3:30 PM ET, September 24, 2005
Scott Stadium, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Virginia coach Al Groh never lost faith in Marques Hagans after the quarterback threw five interceptions in two games.
Hagans justified his coach's confidence Saturday, throwing four touchdown passes and no picks while leading the 23rd-ranked Cavaliers to a 38-7 victory over Duke.
"A lot of people were questioning his accuracy," Groh said. "His head coach wasn't one of them."
Hagans finished 13-of-21 for 174 yards, with most of the incompletions resulting from receivers' dropped balls.
His first three TD passes came on third and long, including a 46-yarder to tight end Tom Santi on third-and-24 that gave Virginia (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) a 17-0 third-quarter lead.
Groh said the success on third and long resulted from "a determination on our part to be aggressive. You've got to be aggressive on the sidelines [with play calling] sometimes."
Deyon Williams caught two touchdowns, and backup tight end John M. Phillips scored on a 12-yard pass, carrying two Duke defenders on his back the final 3 yards.
Phillips' touchdown was the first catch of the freshman's career.
"Man, it seemed like 10 seconds for him to get in there, but it was worth it," Hagans said of Phillips' effort.
The Cavaliers' offense struggled early, with tailback Wali Lundy finding little running room and receivers dropping balls.
Their first touchdown came on an early second-half drive, with eight straight runs by backup tailback Michael Johnson to move the ball from midfield inside the 10. Hagans capped the drive with a 10-yard TD pass to Williams to make it 10-0.
In the second half, though, Virginia scored touchdowns on its first four possessions to put the game out of reach.
"The offense just got in a good rhythm," Hagans said.
Virginia's defense was consistent throughout the game.
Duke did not score until the fourth quarter and managed only 11 first downs and 215 yards from scrimmage, much of which came after the game was out of hand.
The Blue Devils' woes started on the opening kickoff when return man Chris Davis could not decide whether to take the touchback and was tackled on his own 3.
Duke (1-3, 0-2) used three quarterbacks in the first quarter alone.
Starter Mike Schneider completed just 2-of-5 passes for 21 yards and an interception, while backup Zack Asack finished 7-of-13 for 87 yards and two interceptions. Curt Dukes also played briefly but did not attempt a pass.
Schneider was taken out late in the first quarter after linebacker Kai Parham forced a fumble.
"He's fumbled a couple weeks in a row," Duke coach Ted Roof said. "I'm not down on Mike Schneider, but he's got to take better care of the football."
In their only other conference game, Duke managed just 35 yards of offense in a 45-0 home loss to Virginia Tech.
Marcus Hamilton picked off two passes, one thrown by Schneider and one by Asack, who played most of the game. Tony Franklin also intercepted an Asack pass.
The only bad news for the Cavaliers were injuries to two offensive lineman, including left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, one of the best in the country, who left the game late in the first quarter with an apparent leg injury and did not return.
Groh declined to comment on Ferguson's injury after the game. Starting center Brian Barthelmes was also injured and did not return.
Johnson led the Cavaliers with 45 yards on nine carries and added a 68-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter to set up the Cavaliers' final score. Lundy finished with 20 yards on 10 carries.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... the Cavaliers scored on their first four possesions of the second half to extend their lead from 10-0 to 31-0.
Gameball goes to... Virginia's defense. The Cavs forced four turnovers and limited Duke to 215 total yards and 11 first downs.
Stat of the game... 9-15: The Cavs converted 9 of 15 third down conversions, scoring touchdowns on 3 third-and-long plays.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-15||9-15|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||0-0|
|FG||4:26||CONNOR HUGHES 32 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 9 yards.
|TD||8:30||DEYON WILLIAMS 10 YD PASS FROM MARQUES HAGANS (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 52 yards.
|TD||11:31||TOM SANTI 46 YD PASS FROM MARQUES HAGANS (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 63 yards.
|TD||8:26||JOHN PHILLIPS 12 YD PASS FROM MARQUES HAGANS (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 12 yards.
|TD||4:42||DEYON WILLIAMS 23 YD PASS FROM MARQUES HAGANS (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 23 yards.
|TD||14:53||JOMAR WRIGHT 30 YD PASS FROM ZACK ASACK (JOE SURGAN KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 78 yards.
|TD||14:36||CEDRIC PEERMAN 17 YD RUN (CONNOR HUGHES KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 17 yards.