Nov. 22, 2006
Charlottesville, Va. -
The Cavaliers travel to Blacksburg, Va., to conclude their regular season against in-state rival Virginia Tech Saturday at noon. The game is being televised on the Lincoln Financial Sports/Raycom ACC football network.
The Cavaliers are 5-6 overall and need a victory to become bowl eligible for the fifth season in a row. Virginia is in third place in the ACC's Coastal Division with a 4-3 record. In addition to becoming bowl eligible with a victory, the Cavaliers could also finish second in the division with a win. Virginia hasn't won as many as five ACC games since winning five two years ago. A win would be the 600th in school history; only 39 other Division I programs (I-A and I-AA) have won at least 600 games.
Head coach Al Groh says seasons are made in November and his squad is looking to continue to finish with a .500-or-better record in November for the sixth year in a row. The Cavaliers have also won at least two games in November every season since 2000.
Led by QB Jameel Sewell and an excellent effort by the defense, Virginia defeated Miami 17-7 on "Senior Day" last Saturday to inch closer to bowl eligibility. Sewell rushed for both UVa touchdowns and threw for 217 yards in a masterful performance that netted him ACC Rookie of the Week honors.
The defense gave up only 263 yards to the Hurricanes, the fifth time this season they allowed fewer than 300 yards. Chris Long and his linemates pressured QB Kirby Freeman all game long and gave up only three pass plays of more than nine yards. Marcus Hamilton intercepted his fifth pass of the season to become only the fourth player in school history to intercept at least 15 passes in a career; he has 15. The Virginia defense is ranked 20th nationally overall and 24th in pass defense. In the last five games Virginia's defense has allowed only six drives of 60-or-more yards and only four of them resulted in touchdowns for the opposition. Conversely, the opponents have had 19 "three and out" drives against the Cavaliers in that span.
Virginia Tech is 9-2 overall and in second place in the Coastal Division with a 5-2 record, one game ahead of the Cavaliers. The Hokies' season has been one of streaks. They started the season with four consecutive wins, but lost their next two. They have rebounded and come into this game with a five-game winning streak. They gained an impressive 27-6 win at Wake Forest last Saturday. Curiously, this is only the second time in the last five seasons the Hokies have come into the game following a win. In 2002-03-05 they lost the previous week.
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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.
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