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Nov. 2, 2005

The players appeared loose, like the vacation did them some good.

Defensive tackle Brennan Schmidt joked about his Halloween costume. Quarterback Marques Hagans laughed when asked about his hamstrings.

Coach Al Groh let it be known that this is the month for college football to be fun. And the Temple game is critical.

“It’s always going to be that way every November,” Groh told the assembled media on Tuesday. “That’s the reality of it. It’s fun, exciting, and when seasons are made. Unless you are 1 and 8, and really have nothing to play for, the month can be magical.”

The players bought into it.

During the open week when for a couple days recruiting was the priority, coach Groh managed to erase, what he called a `dark mood’, following the North Carolina loss. There was no need to look back, no need to replay all the possibilities and missed opportunities. It was time to think about November. To self-scout, re-evaluate, and think about wide receiver double passes and hook and ladders.

It is time to prove a couple things.

“This open date was very worthwhile,” Groh said. “We were able to look at a lot of things. We know we have to be able to do more in all phases, like toss sweeps and stretch plays.” Our guys are tuned in.”

Schmidt, who is on his way to a Virginia record for consecutive starts (50), and will tie Mike Frederick this Saturday for 47 games in a row along the defensive line, has been through the November heat.

“It changes from year to year,” Brennan said. “It depends on the team, the situation, what the games mean, all of that, but one thing is certain, November is November.”

“As far as the record, yeah…it means something. Normally records don’t mean that much but this one does. I want to be able to tell my grandkids that I was pretty durable and showed up every Saturday, no matter what the injury.”

The other burning question, and I use that word loosely…is the status of Hagans’ hamstring injury that appeared to hamper him and the Virginia offense on Tobacco Road.

“Really, it’s fine,” Hagans told the television reporters. “I’m 110% and ready to go.”

There is no mystery to what Hagans means to the Cavaliers’ offense, and potential season ending flurry. If Marques goes, so goes the offense and the way the coaching staff has drawn up the X’s and O’s.

Biscuit, and the offensive line.

“For us to play the kind of ball we want to play in November, our offensive line has to be better,” Groh said. “But you know what, we all have to better, from the top down. You just can’t flip a switch. Our concerns are on proficiency and continuity.”

“Temple is our focus. We don’t take anything else into consideration,” Groh said. “I didn’t have to give our guys a history lesson. They’ve been there before.”

Welcome to November. The “Hoos are there again.


Temple enters the game 0-9, and has lost the last five games by a total of 20 to 38. Maryland, Miami, and Clemson scored 38, 34, and 37 points respectively.

The Owls become the first winless team to play in Charlottesville this late in the season since Buffalo came to town with a 0-7 record in 1999.

Under Groh, Virginia is 7-2 following a bye week.

With 10 more completions, Hagans will move past Mike Groh into fifth place all time, on the UVA completion list. (329)

Kicker Connor Hughes now carries two records of note. The 59th field goal of his career came at North Carolina, a school best, and he now has 294 points, passing Gene Mayer, a mark that stood for over 90 years.

Linebacker Kai Parham needs just three sacks and he will tie Darryl Blackstock’s 2004 single season mark of 11. Parham is currently tied for the ACC lead, and is tied for fifth in the nation in sacks…second among linebackers.

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