3:00 PM ET, September 18, 2004
Scott Stadium, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- There's plenty of credit to go around for Virginia's first 3-0 start in six years.
"The defense is doing a great job by giving us great field position, complementing us with turnovers and giving us a chance to strike early," quarterback Marques Hagans said after Virginia (No. 16 ESPN/USAToday; No. 12 AP) beat Akron 51-0 Saturday.
The Cavaliers led 34-0 by halftime, outgaining the Mid-American Conference team 315-68. Then they allowed just 16 yards in the second half.
Playing well is easy, nose tackle Andrew Hoffman countered, when the offense is averaging 50 points per game.
"The offense is playing great," Hoffman said. "Our team's getting better with every week of practice and with every game that we play."
And the evidence was most convincing against the Zips (0-3).
Wali Lundy ran for three touchdowns for the third straight game, Hagans threw two scoring passes to Heath Miller in another nearly flawless performance and the reserves kept the momentum going to the end.
They also never let Charlie Frye get any. The Zips quarterback, owner of 49 school records, was 10-for-23 for 72 yards with two interceptions and was sacked four times before leaving late in the third quarter.
By then, it was 44-0 and Virginia's backups were dominating, too, with the sideline focus becoming the third shutout in the last 16 games.
"It was definitely on our minds," Hoffman said. "You don't really like to talk about it. You just want to keep going the way you're going."
The Zips finished with 84 yards in 58 plays and six first downs.
Lundy had first-half scoring runs of 1 and 6 yards, then broke loose for a career-long 44-yarder in the third quarter. Alvin Pearman added a 27-yard burst down the right sideline for a TD in the second quarter, and third-teamer Michael Johnson gained 102 yards on just six carries.
"Just to know that you have other players in the backfield that can make plays and you're not the only one they're depending on, ... we've got so many playmakers that you really can't gameplan us," Lundy said.
Hagans threw his first interception of the season on a pass that bounced off a Virginia receiver, but completed 16 of 25 passes for 148 yards. He hit Miller for touchdowns of 16 and 3 yards in the first half and continues to earn high marks from teammates for his leadership.
"Coach [Al] Groh always says you judge a quarterback by his wins," said Miller, who caught six passes. "He's got three under his belt."
Lundy gained 142 yards on 22 carries before he and Hagans left in the third quarter, allowing the Cavaliers to substitute liberally.
First-year Akron coach J.D. Brookhart, conversely, was thinking protection when he lifted Frye. The Zips play at Kent State on Thursday.
"It was a good time to get some other kids some playing time. We were obviously having trouble with protection," Brookhart said.
In short, the Zips ran for 6 yards on 31 tries and threw for 78.
"There were some things we thought we could do in the run game that appeared to be handled up front," Brookhart said. "They forced us into some things, longer protections, third and longs, that you don't want to be in. ... They made it very difficult to do anything well."
The Cavaliers defense asserted itself from the outset. After Sean Johnson's punt was downed at the Akron 1 following the opening series, Virginia stuffed one run and forced Frye into two hurried passes, neither of which was close to a completion, to quickly force the Zips to punt.
Pearman returned it 11 yards to the Akron 34, and it took just three plays -- a 5-yard run by Jason Snelling, a 13-yard run by Lundy and Hagans' 16-yard pass to Miller -- to start the Cavaliers on their third rout.
They previously beat Temple 44-14, and North Carolina 56-24.
The only drama came in the second quarter, after Pearman was leveled for the second consecutive time on a punt return, each time drawing a 15-yard flag against the Zips. With Groh jawing at an official, Pearman ran 9 yards and then broke off the 27-yard TD run.
Virginia finished with 522 yards -- 326 on the ground -- and got their last touchdown on Brandon Isaiah's 5-yard run with 5:04 remaining.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||1-16||6-14|
|4th Down Conversions||1-3||1-1|
|TD||9:46||HEATH MILLER 16 YD PASS FROM MARQUES HAGANS (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 34 yards.
|TD||2:42||WALI LUNDY 1 YD RUN (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||10:49||ALVIN PEARMAN 27 YD RUN (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 36 yards.
|TD||10:27||WALI LUNDY 6 YD RUN (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 6 yards.
|TD||1:44||HEATH MILLER 3 YD PASS FROM MARQUES HAGANS (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 96 yards.
|FG||4:02||CONNOR HUGHES 31 YD FG|
Drive info: 14 plays, 52 yards.
|TD||2:07||WALI LUNDY 44 YD RUN (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 44 yards.
|TD||5:04||BRANDON ISAIAH 5 YD RUN (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 67 yards.