still learning on the job, Isabelle leads theteam with 51 tackles despite missing the Virginia Tech game.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 10BYU 7 7 14 hurryVa. Tech DNPDuke 5 5 10 QBS, hurry, PBU
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.Virginia features one of the nation’s top running backs in Thomas Jones.Jones has rushed for 888 yards this season (148.0/g), fourth in the nation,after leading the ACC by almost 400 yards last season with 1303 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 experienced lineman with 26 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 and is considered by Welsh the most improvedplayer on the offensive line.
Braverman Boots 50-Yard WinnerPlace-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 this preseason and he wasn’tannounced as the kicker for this season until the week of the NorthCarolina game.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 victorykick vs. the Tar Heels is the longest game-winning field goal in schoolhistory.He has made all 18 extra points and and four of seven field goal attemptsthis season. After missing the first extra point attempt of his career(last season vs. Auburn), he has made 56 in a row in regular season games,the longest streak since Jake McInerney made a school-record 88 PATs from1989-90.
Welsh Goes for Another ACC Record
Virginia head coach George Welsh attempts to become the all-time winningestACC road game coach in league history this Saturday when his Cavaliersinvade N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium.Welsh is 32-30-2 against league foes away from Scott Stadium, including a25-14-1 mark over the last 40 games.A list of the winningest coaches in ACC road games is below.
Coach, School, Years ACC Road Wins1. George Welsh, UVa (1982-pres.) 32 Frank Howard, Clemson (1953-69) 323. Earle Edwards, N.C. State (1954-70) 284. Bill Dooley, UNC & WFU (1967-77, 87-92) 265. Bobby Bowden, Florida State (1992-pres.) 23
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 this season.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 seven sacks in his career.He was one of the few defensive bright spots against Clemson last month. Hetied his career high at the time with seven tackles (since broken) againstthe 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. He had two tacklesbehind the line of scrimmage, including his second sack of the season.The big plays for Taylor continued against Brigham Young as he turned ineight tackles, including two more tackles behind the line. That marked thethird game in a row Taylor had two tackles for loss.Taylor is fourth on the team with 41 tackles (6.8/g), and leads the teamwith six tackles for loss. He is also tied with Maurice Anderson andLjubomir Stamenich for the team lead with three sacks.
Ellis Learning as He Goes
Not surprisingly, Dan Ellis had been up and down this season as he adjuststo his role as the starting quarterback.He got off to a slow start in the season opener against North Carolina,completing 10 of 25 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, but was pickedoff twice.He threw for a career-high 233 yards and a touchdown the next week againstClemson 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, completing19 of 25 passes (76.0 percent) for 220 yards and a touchdown, while doing agood job of spreading the ball around, completing passes to nine differentreceivers.Against Brigham Young, he completed 14 of 18 passes for 190 yards and threetouchdowns to lead the Cavaliers to a 45-40 win.He completed 16 of 26 passes for 162 yards against Virginia Tech. Just asimportantly he did not throw an interception despite being under constantpressure.He wasn’t as sharp last week against Duke, however, passing for just 164yards and throwing two interceptions.