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
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
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
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
By then, it was 44-0 and Virginia's backups were dominating,
too, with the sideline focus becoming the third shutout in the last
"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
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
"Coach [Al] Groh always says you judge a quarterback by his
wins," said Miller, who caught six passes. "He's got three under
Lundy gained 142 yards on 22 carries before he and Hagans left
in the third quarter, allowing the Cavaliers to substitute
First-year Akron coach J.D. Brookhart, conversely, was thinking
protection when he lifted Frye. The Zips play at Kent State on
"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
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
Virginia finished with 522 yards -- 326 on the ground -- and got
their last touchdown on Brandon Isaiah's 5-yard run with 5:04