Nov. 7, 1999
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - David Rivers' first three quarters as Virginia's quarterback were about what might be expected of a player whose only job in almost three years of college football was snapping the ball on the punt team.
His last three quarters were more than enough to make it all worthwhile.
"Amazing," coach George Welsh said after Rivers overcame a slow start and rallied Virginia to a 45-38 victory against then-No. 7 Georgia Tech. "The kid did good."
Rivers had thrown 15 passes in his career when he was tabbed to start in place of the injured Dan Ellis against the Yellow Jackets on Saturday. His counterpart was Joe Hamilton, a leading Heisman Trophy hopeful and the nation's top-rated quarterback.
Considering the stakes and expectations, it was no contest.
Bolstered by the 213-yard, two-touchdown running of Thomas Jones and a defense that stiffened when it needed to most, Rivers led the Cavaliers back from an early 17-0 deficit with three touchdown passes and surprised even his coach and his teammates.
Only a week ago, Rivers' duties as long-snapper were his only ones on the field. He lost that job when Ellis' recovery from a concussion made him the starting quarterback.
"He had a lot asked of him, to go out there and match the leading Heisman Trophy candidate and probably the best quarterback in the nation play for play," tackle Noel LaMontagne said. "It's just incredible for him to perform so well under those conditions."
Rivers finished 18-for-30 for 228 yards. He never lost his cool, his teammates said, and seemed to grow in confidence each time the Cavaliers moved the chains.
"I felt like once we started moving the ball on them, that was all we needed to do," said the Augusta, Ga., native, who was born and raised a devout Yellow Jackets fan.
Georgia Tech also helped make it a game with three crucial mistakes.
The Yellow Jackets scored on four of their first five possessions, but lost the ball at the Virginia 6 when Hamilton's pitch missed Dez White and Byron Thweatt recovered.
Later, Marvious Hester dropped an interception deep in Georgia Tech territory on the drive when Virginia went ahead to stay, and then Kelly Campbell let what would have been a 68-yard touchdown pass from Hamilton go off his fingertips on the next series.
Three plays after the drop, with 10:10 remaining, the Yellow Jackets punted.
"They did what they had to do," Yellow Jackets coach George O'Leary said of the Cavaliers, who kept alive their chance of winning seven games for the 13th straight season. Only Florida State, Michigan and Nebraska have streaks that long.
Georgia Tech, meantime, dropped to 13th in the AP poll released Sunday and saw its chances for an at-large bid to the Bowl Championship Series all but evaporate.
"It's the luck of the draw, man, the luck of the draw," Hamilton said.
Perrantes Searching for AnswersMen's Basketball2/21/17Senior point guard London Perrantes has made only 16 of 58 shots (27.6 percent) from the floor in his past four games, all Virginia losses.'Hoos Savor Latest ITA TitleMen's Tennis2/20/17In men's tennis, Virginia won its sixth ITA National Team Indoors Championship, defending Ohio State 4-1 at the Boar's Head Sports Club.Slumping Cavaliers Look to RegroupMen's Basketball2/19/17No. 14 Virginia (18-8, 8-6) will try to end a three-game losing streak Monday night when ACC rival Miami (18-8, 8-6) visit John Paul Jones Arena.
Director of News Content
A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
Virginia Adds Two More FBS Transfers to the Fold
Football | 2/21/2017
Virginia football head coach Bronco Mendenhall has added two more FBS transfers to the program.
Jeff White: Cavalier Football Notebook
Football | 2/15/2017
Quarterback Kurt Benkert, who began his college career at East Carolina, learned valuable lessons...
Blanding to be Awarded the MacArthur Award
Football | 2/8/2017
Virginia free safety Quin Blanding will be honored with the General Douglas MacArthur Award for...
Three Cavaliers Earn All-ACC Academic Honors
Football | 2/8/2017
Three Virginia Cavaliers have been named to the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference All-Academic...
Virginia Football's Signing Day Central
Football | 2/1/2017
Live updates today, including signee bios and highlight videos.
Jeff White: Cavaliers Restock at Running Back
Football | 2/1/2017
Virginia's 2017 recruits include running backs Lamont Atkins, PK Kier and Jamari Peacock. Atkins ...
Six Cavaliers Earn VaSID All-State Recognition
Football | 01/26/2017
Six Virginia football players were named to the 2016 Virginia Sports Information Directors...
Virginia Announces 2017 Football Schedule
Football | 01/24/2017
The Atlantic Coast Conference released the 2017 football schedules for its member institutions...
- Online Stores