Virginia, which has not won more than five football games in a season in 10 years, continued its fantasy today.
The Cavaliers, behind the running of Tommy Vigorito and Greg Taylor, steamrolled Atlantic Coast Conference rival Duke, 30-12, to record their third victory in four games.
It was the first ACC victory for the Cavaliers since 1977 when they whipped Wake Forest. It also marked Virginia's first victory over Duke since 1973.
"We showed that not only are we the smartest school in the conference, we're a pretty good football team," declared a jubilant Taylor.
Before a giddy homecoming crowd of 25,947 fans, the Cavaliers scored 17 points in the second period, withstood a Duke charge in the third and coasted home.
Vigorito and Taylor accounted for 233 yards rushing, each player going over the 100-yard mark on the ground for the second consecutive week.
In addition, freshman Wayne Morison kicked field goals of 29, 39 and 22 yards for the Cavaliers.
Vigorito, a 188-pound junior, gained 126 yards on 17 carries, including a two-yard touchdown plunge in the second quarter. It put the Cavaliers ahead for good, 10-3.
Taylor, who also carried 17 times, followed moments later with a 41-yard touchdown charge. He finished with 107 yards.
For Virginia Coach Dick Bestwick the day could not have been more enjoyable. In his fourth season, Bestwick's Cavalier record prior to this year was 4-28-1; and the alumni have had their fill of football jokes, lopsided defeats and excuses.
No excuses were needed from the Virginia side today.
We hoped to mix our attack," Bestwick said, noting Virginia's 111 passing yards. Then, in a rare example of a Virginia coach looking ahead to next week in a postgame news conference, he added: "We're going to have to be able to throw the ball against Clemson."
Duke (2-1) came into the game with a defense that had surrendered an average of 340 yards a game on the ground while its pass defense was ranked third nationally.
So a running attack figured, with Virginia the only major college in the country with two runners averaging more than 100 yards a game.
"We wanted to run the ball," Taylor said. "But we threw a lot of passes (19) to keep the defense honest."
There were 11 penalties assessed against Virginia for 103 yards and Bestwick was tolerant even of that. "Not having been in this situation much, like ever, we lost our intensity. I think our players knew they were going to win. It was just a question of what we would win by if we played well."
Virginia led at the end of the half, 20-3. The Blue Devils had a devil of a time doing anything right, fumbling six times and losing three.
On Duke's first possession, running back Greg Rhett fumbled the ball away on his 43-yard line. But Virginia failed to score in the first of what Bestwick called "passed up opportunities."
Duke also fumbled away its second possession, but this time Virginia's Duke tied the score on Scott McKinney's 29-yarder.
In the second period, Vigorito and Taylor took over. In Virginia's first possession Vigorito carried four times for 23 yards, with a two-yard plunge for the first of three Virginia touchdowns.
The next time Virginia got the ball, it was Taylor's turn. With second and six on Duke's 41, Taylor took a pitch out on the right side from starting quarterback Todd Kirtley, ran wide and cut back against the grain for a touchdown.
"Once I was in the open field, I got a super block from Ted Marchibroda (son of the Colts' coach, Ted Sr.) and it was easy," said Taylor.
Morrison added another field goal (39 yards) before the half to give the Cavs a 17-point lead. It seemed as if it should have been more.
Virginia fumbled away the second-half kickoff, setting up a 27-yard field goal by McKinney. With five minutes gone in the third quarter, Duke quarterback Craig Browning connected with wide receiver Ron Fredrick on a 43-yard play that made the score 20-12.
But Morrison repelled the Duke comeback with a 22-yard field goal. Virginia's Jim Hyson, a 6-foot-3, 229-pount freshman linebacker, iced the game by intercepting a pass and returning it 56 yards for a touchdown with 57 seconds left in the third quarter.