Cavs Look To Make It 17 Straight Over Demon Deacons

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM Head coach George Welsh has led UVa to 17 wins over Wake Forest - the most victories he has recorded over one opponent while at Virginia.
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Head coach George Welsh has led UVa to 17 wins over Wake Forest - the most victories he has recorded over one opponent while at Virginia.
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

Sept. 25, 2000

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Virginia (2-2, 1-1) at Wake Forest (0-3, 0-2)

Sept. 30, 2000
6:30 p.m. (no TV)
Groves Stadium
Winston-Salem, N.C.

Updated Depth Chart

Virginia looks to extend its winning streak to 17 games against Wake Forest, a team the Cavaliers have dominated since the mid-1980s. The Cavaliers come into Saturday's game with a 2-2 overall record and a 1-1 conference mark following last week's 31-10 loss to Clemson. Wake Forest is looking for its first win of the season. The Demon Deacons, who were off last week, are 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the ACC.

The Cavaliers have a 14-4 record on the Demon Deacons' home field, including a 12-2 mark at Groves Stadium in Winston-Salem. Virginia hasn't lost in Winston-Salem since a 38-34 decision in 1983 (which also stands as Wake Forest's most recent series victory).

Virginia's 16-game winning streak against Wake Forest is the longest current winning streak by one ACC team over another and tied for the second-longest streak in league history.

This game will not be televised, which might be a good thing for Virginia. Since 1989 the Cavaliers have played 45 non-televised games and have won 43.

Radio: All UVa games are heard on the Virginia Sports Network originating at WINA/WWWV in Charlottesville. Mac McDonald calls the play by play. Frank Quayle, the 1968 ACC Football Player of the Year, provides the color commentary, while Quayle's former teammate and quarterback Gene Arnette provides sideline analysis.

The Series vs. the Demon Deacons

Virginia leads the all-time series 30-11. The Cavaliers have won the last 16 games between the two schools, the longest current winning streak by one ACC team over another and tied for the second-longest streak in ACC history. The Demon Deacons are also the only ACC team with which Virginia leads the all-time series.

The Cavaliers have a 14-4 record on the Deacs' home fields, including a 12-2 mark at Groves Stadium in Winston-Salem. The Cavaliers haven't lost in Winston-Salem since a 38-34 decision in 1983 (which stands as Wake Forest's most recent series victory).

UVa has outscored Wake Forest 409-142 in the last 11 meetings. The Cavaliers have averaged 37.2 points per game during that stretch.

During their current 16-game winning streak over the Demon Deacons, the Cavaliers have won by an average of 20.3 points, while averaging 34.8 points and 470.6 yards of offense per game (242.6 rushing, 228.0 passing) over the last 16 matchups. Virginia has scored at least 21 consecutive points against Wake Forest six times since 1990?1990 (40), 1991 (41), 1994 (35), 1995 (21), 1996 (42) and 1999 (28).

UVa Offense Productive Against Wake Forest

Since George Welsh's arrival on the UVa Grounds in 1982, the Cavaliers have rolled up 500+ yards of total offense in 32 games. Prior to Welsh, Virginia had only seven such games. Of the 32 games under Welsh in which UVa has gained at least 500 yards of total offense, nine have come against Wake Forest. The most impressive output was a 643-yard performance in 1982. In that game, Virginia gained 323 yards on the ground and 320 yards through the air en route to a 34-27 win. That performance is the fourth-highest for total offense in school history. It is also the only game in Virginia history where the Cavaliers gained 300 yards both rushing and passing. Three of the seven highest games in school history in terms of total offense have come against the Demon Deacons under Welsh.

Cavaliers Have Won 16 Straight vs. Wake Forest

The series between Virginia and Wake Forest was close for a time, but the current 16-game winning streak has enabled the Cavaliers to take a decided edge.

The Cavaliers now own a 30-11 series advantage. Virginia's 16 consecutive wins is the longest current winning streak by one Atlantic Coast Conference team over another and is tied for the second-longest all-time winning streak in an ACC series. A look at the longest winning streaks in an ACC series is below.

The TeamsStreakDates
1.Clemson over Virginia291955-89
2.Virginia over Wake Forest161984-pres.
Maryland over Virginia161972-87

Cavaliers Pile Up the Offense Against Deacs

The Cavaliers have displayed some impressive offensive performances against Wake Forest during head coach George Welsh's career at Virginia. The Cavaliers have scored 30 or more points in 12 of the last 14 meetings against the Demon Deacons.

A look at Virginia's current 16-game winning streak over Wake Forest shows that the Cavaliers are averaging 34.8 points and 470.6 yards of total offense per game. Virginia has ground out an average of 242.6 yards rushing and passed for an average of 228.0 yards per game over the last 16 matchups.

Cavalier Rushers Do Well vs. Demon Deacons

In 15 of the last 20 games against Wake Forest dating back to 1980, Virginia has had at least one player rush for 100 yards. In 1980, 1984 and 1990, two Cavaliers had 100-yard games.

There have been 23 Cavaliers since 1954 that have run for at least 100 yards against Wake Forest, the most by UVa against any ACC team. Terry Kirby gained a career high 214 yards rushing against the Deacons in 1992, the most by a Cavalier against Wake Forest.

Virginia Likes the Old North State

George Welsh's Cavalier squads have fared well in North Carolina since 1982. Welsh has guided Virginia to a 23-13-1 (.635) record, including a 5-1 mark in night games, in the neighboring state to the south in the last 18 years.

Overall Virginia has won its last five games played in North Carolina dating back to the 1998 season.

UVa Contains Deacs Rushing Attack

While the Virginia offense has posted some impressive rushing numbers, the Cavalier defense has done an outstanding job of bottling up the Wake Forest ground game since Rick Lantz became UVa's defensive coordinator in 1991.

In the last six games with Virginia, Wake Forest has failed to rush for more than 80 yards, while averaging just 0.7 yards per carry (114 net yards on 166 carries). Wake's only rushing touchdown since 1994 occurred in the 1995 game.

No Deacon ballcarrier has rushed for at least 100 yards against UVa since Topper Clemons gained 126 in 1985. Here's a look at Wake Forest's ground game against UVa since Rick Lantz joined the UVa staff as defensive coordinator in 1991.

More Tidbits on the Series with Wake Forest

One of the contributing factors in the Cavaliers' run of success against Wake Forest has been their ability to score early and often. The Cavaliers have outscored the Deacs 117-20 in the first quarter since 1984, while their early scoring opportunities are shown on the chart in the next column.

Also during the winning streak, Virginia has scored first 13 times (and Wake three times). Once the Cavaliers have scored first during the winning streak they have managed to maintain the lead the rest of the way every time. The 1991 game is the only game where Wake Forest was able to tie the game after UVa had scored first. Virginia's 21-13 win in 1997 is the slimmest victory margin since 1986 when the Cavaliers won by two points (30-28).

The Cavaliers have scored 30 or more points in 12 of the last 14 meetings against the Demon Deacons and have won all 10 games when Wake Forest scores fewer than 10 points. Since 1987, there have been six games decided by less than 20 points and five have been in Charlottesville.

Head coach George Welsh has led UVa to 17 wins over Wake Forest. That is the most victories he has recorded over one opponent while at Virginia.

In a curious twist, it seems as if the Cavaliers have fared better against the Deacs in Winston-Salem than Charlottesville over the last 14 years.

Virginia has scored at least 30 points in the last seven meetings in Winston-Salem dating back to 1986, while failing to score more than 21 points in two of the last four games in Charlottesville.

Also in the last eight games in Charlottesville, Virginia has won by more than 20 points only twice, while in Winston-Salem the Cavaliers have won by at least 20 points in five of the last six meetings.

Production on the First Drive vs. WFU

One of the contributing factors in the Cavaliers' recent run of success against Wake Forest has been their ability to score early. Virginia has scored on its first drive of the game against Wake Forest two of the last four years (and eight of the last 12) in posting a 16-game winning streak over the Demon Deacons.

The only times since 1987 that Virginia did not score on its first drive occurred in 1993-94, and 1997-99. The Cavaliers' performance on their first drive against Wake Forest in the last 13 meetings is outlined below.

Virginia Lights Up Scoreboard vs. Wake Forest

During Virginia's current 16-game winning streak over the Demon Deacons, the Cavaliers have outscored Wake Forest 556-232. Virginia has been most prolific in the second quarter with 198 points.

A look at the score by quarter is below.

1st2nd3rd4thFinal
UVa117198107134556
WFU20843890232

Virginia has scored at least 21 consecutive points against Wake Forest six times since 1990?1990 (40), 1991 (41), 1994 (35), 1995 (21), 1996 (42), 1999 (21).

The Cavaliers have also demonstrated an ability to score early and keep the lead against Wake Forest. Virginia has scored on its first possession in eight of the last 13 games dating back to 1987.

Also during the winning streak, Virginia has scored first 13 times (and Wake three times). Once the Cavaliers have scored first during the winning streak, the game has been tied only once (in 1991).

The last 16 games broken down by time of lead is listed below.

TimePercent of Total
WFU lead88:11(9.2%)
Tie score129:35(13.5%)
UVa lead742:14(77.3%)
total960:00100%

Another Road Night Game in Tar Heel State

The Wake Forest game is Virginia's second night game of the season in North Carolina.

Two weeks ago the Cavaliers downed Duke 26-10 in a night contest in Durham.

Night games on enemy turf have been good for George Welsh's Cavaliers throughout the years. Since 1982, Virginia is 11-5 when playing in night road games and has won nine straight. The last time UVa lost a night road game was a Thursday night loss at Georgia Tech in 1991.

In addition Virginia is 5-1 in night games in North Carolina under Welsh.

For our purposes, games played on neutral sites (i.e. bowl games) are not taken into consideration.

No Television Coverage for Third Time

With the proliferation of games on television, it is unusual that Saturday's game against Wake Forest is not being televised. Even more unusual is that this is the third time this season that Virginia's game isn't being televised.

The last time Virginia has as many games that weren't televised was in 1995 when four games were not on television (William & Mary, N.C. State, Georgia Tech, Duke - all wins).

Nonetheless, not having the game televised has proven to be a good thing for Virginia. Since 1989 the Cavaliers have played 45 non-televised games and have won 43, including both so far this season (Richmond, Duke).

UVa in Elite Company

Virginia is one of only four Division I-A programs in the country which has posted at least 13 consecutive seasons of seven or more wins.

UVa joins Florida State as the only other Atlantic Coast Conference team to accomplish that feat. The other two schools are Nebraska from the Big 12 and Big Ten power Michigan.

Ellis Moves Up UVa Passing Charts

Quarterback Dan Ellis used a torrid late-season run last season to finish eighth in the country in passing efficiency.

He hasn't seemed to let the offseason slow him down. In fact, he's done even better.

Through the first four games of the season he has completed 57.5 percent of his passes for 1019 yards and five touchdowns.

Ellis has frequently made the opposition pay this season for concentrating on stopping the run.

Three weeks ago against Richmond he completed 19 of 28 attempts for 299 yards and a score.

Duke put good pressure on Ellis in UVa's last road game but he was undeterred by the Blue Devils with 20 completions in 30 attempts for 333 yards and three touchdowns.

Ellis has moved very quickly up several of Virginia's all-time passing charts during the early part of the season. He has thrown 26 career touchdown passes, fifth in school history. He has also thrown for 3351 yards, seventh in school history. His place on the career yards passing and career touchdown passes lists is shown below.

Five Cavaliers Return as Graduate Students

Five members of Virginia's 2000 football team are expected to participate this fall as graduate students. The group includes: offensive tackle Brad Barnes, wide receiver Kevin Coffey, center Dustin Keith, linebacker Byron Thweatt and fullback Patrick Washington.

Barnes and Keith received their undergraduate degrees in sociology, while Coffey and Thweatt earned their degrees in history and Washington in economics.

The UVa program has had approximately 70 players participate as graduate students over the past 11 seasons.

Womack Joins 1,000-Yard Club

Junior tailback Antwoine Womack didn't seem to be affected by a year away from the game based on his performance in the season opener against Brigham Young.

In his first game since 1998, Womack erupted for a career-high 160 yards on just 15 carries. He scored twice, including a 67-yard jaunt early in the fourth quarter.

The game was the fifth 100-yard game of his career as he became the 33rd player in school history to top the 1000-yard mark for his career. He is currently tied with Gerry Furst for 27th on UVa's career rushing list.

Womack hasn't been able to top his performance of the BYU game, but he has led the team in rushing in the last two contests, including an 80-yard outing against Clemson last Saturday.

Thweatt is Rare Four-Year Starter

All-America candidate linebacker Byron Thweatt looks like he's put last season's injury plagued campaign behind him.

Hampered with an injured shoulder in 1999 that limited his effectiveness, Thweatt's value to the team became evident when he wasn't able to take a break.

Currently the team's leading tackler with an average of 12.8 tackles per game, Thweatt is 10th in school history with 313 tackles and has a good shot at completing his career in the top five now that he's back in good health.

With 39 consecutive starts under his bet, It is also interesting to note that he is just the fifth linebacker in school history to be a four-year starter since freshman eligibility was restored in 1972. The short list currently includes Bryan Hollomon, Charles McDaniel, Jamie Sharper and Russ Swan.

The list of players who have been four-year starters at Virginia for George Welsh include WRs Demetrius "Pete" Allen and Tyrone Davis, Ps Will Brice and Jeff Walker, OG Roy Brown, DT Ron Carey, OT Jim Dombrowski, DEs Mike Frederick and Chris Slade, Ss Tyrone Lewis and Keith McMeans, LBs McDaniel, Sharper and Swan, and C Tim Morris.

Thweatt Named to Butkus Award List

Linebacker Byron Thweatt is among 70 players named to the initial list of candidates for the 2000 Butkus Award, presented annually to the nation's outstanding linebacker by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando (Fla.).

This marks the third year in a row Thweatt has been named to the list.

The list will be trimmed to 10 semifinalists on Oct. 19 and the three finalists will be announced on Nov. 9. The winner of the Butkus Award will be announced on Dec. 8.

He has been listed as one of the top outside linebackers in the country this season and his play this season will go a long way in determining the Cavaliers' success. He is rated as the #5 outside linebacker in the nation by Lindy's , #10 by Rivals.com and #14 by The Sporting News.

Perhaps most noteworthy is that Rivals.com listed him as the 27th-best defensive player in the nation regardless of position.

Thweatt has been in on 313 tackles in his career, second among active ACC players and 10th in school history. He is only the fifth linebacker in school history to be a four-year starter.

Ward Sees First Action, Adds Name to Rookie List

Tailback Jonathan Ward rushed for 33 yards against Duke two weeks ago in his collegiate debut and is the eighth true freshman to play for UVa this season.

Linebacker Rich Bedesem (saw first action from scrimmage vs. Richmond), defensive tackle Andrew Hoffman, defensive end Raymond Mann and cornerback Art Thomas all saw action in the opener vs. Brigham Young. Cornerback Almondo Curry, wide receiver Michael McGrew and safety Jamaine Winborne saw their first action the next week against Richmond.

The eight true freshmen to play this season represent Virginia's largest group since 1983 when 10 rookies played.

Tailback Quartet Replaces Jones

Thomas Jones finished his career last season as UVa's all-time leading rusher. Not surprisingly, his loss figured to leave a rather large void in the offense this season.

However, as expected throughout the preseason it looks as if a committee at least three - Arlen Harris, Antwoine Womack, Tyree Foreman - will serve as his replacement. A knee injury to Harris has placed true freshman Jonathan Ward into the mix as well.

If their performance in the season opener against Brigham Young is an indicator, this trio looks ready to pick up where Jones left off. Against the Cougars they combined for 37 carries, 263 yards (7.1 avg.) and four touchdowns. Just as important to know is that these three only had one carry for a loss (of just one yard).

Harris gained the starting nod for the opener and rushed for a career-high 79 yards on 18 carries. He scored the first touchdown of his career on a 28-yard bolt up the middle for UVa's first score. He also caught a 17-yard pass from Dan Ellis late in the game.

Womack was the game's leading rusher with a career-high 160 yards on just 15 carries. Womack scored two touchdowns, including one on a 67-yard gallop, against BYU for the first multi-touchdown performance of his career.

Foreman rushed for 24 yards and a touchdown on just four carries to complete the triumvirate's performance.

Harris injured his knee vs. BYU and underwent arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 8 and is expected to be out for several more weeks.

Ward, a high school All-American from Poway, Calif., saw his first action two weeks ago against Duke with 33 yards on just seven carries.

Womack is UVa's leading ground gainer with 333 yards. He is second in the ACC in rushing, averaging 83.2 ypg.

Overall Virginia is second in the ACC in rushing with an average of 151.8 ypg.

Welsh Seventh Among Active Wins Leaders

Head coach George Welsh, tabbed by The Sporting News as the nation's best coach two years ago, is seventh in wins among active Division I-A coaches.

In his 28th season as a collegiate head coach, Welsh has won 185 games at Navy (1973-81) and Virginia (1982-present), and is tied with John Heisman (of trophy fame) and former Pitt and Tennessee coach Johnny Majors for 23rd in NCAA Division I-A history.

Welsh is the winningest coach in the history of both UVa and Navy. The legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant (Alabama, Kentucky) and Arizona's Dick Toomey (Arizona, Hawaii) are the only other coaches to be the winningest coach at two different schools.

Welsh's overall career record is 185-128-4 (.590).

The dean of ACC coaches, Welsh is the only coach in league history to win at least 100 games. He has a 130-82-3 record in 19 seasons at Virginia. His 81 wins in ACC games is also a record.

Virginia's Secondary is Very Young

Of prime concern to the coaching staff this season has been the shape of the secondary. With just one returning starter - sophomore safety Jerton Evans - things look dicey at first glance for Virginia's last line of defense.

In the opener vs. Brigham Young, the corners were manned by seniors Ahmad Hawkins and Tim Spruill.

No stranger to defensive backs, Hawkins switched from wide receiver to cornerback in the spring. His knowledge of playing wide receiver certainly gives him some insight into the mind of receivers.

Spruill was a starter two years ago and started six games last season in what proved to be an up-and-down campaign. Still he's the team's most experienced defensive back who brings leadership and stability to the secondary.

Spruill suffered a toe injury against BYU, forcing sophomore Rashad Roberson into the starting line-up for the Richmond and Duke games, but returned last week vs. Clemson.

Evans, a freshman All-American last fall, started the final 10 games of the season and led the team with four interceptions. Despite being just a second-year player, he is the most experienced safety on the roster.

Sophomore Shernard Newby has started at the other safety spot throughout this season. He played in every game last season as a redshirt freshman with two starts.

Among the reserves only junior safety Devon Simmons had any collegiate experience prior to this season. He was a key reserve two years ago, but did not play last season for personal reasons.

True freshman Jamaine Winborne is the only other safety to see action this season.

True freshmen Almondo Curry and Art Thomas are listed among the top back-ups at cornerback, along with whoever doesn't start among Roberson and Spruill.

Offensive Line Replaces Two All-Americans

Last season consensus All-American tailback Thomas Jones had the luxury of running behind one of the best offensive lines in school history. But this season, Arlen Harris, Antwoine Womack, Tyree Foreman and Dan Ellis will not have the benefit of All-Americans Noel LaMontagne and John St. Clair, who graduated and moved on to the NFL.

Nonetheless, the line is a strength for this year's offense once again. Right tackle Brad Barnes headlines the returnees. Named the team's most improved player last season, he is considered among the top tackles in the ACC.

Left tackle Jermese Jones, the team's biggest player, missed last season due to injury, but he has unlimited potential. He made the first start of his career against Brigham Young and if he can remain healthy, his presence will be a boost for the line.

Fifth-year player Dustin Keith has moved into the center spot vacated by St. Clair. He spent the last two years at tackle, but was moved to center in the spring (after spending a brief amount of time at defensive tackle).

Evan Routzahn returns to the right guard spot next to Barnes. An underrated performer, Routzahn is a powerful blocker who rarely comes out of the game.

Junior Jared Woodson, a local product from Western Albemarle High School, has experience at both guard (four starts last season) and center. He started at left guard in the first three games of the season, but was unable to play against Clemson due to a neck injury.

Despite being hampered by back problems, Lawson is one of the line's most versatile and significant performers. serves as a back-up to Jones at tackle and Woodson at guard, but can start at either spot (like he did vs. Clemson). In fact, he had been the starter at left tackle the two previous seasons.

Thweatt Third in Nation in Tackling

All-America candidate Byron Thweatt seems to have put last season's disappointments behind him. Plagued last year by a shoulder injury that limited his effectiveness and caused him to play basically with one arm, Thweatt has returned with a vengeance and looks like he's prepared to turn in a career year.

Through the first four weeks of the season he is averaging 12.8 stops per game and will no doubt be ranked among the nation leaders when defensive statistics become available later in the week. (He was third last week.)

Thweatt began the year by tying his then career high with 13 tackles against Brigham Young. It was his first 10-tackle effort since late in the 1998 season.

Thweatt topped the BYU performance against Richmond by recording a another career-high with 14 tackles, including 10 solo stops.

His career high for tackles lasted just a week once again as he led the team in tackles with 15 in the win over Duke and was named the ACC Defensive Back of the Week for the first time this season.

He didn't top his career high against Clemson, but did lead the team with nine tackles.

Receiving Corps is Deep and Experienced

The strongest unit on the offense this season is likely the receiving corps led by senior Kevin Coffey, sophomore Billy McMullen and tight end Billy Baber.

Coffey and McMullen tied for the team lead with 28 receptions last year, while McMullen's 483 yards paced the team. In fact, McMullen set a school record for most receptions by a freshman. Coffey hauled in seven scoring tosses, while McMullen had six.

McMullen is the team's leading receiver once again with 20 catches for 347 yards and two touchdowns. Coffey has caught just 11 passes (for 127 yards and a TD), but has extended his streak to 27 consecutive games with a reception.

Joining them are senior Demetrius Dotson, sophomores James Johnson and Tavon Mason and true freshman Michael McGrew.

Dotson was putting together a fine season last year until he injured his knee in the season's sixth game and missed the rest of the season. While healthy he caught 11 passes and averaged nearly 20 yards per catch.

In what might be the best performance of his career, the Staten Island, N.Y., native gained a career-high 99 yards on four receptions. Two of his receptions were magnificent diving grabs, including a 42-yarder and a 35-yarder. He scored the first touchdown of his career on a eight-yard play late in the first half against Duke.

Johnson showed promise as a true freshman two years ago, playing in 10 regular season games, but he missed last season and was red-shirted. He caught two passes in his return vs. BYU. He electrified the crowd by out-leaping a Richmond defender to snatch a pass and scoot 50 yards for the first touchdown of his career. He also returned a punt 61 yards, but the return was nullified by a penalty.

Mason, one of the team's fastest players, caught 12 passes last fall as a primary back-up. He has caught two passes this season.

The tight end position is also strong with Baber, a senior, and junior Chris Luzar seeing the most significant action.

Baber has been a spot starter throughout his career behind the oft-injured Casey Crawford. He caught 17 passes, including four for touchdowns, the most by a UVa tight end since 1994 and has 43 career receptions.

Luzar has been hampered by an injury throughout much of the preseason practice period. A very tall target (6-7) who caught eight passes in 1999, he teams with Baber to give the Cavaliers a talented duo of tight ends.

Lanky McMullen is Big Target

Billy McMullen was a forgotten man in the season-opening loss to Brigham Young, catching just one 26-yard pass.

It didn't take quarterback Dan Ellis long to remember one of his favorite receivers from a year ago, though. At 6-4, McMullen frequently uses his height advantage to out-jump smaller defensive backs.

In the win over Richmond earlier this month, McMullen was the team's leading receiver with six catches for 73 yards, with three of his grabs resulting in first downs as he was matched up against defenders who were 4-6 inches shorter than he is.

McMullen's height advantage worked in his favor again against Duke. Going up against much smaller cornerbacks, McMullen led the Cavaliers in receiving for the second week in a row.

With the Blue Devils geared to stopping the run, Ellis and company made the defense pay for its strategy. Ellis threw for 333 yards and three scores, with McMullen being the biggest beneficiary. He turned in a career-game with eight receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns and was named the ACC Offensive Back of the Week.

McMullen's 189 yards receiving is the third-highest total in school history, while his eight catches are tied for 11th most in school history and are the most since Germane Crowell hauled in nine passes vs. Virginia Tech in 1997.

The sophomore from Richmond, Va., is third in the ACC in receptions (5.0/g) and receiving yards (86.8/g).