Football Would Become Bowl-eligible With Win Over Buffalo

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM Thomas Jones is ready to<br>rack up yardage in his<br>final game at Scott Stadium.
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Thomas Jones is ready to
rack up yardage in his
final game at Scott Stadium.
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

Nov. 8, 1999

Virginia vs. Buffalo
Nov. 13, 1999 * 1:00 p.m.
Charlottesville, Va.

Game Overview

The Game: Virginia looks to become bowl-eligible this Saturday (Nov. 13) with a victory over Buffalo in a non-televised "Senior Day" game at the Carl Smith Center, home of David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium. The Cavaliers gained a rousing 45-38 win over #7 Georgia Tech at home last Saturday to raise their record to 5-4 overall and 4-3 in the ACC.

David Rivers replaced an injured Dan Ellis at quarterback vs. the Yellow Jackets and directed a potent offensive attack that rolled up 493 yards of total offense. Rivers shook off a shaky start to finish 18 of 30 for 228 yards and three touchdowns. Heisman Trophy candidate Thomas Jones continued to prove why he's the best running back in the country by grinding out 213 yards and two scores on the ground.

Buffalo is 0-9 overall this season, including 0-7 in the Mid-American Conference. The Bulls are returning to Division I-A football for the first time since 1970.

Radio: All UVa games are heard on the Virginia Sports Network originating at WINA/WQMZ in Charlottesville. Mac McDonald calls the play by play. Frank Quayle, the 1968 ACC Player of the Year, provides the color commentary, while former UVa signal caller Mike Groh provides sideline analysis and conducts the postgame interviews.

The Series vs. the Bulls
After a 31-year hiatus, the series between Virginia and Buffalo resumes on Saturday. The only previous meeting saw the Cavaliers gain a 35-12 win over the Bulls on Sept. 30, 1967 in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers jumped to a 28-0 halftime lead and never looked back.

Virginia signal caller Gene Arnette had a big day before a crowd of 16,000. He rushed for 119 yards and four touchdowns (on just 11 carries), while completing five of seven passes for 81 yards and another score. Arnette scored on runs of 21, 15, 3 and 46 yards, while his touchdown pass covered 17 yards to Bob Serino. His four rushing touchdowns is still an ACC record for a quarterback.

Tailback Frank Quayle rumbled for 151 yards on 14 carries as Virginia rolled up 402 yards on the ground and 483 yards of total offense. UVa's 402 yards rushing stands as the eighth-highest total in school history. The score might have been worse, but the Cavaliers fumbled six times and lost all six. The six fumbles lost stands tied for second-most in school history.

The Bulls are in their first year of Division I-A play and are members of the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Central Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and Ohio are the only other MAC schools that Virginia has faced. The Cavaliers defeated Central Michigan 55-21 at Scott Stadium to open the 1996 season. Virginia also defeated Ohio 41-7 at Scott Stadium in 1993. UVa played Miami (Ohio) in 1948 (14-14 tie) and 1949 (21-18 UVa win). This is the first time since 1975 that a school in New York has come to Charlottesville. Virginia lost at home to Syracuse 37-0 in 1975.

Where Were They Then?
It's been a long time since Virginia and Buffalo last met on the gridiron and it's interesting to see where some people associated with the Cavaliers were during that meeting in 1967. UVa head coach George Welsh was an assistant coach under Joe Paterno at Penn State. "Joe Pa" was in just his second year at the helm of the Nittany Lions and had just six wins in his career. Defensive coordinator Rick Lantz was an assistant coach at Boston University, who left after that season to become defensive coordinator at Buffalo, where he spent three years. Offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill was an assistant coach at his alma mater, Wittenberg. Defensive tackle Maurice Anderson, the oldest Cavalier at 24, was still seven-and-a-half years from being born.

Jones Leads Nation in Rushing
Heisman Trophy candidate Thomas Jones has put together one of the best seasons in school history in 1999. He leads the country in rushing, averaging 165.1 yards per game (1486 yards in nine games). He reached the 1000-yard mark in just seven games, joining John Papit (1949) as the only players to get to 1000 yards in seven games. Jones then set the school single-season mark in just nine games, breaking the record that took Tiki Barber 12 games to set in 1995 (1397 yards). Not surprisingly, Jones has been the game's leading rusher in every game for Virginia this season.

Jones has been at at his best as the season heads into "crunch time", averaging 195.8 yards in his last four games as the Cavaliers fight for a bowl spot. In fact, his performance in this span is by far the best four-game stretch in school history.

His 164 yards vs. Florida State are the most the Seminoles have allowed since UVa's Tiki Barber rushed for 193 yards in 1995, a span of 50 games. Adding his 207 yard effort in last season's game against Georgia Tech to this season's 213-yard performance makes him the first player in ACC history to have two 200-yard games against one team. A look at Jones in the last four games is below.

Opp.Att.Yds.AvgTD
Duke311856.02
N.C. State382215.83
#1 Fla. State261646.31
#2 Ga. Tech392135.52
last 41347835.88
avg. last 433.5195.85.82

At Home vs. Non-Conference Opponents
This is the last of two non-conference home games for Virginia this season. The Cavaliers fell to Virginia Tech 31-7 in their first home non-conference game last month. Since 1989, Auburn and Virginia Tech are the only non-conference schools to win in Charlottesville.

The Cavaliers have won 22 of their last 27 non-conference games at home going back to 1987. The only losses since then are to Penn State in 1988, Virginia Tech in 1993, 1995 and 1999, and Auburn in 1997. In George Welsh's 18 years at Virginia, his teams are 30-10 (.750) against non-conference teams at the Carl Smith Center, home of David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium. In November non-conference games at home under Welsh the Cavaliers are 5-4.

Just Like the "Old" Days
With the proliferation of games on television, it is unusual that a Virginia game is not being televised. Oddly this is the second home game of the season that has not been televised. (Duke was the other.) But not appearing on television is usually a good thing for Virginia. Since 1989 the Cavaliers have played 42 non-televised games and have won 40. The Cavaliers' only non-televised losses since 1989 were to N.C. State in 1993 and to Duke last month (which snapped a 14-game non-televised winning streak.)

Jones Sets Record in Nine Games
As his career at Virginia was coming to a close in 1996, Virginia's all-time leading rusher, Tiki Barber, mentioned that Thomas Jones (then a true freshman) would be the one to break his records. Barber was very prescient regarding the performance of the player who was his understudy three years ago as Jones has erased Barber's name from the top spot on many lists.

The most recent record to fall is UVa's single-season rushing mark. Barber rushed for 1397 yards in 12 games in 1995, but Jones needed just nine games this season to move past Barber. With two games remaining to play, Jones has rushed for 1486 yards and is sure to add to that total. Perhaps it's fitting that Jones and Barber are the only players in school history to put together back-to-back 1000-yard seasons. (Terry Kirby had two 1000-yard seasons but they weren't consecutive.) Between Barber and Jones, they hold the top-four seasons in school history.

Jones is also averaging 165.1 yards rushing per game this season, tops in the nation. If he can keep up this pace he will eclipse the ACC single-season record currently held by former North Carolina star Don McCauley. McCauley rushed for 1720 yards and averaged 156.4 ypg in 1970. Below is the list of all 1000-yard rushers in UVa history.

Player, yearYds Rushing
1.Thomas Jones, 19991486
2.Tiki Barber, 19951397
3.Tiki Barber, 19961360
4.Thomas Jones, 19981303
5.Barry Word, 19851224
6.John Papit, 19491214
7.Frank Quayle, 19681213
8.Terry Kirby, 19921130
9.Marcus Wilson, 19891098
10.Tommy Vigorito, 19791045
11.Terry Kirby, 19901020

Cavaliers in November
Virginia head coach George Welsh calls November the most important time of the season. But November hasn't been the most fruitful of times for the Cavaliers recently. They are 18-13 overall in November in the 1990s, including a 12-9 mark in November ACC games. Over the last three seasons, however, Virginia is 6-2 in November. George Welsh's Virginia squads have a 33-25-1 overall record in November since 1982.

The Cavaliers are 10-6 in non-conference games in November under Welsh. Greene Sends Kickoffs to the End Zone For the second year in a row, David Greene is handling the kick-off duties for the Cavaliers, while Todd Braverman is the kicker for field goals and extra 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 kickoffs he had 14 touchbacks, while typically placing the ball deep. Building on a fine finish to last season, Greene has boomed 28 of 47 kickoffs this season into the endzone, resulting in 15 touchbacks. The opponents are averaging 21.7 yards per return against UVa's kickoff coverage team.

Looking to Extend Seven-Win Streak
Virginia needs to win its last two games to stretch its streak of seven-win seasons to 13. The Cavaliers helped themselves greatly toward accomplishing this goal with a 45-38 win over #7 Georgia Tech last Saturday. If the Cavaliers can run the table and finish 7-4, it would mark the 13th consecutive season they have won at least seven games. Only three other teams in the nation can make that claim-Florida State, Michigan and Nebraska.

Jones Shows Up Every Day
Despite leading the ACC in rushing by nearly 400 yards and standing as the third-leading returning rusher in the nation this season, Thomas Jones fails to 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. And the player with the common name continues to display his uncommon abilities.

Jones leads the nation in rushing, with a 165.1 yards per game average as he threatens the ACC single-season rushing mark of 1720 yards by North Carolina's Don McCauley in 1970. In his third year as the starting tailback, perhaps it's important to also note his durability. A testament to his offseason work ethic, Jones has not missed a game in his career, while starting the last 32 at tailback. He made the 31st consecutive start of his career against Florida State to add to his list of school records- most consecutive starts by a tailback. Terry Kirby got the starting nod 30 straight games from 1990-92 and held the previous record.

Just as amazing as his streak of consecutive starts is the fact that Jones has never missed so much as a practice during his career at Virginia.

McMullen Among Top Rookie Receivers
Wide receiver Billy McMullen has shown flashes of brilliance this season, particularly lately, and is one of the top true freshman receivers in the nation. He leads the team with 353 receiving yards and an 18.6-yards per catch average this season and is second with 19 receptions and three touchdowns. He has been more of a focal point of the passing game lately, particularly as Kevin Coffey's production has gone down.

McMullen first strutted his stuff last month in a big win over N.C. State in Raleigh. He led the team with 109 yards receiving (a career high), while his four receptions tied Ahmad Hawkins for team honors. He came up big again last Saturday vs. #7 Georgia Tech despite catching just two passes. He hauled in a 39-yard pass from David Rivers in the second quarter to help set up Virginia's second touchdown that cut the Yellow Jackets' lead from 17-0 to 24-14.

McMullen and Rivers teamed up again early in the fourth quarter on a 42-yard scoring play that proved to be the game-winner. Faced with second-and-23 on the Tech 42, Rivers hit McMullen in stride with a perfect toss to put the Cavaliers in the lead for good. Research shows that McMullen is only the fourth true freshman to catch two TD passes in a game for Virginia. The others are Germane Crowell vs. Florida State in 1994 (his first college game), Demetrius "Pete" Allen vs. Navy in 1992 and John Ford against VMI and Virginia Tech in 1984.

Three other true freshmen have scored two touchdowns (all rushing) in one game-quarterback Scott Gardner vs. VMI in 1972 (also his first college game), Antonio Rice vs. Georgia Tech in 1982 and Durwin Greggs vs. William & Mary in 1986.

Anderson Quietly Turning in Fabulous Year
As the oldest member of the defensive front, Maurice Anderson has used the wisdom 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 of nagging injuries that might sideline other players. Throughout most of his career he has had to play behind more heralded linemen including Antonio Dingle, Patrick Kerney and Todd White, but this season he is showing what he can do.

Anderson began the year in fine fashion by leading Virginia in tackles for the 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 against Duke with 10 tackles. Adept at plugging the middle of the line, Anderson has made at least seven tackles in five games this season.

With two games of at least 10 tackles, he is the first UVa defensive tackle to have as many as two double-digit performances since Todd White had two in 1995. He is also the first UVa defensive tackle to lead the team in tackles in a game since White in 1994 and is the first Cavalier defensive tackle to lead twice in a season since at least 1989. Anderson is fourth on the team with 56 tackles, far surpassing his previous career high of 31 in 1997. The 56 tackles are the most by a UVa defensive tackle since White had 77 in 1995.

Coffey's Production Falls Off Recently
Wide receiver Kevin Coffey looked as if 1999 was going to be a big year for him. And for the first few games this season it seemed like he would indeed have a big season.

Quarterback Dan Ellis made his first career start in the season opener against North Carolina and frequently looked Coffey's way. Coffey caught four passes for 101 yards and one touchdown. In addition to his touchdown grab (a 32-yarder), his other three receptions all went for first downs. He had four catches for 48 yards and one touchdown the following week against Clemson, but since then his numbers have fallen off dramatically. Coffey has caught just 13 passes in the last seven games, and is averaging 10.7 yards per catch (well off his career average of 19.1 yards). He bounced back somewhat with his best performance since early in the season against #7 Georgia Tech last Saturday with three catches for 33 yards and a touchdown.

Coffey was biggest on Virginia's final drive of the first half as the Cavaliers used a late interception to score and cut the halftime deficit to 24-21. He caught an 18-yard pass to take the ball to the 12-yard line with 14 seconds left. One the next play he hauled in a 12-yard strike from quarterback David Rivers with nine ticks left on the clock for his first touchdown in five games.

Nonetheless, Coffey remains Virginia's leading receiver with 21 receptions and five touchdowns. His 289 yards trail Billy McMullen for the team lead. Welsh Seventh Among Active Wins Leaders Head coach George Welsh, tabbed last season by The Sporting News as the nation's best coach, is ranked seventh in wins among active Division I-A coaches.

Welsh has won 181 games in a 27-year career at Navy (1973-81) and Virginia (1982-present), 27th in NCAA Division I-A history. His overall career record is 181-125-4 (.590). The dean of ACC coaches, Welsh is the only coach in league history to win at least 100 games. He has a 126-79-3 record in 18 seasons at Virginia. His 79 wins in ACC games is also a record.

A look at the winningest active coaches is below.

1.Joe Paterno, Penn State (34 yrs)316 wins
2.Bobby Bowden, Fla. State (34)301
3.LaVell Edwards, BYU (28)251
4.Lou Holtz, So. Carolina (28)216
5.Don Nehlen, West Va. (29)194
6.John Cooper, Ohio State (23)184
7.George Welsh, UVa (27)181

Isabelle Reaches Double Digits Four Times
Junior linebacker Yubrenal Isabelle gets better with each game as he attempts to fill the rather large shoes of current NFL starter Wali Rainer in the Cavalier defense. Isabelle, who saw limited action in his first two seasons behind Rainer, led the Cavaliers with 14 tackles against Clemson early in the season. The 14 tackles is a career high, topping the eight he had against Florida State as a freshman two years ago.

He paced the team against with 10 tackles against Wake Forest as Virginia held Morgan Kane, the nation's leading rusher coming into the game, to just 65 yards. Putting up Rainer-like numbers, Isabelle's 14 stops vs Brigham Young led the 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. Isabelle missed reaching double figures against N.C. State, but still led the team with seven tackles.

A very smart player who is still learning on the job, Isabelle leads the team with 70 tackles despite missing one game. A look at his game-by-game stats are below.

SoloAst.TTLother
N. Carolina213PBU
Clemson9*5*14*FR
W. Forest7*310*
BYU7*7*14*hurry
Va. TechDNP
Duke5510*QBS, hurry, PBU
N.C. State437*FR
Fla. State426FC
Ga. Tech426int.
* led team

Jones 10th All-Time in ACC
As his career at Virginia was coming to a close in 1996, Virginia's all-time leading rusher, Tiki Barber, mentioned that Thomas Jones (then a true freshman) would be the one to break his records. Barber knew what he was talking about as Jones has taken the football world by storm this season.

Jones, Virginia's all-time leading rusher, now has 3686 career rushing yards 10th in ACC history. With two games to play, he will undoubtedly finish higher.

Jones' place on the ACC all-time rushing list is below.

Player, school Rush Yds. 5. Warrick Dunn, Florida State 3959 6. James McDougald, Wake Forest 3811 7. Raymond Priester, Clemson 3717 8. Jerry Mays, Georgia Tech 3699 9. Leon Johnson, North Carolina 3693 10. Thomas Jones, Virginia 3686

Experienced Line Opens Holes for Jones
Head coach George Welsh has always emphasized the need to have a strong running game and this year is no different. Virginia features the nation's top running back in Thomas Jones. Jones has rushed for 1486 yards this season (165.1/g), tops in the country. Leading the way for Jones is a battle-tested line that features three returning starters and another player who started five games last year. Virginia's top offensive lineman is left guard Noel LaMontagne. A senior tri-captain, LaMontagne is the most experienced lineman with 27 career starts under his belt.

Joining LaMontagne on the left side of the line is Josh Lawson, a first-team All-Freshman by The Sporting News last season. However, Lawson did not play vs. Florida State due to an injury and was replaced by Jared Woodson.

Second-team All-ACC John St. Clair is the center. One of the top (and most underrated) centers in the country, he is quietly molding himself into one of the top center prospects available in the upcoming NFL draft. Pro Football Weekly listed him on its midseason All-America team. Sophomore Evan Routzahn, a starter in five games at left guard last season, has moved to right guard and is considered a very promising player 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 to forge his way into the line-up and is considered by Welsh the most improved player on the offensive line. Barnes was selected the ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week for his play in UVa's win over N.C. State.

Primary back-ups along the line include George Seals at center, Woodson at guard and Dustin Keith at tackle. Keith has also seen action at center.

Turnovers Important to Outcome
Virginia has been involved in several games this season that have been influenced greatly by turnovers-both for and against UVa. The Cavaliers have had a tendency to compound their turnovers with a double whammy-turnovers in 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 a touchdown).

Against Clemson, Thomas Jones lost a fumble inside the Clemson 10-yard line as 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 to be the Cavaliers' undoing in the overtime loss to Duke last month. An Arlen Harris punt return for a touchdown early in the game was brought back due to a penalty.

On Duke's next possession, Dwayne Stukes intercepted a pass to give UVa the ball on Duke's 44-yard line. Following a first down, Ellis had a pass intercepted in the end zone to end that drive.

Punter Donnie Scott was unable to handle a bad snap in his end zone and tried to pass. The pass was incomplete, giving Duke possession on the 11-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 Duke 35-yard line. But Jones lost a fumble at the 12-yard line to kill another drive. Duke drove down field to kick a game-tying field goal. Virginia's final possession of the game ended as Ellis threw his second interception of the day in the second overtime.

In UVa's game against N.C. State, the Wolfpack turned the ball over on three of their first four second half possessions. Virginia turned the miscues into 22 points (in a 30-point quarter). The 30 points helped erase a 19-10 halftime deficit as Virginia rolled to a 47-26 win.

Virginia used a Yubrenal Isabelle interception to great advantage in last Saturday's win over Georgia Tech. Isabelle returned the interception to the Tech 40-yard line to set up UVa's final drive of the first half. Seven plays later quarterback David Rivers found Kevin Coffey in the end zone for a 12-yard scoring strike that brought UVa to within three points at 24-21 with nine seconds to go in the half.

That touchdown proved crucial as the Cavaliers held on to complete the comeback 45-38. Of UVa's 16 turnovers, 10 have been turned into points by the opposition. Clemson scored two touchdowns and a field goal off UVa miscues, while the week before North Carolina's defense scored on an interception return and scored its lone offensive touchdown following an interception. Brigham Young returned Ellis' only interception for a touchdown three weeks ago, while Duke scored a just one field goal off three UVa turnovers.

Virginia has forced 22 turnovers this season (15 interceptions, seven fumbles) and blocked one punt. From these mistakes the Cavaliers have scored just 10 touchdowns.

Kiddie Corps Get Pickoffs Virginia has intercepted 15 passes this season, including eight by freshmen safeties. The safety tandem of Shernard Newby and Chris Williams (both red-shirt freshmen) have teamed to intercept passes in the same game twice-North Carolina and Wake Forest. The North Carolina game was the first college game for both.

True freshman Jerton Evans intercepted a pass against Clemson in the second game of his brief college career and came back with two crucial interceptions against Brigham Young to help lead UVa to the win. Evans' first interception vs. the Cougars came in the first quarter and set up UVa's third touchdown in a 21-point first quarter, while his second pick came in the end zone with 1:37 to play in the game that ended BYU's hopes for a comeback win.

Evans intercepted Florida State's Chris Weinke late in the first quarter for his fourth interception of the season, which ties the school record for most interceptions by a true freshman. Kevin Cook had four in 1986. Evans is also bidding to become just the second true freshman to lead the team. Carl Smith (no relation to the former football player who gave the donation to expand UVa's football stadium) tied for the team lead with two in 1991. Overall Virginia is tied for ninth in the nation in interceptions.

Rivers Shines in First Start
We aren't sure if David Rivers (pronounced RYE-vers) is the first quarterback in school history to make his first start come against a top-10 team, but we do know he's the first quarterback to beat a top-10 team in his first start.

Called on to replace an injured Dan Ellis for last Saturday's game against #7 Georgia Tech, Rivers and the Cavaliers shook off a slow start to rebound with a thrilling 45-38 win over the Yellow Jackets.

The win was especially sweet for Rivers who grew up a Georgia Tech fan in Augusta, Ga., and who waited patiently for four years behind Aaron Brooks and Dan Ellis for his opportunity to come. Rivers missed on all three pass attempts, throwing one interception in the first quarter as the Cavaliers found themselves in a 17-0 hole in the opening period.

But he caught fire in the second quarter, directing Virginia to touchdowns on their final three drives of the half to cut the deficit to 24-21 at the break. The field leadership continued in the second half as Virginia scored on three of its first four possessions to take the lead en route to the victory.

After the rough start, Rivers went on to complete 18 of his next 27 passes for 228 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions or sacks. His three touchdown passes tie Mike Groh's school record for most touchdown passes in a first start. Groh had three vs. Navy in 1994. It is also the most thrown by a UVa quarterback in a game against a top-10 team.

Braverman Boots 50-Yard Winner
Place-kickers live a strange existence, always walking on the cusp between hero and goat. Over the last two seasons Todd Braverman can surely attest to the fine line kickers walk.

Last season he booted a 30-yard field goal with 49 seconds remaining to defeat 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 into overtime, 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 waning seconds of the Peach Bowl loss to Georgia. The field goal, if good, would have won it for Virginia, but instead the ball drifted wide right. (Braverman shouldn't be blamed for either loss as Virginia held 21-point leads in both contests.)

The uncertainty of his position continued into this preseason and he wasn't announced as the kicker for this season until the week of the North Carolina game.

But things swung upward for Braverman when he was named the starter. He wasted little time justifying Welsh's decision and erasing the memories of last season in the opener against North Carolina with two field goals against the Tar Heels.

Called on to be the hero, Braverman answered the call with a 50-yard boot with 27.4 seconds remaining to give Virginia a 20-17 victory. The kick didn't clear the crossbar by much, but it was enough to make Braverman the sixth kicker in school history to make a 50-yarder. His 50-yard victory kick vs. the Tar Heels is the longest game-winning field goal in school history.

He has made all 29 extra points and and seven of 10 field goal attempts this season. After missing the first extra point attempt of his career (last season vs. Auburn), he has made 67 in a row in regular season games, the longest streak since Jake McInerney made a school-record 88 PATs from 1989-90.

Taylor Returns with a Vengeance
Linebacker Shannon Taylor sat out last season for personal reasons. But the lay-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 after his arrival in Charlottesville and has alternated between linebacker and defensive end during his career. He lettered as a linebacker in 1996 and at defensive end in 1997. A gifted athlete who excels at getting to the quarterback, he has been in on seven sacks in his career.

He was one of the few defensive bright spots against Clemson. He tied his career high at the time with seven tackles (since broken) against the Tigers, including two stops behind the line of scrimmage.

His career high for tackles didn't last long, however because he followed that with a 10-tackle performance against Wake Forest. He had two tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including his second sack of the season. The big plays for Taylor continued against Brigham Young as he turned in eight tackles, including two more tackles behind the line. That marked the third game in a row Taylor had two tackles for loss.

He tied his career high with three tackles for loss against top-ranked Florida State. That is also the team high this season. Taylor is second on the team with 62 tackles (6.9/g), while leading the team with 11 tackles for loss and six quarterback sacks.

Jones vs. Heisman Trophy-Winning Backs
Thomas Jones leads the nation in rushing, averaging 165.1 ypg and is approaching the ACC record for most rushing yards in a season. Former North Carolina standout Don McCauley rushed for 1720 yards to set the ACC standard.

Jones' numbers through nine games this year measure very favorably with past running backs who won the Heisman Trophy. A look at the last 20 running backs to win the Heisman Trophy with their rushing yardage at similar stages of their trophy-winning campaigns is shown below. Winners prior to 1961 have their season total listed. (Thanks to Wisconsin for doing most of this research.)

Player9 games10 games
Thomas Jones, Virginia, '991486TBD
Others at this stage of season:
Ricky Williams, Texas, '981,7242,124
Eddie George, Ohio State, '951,2781,593
Rashaan Salaam, Colorado, '941,5641,796
Barry Sanders, Okla. State, '882,0032,296
Bo Jackson, Auburn, '851,5231,644
Mike Rozier, Nebraska, '831,4461,658
Herschel Walker, Georgia, '821,4131,590
Marcus Allen, USC, '811,9682,123
George Rogers, So. Carolina, '801,4361,613
Charles White, USC, '791,5581,801
Billy Sims, Oklahoma, '781,4001,553
Earl Campbell, Texas, '771,3411,522
Tony Dorsett, Pitt, '761,5261,725
Archie Griffin, Ohio State, '751,1871,311
Archie Griffin, Ohio State, '741,3351,510
John Cappelletti, Penn St., '731,1581362
Steve Owens, Oklahoma, '691,2641,525*
O.J. Simpson, USC, '681,6541,709*
Mike Garrett, USC, '651,3281,440*
Ernie Davis, Syracuse, '61724823*

Season Totals:

Joe Bellino, Navy, '60834*
Billy Cannon, LSU, '59598*
Pete Dawkins, Army, '58428*
John David Crow, Texas A&M, '57562*
Howard "Hopalong" Cassady, Ohio State, '55958*
Alan Ameche, Wisconsin, '54641*
Johnny Lattner, Notre Dame, '53651*
Billy Vessels, Oklahoma, '521072*
Dick Kazmaier, Princeton, '51861*
Vic Janowicz, Ohio State, '50314*
Doak Walker, SMU, '48537*
Glenn Davis, Army, '46712*
Doc Blanchard, Army, '45718*
Les Horvath, Ohio State, '44905*
Frank Sinkwich, Georgia, '42795*
Bruce Smith, Minnesota, '41446*
Tom Harmon, Michigan, '40844*
Nile Kinnick, Iowa, '39374*
Clint Frank, Yale, '37667*
Jay Berwanger, Chicago, '35577*
* full season statistics

Jones in UVa and ACC Record Books
Thomas Jones has etched his name throughout the Virginia and Atlantic Coast Conference record book this season and with two games remaining, will continue to do so. Here's a look at some of his records and possible records. *=modern era (since 1937)

ACC Records Set
Most 200-Yard Games in a Season-3
Most 200-Yard Games in a Career-5
Most Consecutive 200-Yard Games-2

Virginia Records Set Most Yards Rushing in a Career-3686 Most Yards Rushing in a Season-1486, '99 Most Rushing Attempts in a Career-749 Most Rushing Attempts in a Season-274, '99 Most Rushing Touchdowns in a Career*-35 Most Total Touchdowns in a Career*-368 Most 200-Yard Games in a Season-3 Most 200-Yard Games in a Career-5 Most Consecutive 200-Yard Games-2 Most Rushing Attempts in a Game-39 vs. Georgia Tech, '99 Most Consecutive Starts by a Tailback-32 Fewest Practices Missed-0 Virginia Records Within Reach Most Touchdowns in a Season*-18, Bill Dudley, '41 Most Rushing TDs in a Season*-17, Bill Dudley, '41 Best Rushing Avg. in a Season-141.3, Terry Kirby, '92 Most 100-Yard Games in a Season-9, Tiki Barber, '96 Most 100-Yard Games in a Career-19, Tiki Barber

ACC Records Within Reach Most Yards Rushing in a season-1720, Don McCauley, UNC, '70 Best Rushing Avg. in a season-156.4, Don McCauley, UNC, '70 Most Rushing TDs in a season-19, by two players

VIRGINIA BY THE NUMBERS

0-Thomas Jones' durability is best typified by the fact that he hasn't missed so much as a PRACTICE during his career. He has also started 32 consecutive games at tailback, a UVa record for a tailback.

1-UVa head coach George Welsh is the winningest coach in ACC history. The only coach in league history to win 100 games, he has a 126-79-3 record at Virginia. Welsh has also won 79 ACC games, the most in league history.

1-Thomas Jones has caught 18 passes this season, tops among ACC running backs. He also led ACC running backs in receptions last year with 28.

3-Thomas Jones earned his undergraduate degree in psychology in just three years. He received his degree in May of 1999.

7-UVa head coach George Welsh is seventh among active Division I-A coaches in wins. He has won 181 games in a 27-year career at Navy (1973-81) and Virginia (1982-present).

9-Virginia is tied for ninth in the nation with 15 interceptions. True freshman Jerton Evans leads the team with four pickoffs.

12-Players have made the first start of their careers this season. Five first-timers started the opener vs. North Carolina, the most since 1997 to start an opener. Quarterback David Rivers led the Cavaliers to a thrilling victory over Georgia Tech in his first start last week.

12-Consecutive seasons with at least seven wins by UVa, the longest streak in ACC history. UVa is one of only four Division I-A programs (Fla. State, Michigan, Nebraska) to post at least seven wins in each of the last 12 seasons. It is also tied for the eighth-longest current streak of winning seasons in the nation.

117.5-Thomas Jones, UVa's all-time leading rusher, leads the nation in rushing with a 165.1 average and is in hot pursuit of the all-time ACC single season rushing mark. Jones needs to average 117.5 ypg in the final two games to top Don McCauley's (UNC) ACC record of 1720 yards in 1970.