3:30 PM ET, September 25, 2004
Scott Stadium, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Marques Hagans didn't need to show all of his talents in three blowout victories for Virginia.
Now that he has, the 12th-ranked Cavaliers look even more imposing.
Hagans ran for two touchdowns, including a 59-yard run on a broken play, and completed 11 of 12 passes for 202 yards and a clinching touchdown Saturday in Virginia's 31-10 victory over Syracuse 31-10.
"Some of the plays, they just presented themselves and I just made the most of them," said Hagans, who ran for 81 yards on six carries.
"Coach always tells me that I have the ability to make plays with my legs and when they present themselves within the system, then I just have to be able to capitalize. Today I think I did that."
Wali Lundy added a 27-yard run for his 10th touchdown of the season for the Cavaliers (4-0), and Michael McGrew caught a 39-yard pass from Hagans midway through the final quarter to put away the Orange (2-2).
The game also likely dealt a big blow to Virginia's defense because end Chris Canty had to be helped off the field shortly after the touchdown, and coach Al Groh said he expected the injury to be serious.
"You can probably see by the way that he left that he probably doesn't have an insignificant injury," Groh said, adding that he had not yet been told the extent or nature of the injury to the senior defensive captain.
An extended absence by Canty would put more of an onus on Virginia's offense to keep up its high-scoring ways, and Hagans looks up to it.
"Two rushing touchdowns, 11-for-12. It speaks for itself," guard Elton Brown said. "He's becoming a great quarterback. We're glad to have him."
Groh billed the game as the truest test of his team, and it proved to be on the opening drive, when the Orange drove 68 yards for a field goal behind sophomore Perry Patterson, making his first start at quarterback.
But that was it for Syracuse until the third quarter. They trailed 21-3 by halftime. Virginia has outscored its opponents 120-13 in the first half.
Hagans made it 7-3 with his big run. Flushed from the pocket on third-and-8 from his own 41, he scrambled right and finally tucked the ball and took off, outrunning the Orange defenders down the sideline for the TD.
"It felt good to get outside the pocket and run in the open field," he said. "It's been a while."
Lundy made it 14-3 one play after a 36-yard punt return by Alvin Pearman. Running first into traffic on the line, Lundy suddenly emerged through a hole and headed 27 yards for the corner of the end zone.
Hagans' 10-yard draw made it 21-3 with 19 seconds left in the half.
The Orange drove 80 yards in 15 plays with their first possession in the second half, Damien Rhodes scoring on a 2-yard run. After a Virginia field goal, Syracuse again drove deep into Cavaliers territory, threatening to pull within seven with a touchdown. But tight end Joe Kowalewski dropped a fourth-and-goal pass from the 4 in the end zone.
Eight plays later, Hagans hit McGrew in the other end zone from 39 yards out, capping an 8-play, 96-yard drive that all but clinched it.
"The problem in the second half was we couldn't get the ball back," Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "What if we score on that fourth and 4? What if we get the ball right back? ... I just wish we could have gotten the ball back just to see what would have happened."
The Orange's problems went deeper than one drive, though, and centered on how to stop Hagans from beating them with his feet and his arm.
"When you're playing a quarterback who is as quick and fast as their quarterback, you can't afford to be out of step at all," Pasqualoni said.
Hagans' completions included several of the dazzling variety, the best of which came as he scrambled to his right and threw a bullet back toward the center of the field, just out of the reach of two defenders deep downfield and into the hands of tight end Heath Miller for 54 yards.
"A big-time throw," Groh said. "Right on the belt."
Patterson also played well. He finished 15-for-23 for 141 yards. Tailbacks Walter Reyes and Rhodes managed only 117 yards on 34 carries.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-13||5-10|
|4th Down Conversions||1-2||1-1|
|FG||7:53||COLLIN BARBER 26 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 68 yards.
|TD||4:30||MARQUES HAGANS 59 YD RUN (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 82 yards.
|TD||13:15||WALI LUNDY 27 YD RUN (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 27 yards.
|TD||0:19||MARQUES HAGANS 10 YD RUN (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 67 yards.
|TD||7:32||DAMIEN RHODES 2 YD RUN (COLLIN BARBER KICK)|
Drive info: 15 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||3:17||CONNOR HUGHES 36 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 55 yards.
|TD||8:03||MICHAEL MCGREW 39 YD PASS FROM MARQUES HAGANS (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 96 yards.