No. 10 Virginia slams Clemson

Associated Press

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Guard Elton Brown and his Virginia teammates don't care that their national ranking and gaudy offensive numbers have been questioned.

The Cavaliers figure they've justified their No. 10 ranking by dominating all of their opponents, including a convincing 30-10 victory over Clemson on Thursday night.

When Brown looked across the line at Clemson's defenders in the second half, he saw a team about to give in. The Cavaliers did all they could to make the Tigers their fifth victim of the season.

"We saw they were getting tired," Brown said. "We just wanted to get out after it and just let it go. Coach put the ball in our hands and we responded."


The Cavaliers (5-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) ran the ball with ease in the second half, putting together three scoring drives and another to the 5-yard line. In the process, they made believers of the Tigers, who were dealt their fourth straight setback.

"They're a running team," Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst said. "In the second half, we had a couple of three-and-outs and they drove it."

The Cavaliers play pretty good defense, too. After Clemson drove 80 yards in six plays on its first drive to take a 7-0 lead, the Tigers managed just 131 yards and seven first downs the rest of the way.

"When you drive it down like that in pretty convincing style, you're expecting you can do it again," Whitehurst said. "We didn't."

Alvin Pearman ran for 104 yards and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to help Virginia seal its first 5-0 start since 1998.

"Whatever coach needs me to do, I'm willing to do so," said the senior, who also returns punts and plays wide receiver. "Today, I just happened to be carrying the rock a little more and I'll take that."

Virginia won its eighth straight and has nine days to prepare for its toughest test yet -- at No. 8 Florida State a week from Saturday.

The Cavaliers certainly looked ready against the Tigers.


Clemson (1-4, 1-3) drove easily downfield on its opening drive, using a 56-yard pass from Whitehurst to tight end Ben Hall to set up a 5-yard TD reception by Duane Coleman after just 3:11.

But all the Tigers added was a 43-yard field goal by Jad Dean on their third possession -- capping a drive that covered only 16 yards.

Connor Hughes had field goals of 21, 43 and 50 yards, and the Cavaliers gained 239 yards on the ground, 225 through the air. Heath Miller added a 5-yard touchdown catch to give Virginia a 13-10 halftime lead.

Playing without defensive end and captain Chris Canty for the first time after he had season-ending surgery, the Cavaliers looked just as dominant on defense as they had in blowout wins in their first four games.

Clemson rushed for just 45 yards on 21 carries.

"The players knew what the challenges were in front of them, and I thought they responded to those challenges," Virginia coach Al Groh said.

The Tigers also had no answer for Virginia's running game, getting a reprieve only when Wali Lundy fumbled after running for a first down at the Clemson 5 in the third quarter. Travis Pugh recovered for the Tigers.

Three plays later, the Tigers were forced to punt from their 22, Pearman took over at tailback and the Cavaliers put the game away.


Virginia scored the last 27 points.

Whitehurst finished 16-of-28 for 166 yards and threw his 11th interception of the season. Tony Franklin made the pick for Virginia.

Hagans was 14-of-26 for 225 yards.

Virginia honored former coach George Welsh at halftime. He coached the Cavaliers for 19 seasons and is their leader in career victories with 189. He'll be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December.

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