Not even injuries to his first two quarterbacks could dim Coach George Welsh's enthusiasm today after Virginia scored more than 30 points in consecutive games for the first time since 1968.
Starting quarterback Wayne Schuchts went out with bruised ribs early in the third quarter. Mike Eck dislocated his right thumb on the second play of the fourth period, but by then the Cavaliers' 37-6 victory over Virginia Military was assured.
"Eck is going to have surgery tomorrow," Welsh said. "I don't know yet about Wayne. I know the doctor said he couldn't play today."
Gordie Whitehead, who started seven games last season before separating his left shoulder, made his first appearance of the season. He tried one pass and fumbled twice.
"I couldn't tell whose fault they were," Welsh said about the fumbles. "Whitehead hasn't practiced very much and I didn't have any plans to put him in this week."
Whitehead was contending for the starting job when he injured his right shoulder in preseason practice.
"I don't know if I can play next week or not," Schuchts said. "I'm getting X-rayed Monday."
As long as Antonio Rice continues so well, Welsh can't be too concerned about who does the handing off. Rice gained 153 yards in 29 carries, including a six-yard scoring run.
"He's running much better," Welsh said of Rice. "He's reading defenses better, he's running harder, he's bouncing off people and getting extra yardage. What more can you ask?"
VMI (4-4) had possession for 20 minutes in the first half, outgaining the Cavaliers, 170-126, in total offense yardage. But the Keydets were mistake-prone. Virginia used an interception, a 25-yard punt and a fumble on the VMI six to score three times and lead, 20-0, at halftime.
Pat Chester's interception -- his 13th, a school record -- set up the first touchdown. On the seventh play of the 47-yard drive, wingback Quentin Walker took a reverse, stopped to pass and almost was sacked. He sprinted right, faked one defender out near the 20 and zig-zagged into the end zone.
The Keydets clipped on the kickoff and after losing two yards on three running plays, punted from their nine. The kick carried only 25 yards. Schuchts passed 19 yards to Nick Merrick, then 10 to Henry Johnson. After Darren Goode went off tackle four yards to the one, Schuchts faked, hid the ball on his hip and rolled left for the touchdown.
Tackle Tom Kilgannon recovered a VMI fumble on the losers' six and Rice broke off tackle for the third touchdown with 1:41 left in the half.
By that time VMI was playing under a severe handicap. Its best offensive player, quarterback Kelley Raber, was out with a neck injury. X-rays showed no fracture, but the Keydets had to go with 5-foot-9, 155-pound Johnny Miller at quarterback the rest of the way.
VMI's only touchdown came midway through the fourth quarter on a 38-yard drive against Virginia's reserves. The Cavaliers, with Whitehead in charge, then put together a 74-yard drive for the final score.