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Oct. 31, 2006

Following a three-game homestand that saw them go 2-1, the Cavaliers return to the road to face Florida State in Tallahassee on Saturday. The game is scheduled to kick off at noon and will be televised on the Lincoln Financial Sports/Raycom ACC football network.

This is the first time in 14 years the Cavaliers, who don’t get their bye week until next week, have played 10 straight weeks.

Virginia enters the crucial month of the season–the third phase–with a 4-5 record, including a 3-2 mark in ACC play. The Cavaliers are tied with Virginia Tech for second place in the Coastal Division. They need to win two of the remaining three games to be bowl eligible for the fifth year in a row. UVa has won at least two games in November each season since 2002, Al Groh’s second year at UVa.

The Cavaliers are improving each week as redshirt freshman quarterback Jameel Sewell gets more experience. His progress has certainly been helped by an offensive line that is growing along with him. The running game, led by Jason Snelling, has been very effective lately. During the last five games, that feature three wins, Virginia is averaging 151.8 rushing yards per game. Snelling has averaged more than 100 yards per game during this stretch, while accounting for 65.8 percent of Virginia’s rushing total this season.

The defense is ranked 21st in the country and has kept the Cavaliers in virtually every game this season. They have allowed only one touchdown in the last two games to help the team to its current two-game winning streak.Quarterbacks are judged by their “pelts” according to Groh and Sewell certainly earned one after guiding the Cavaliers on their nine-play, 80-yard drive game-winning touchdown with 1:31 remaining on the clock in last Saturday’s 14-7 win over NC State.

Florida State finds itself in unfamiliar territory. The Seminoles are currently last in the Atlantic Division with a 2-4 conference record. Overall they are 4-4, their worst record at this stage of the season since 1976, Bobby Bowden’s first in Tallahassee. Since losing to Virginia for their first loss last season, the Seminoles have lost seven of their last 11 ACC contests.

This is the first time the Seminoles have come into this game with a losing record. In fact, in the previous 13 meetings they had combined for only seven losses. With so much success through the years, it’s not surprising that they have been undefeated eight times when playing Virginia. The Seminoles are unranked for the game, the first time they have been unranked in series history. The only other time they were ranked lower than seventh occurred in 2001 when they were 21st.

Virginia has a losing record for only the second time in series history. The Cavaliers were 0-1 in 2002.

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