The University of Virginia traveled 135 miles to play for the annual lease on the state's football love and devotion and came away today with nothing but sorrow and pity. Virginia Tech manhandled the Cavs 30-0.
It was humiliation, being shut out. It was embarrassment, not crossing midfield for three quarters. It was devastation, beign shut out without crossing midfield for three quarters in front of 52,000 fans, the largest crowd ever to see an athletic event in the state.
A dismayed Virginia Coach Dick Bestwick said, "Well, obviously it was the poorest game we've played in the 4 1/2 years I've been here."
Bestwick was changing quarterbacks throughout the game like a shuttle-bus operation.
"We didn't really change quarterbacks due to different situations," Bestwick said. "When Lindsay (Delaney) began having some mental errors and was not executing, we then brought Todd (Kirtley) in. Finally, we thought it was only fair to give Gordie (Whitehead) a chance."
Whitehead probably didn't relish the chance. Tech's defense, led by end Robert Brown, was immovable. Brown, a physical replica of former Maryland star Randy White, was all over Cavalier passers despite multiple coverage.
Tech, on the other hand, ran right at Virginia. Coach Bill Dooley's Hokies rushed for 302 yards on 63 attempts. Forty of those attempts (a school record) were by tailback Cyrus Lawrence, and he gained 194 yards. Tech's offense outgained Virginia, 410-122.
"I didn't think we'd win by this kind of margin but I did feel before the game that we would be able to move the ball on Virginia," said Dooley. "Defensively, we had a lot of heroes."
It takes some heroes to hold a team behind midfield for three quarters. UVA didn't cross the stripe until the fourth quarter and, as soon as the Cavs did, Tech threw them back for massive losses.
After taking a 17-0 halftime lead, Tech was quiet in the third quarter before exploding in th final 15 minutes. A 71-yard, 10-play drive clinched the game. Lawrence, inert in the third quarter, ran five times in the drive, picking up 55 yards including a five-yard touchdown run. A Tech interception 47 seconds later led to another Lawrence score from one yard.
In the first half, Virginia's offense did spend some time on the field but it was hard to remember when. With four minutes left in the half, Lawrence had run the ball 23 times, seven more times than the entire Virginia offense. For the half, Tech controlled the ball for 20 minutes to Virginia's 10, ran 46 plays to Virginia's 22 and gained 257 yards to Virginia's 54.
"We went with the second-string offense near the end of the first half because our offense spent so much time on the field," said Dooley.
Nevertheless, Virginia was down by just 3-0 for most of the half.
After getting a 27-yard field goal by Dennis Laury on their first possession, the Hokies marched down the field repeatedly, but without results. pWhenever it seemed Tech was ready to get into scoring position, the Hokies would give Lawrence the ball when he was either exhausted or keyed upon by the Cav defense. Lawerence ran for 113 yards in the half on 25 carries.
With 6:20 left in the half, the Virginia defense looked exhausted. Tech quarterback Steve Casey hit freshman Tony Page with a 16-yard pass and a 13-yard run by Lawrence followed to put the ball at the Cavalier 20. Faced with fourth and three at the 13, Dooley gambled and won with an option to Lawrence for the first down.
The play seemed a turning point. The Cave defense thought it had held Tech to another three points; instead, moments later, Casey found tight end Rob Purdham in the end zone for six points.