CHARLOTTESVILLE, OCT. 24 -- Virginia cranked up its sometimes-scary passing offense for a 35-21 victory over Wake Forest in an Atlantic Coast Conference game before 32,500 at Scott Stadium, pushing the game out of reach early by overpowering the Demon Deacons' highly touted defense for 25 points in its first four possessions.
Senior quarterback Scott Secules completed 20 of 25 passes for 220 yards -- his school-record fifth consecutive game over 200 yards -- and sophomore fullback Durwin Greggs rushed for two touchdowns as the Cavaliers had 438 yards total offense to overcome three touchdowns by Wake Forest wingback Ricky Proehl.
Virginia (4-4, 2-2 in the ACC) broke a two-game losing streak. The Demon Deacons, who entered the game with the top-rated pass defense in the ACC, dropped to 5-2 and 2-2.
"We think we can throw on anyone if we have the time," Secules said. "It was easy tonight because I had the time to wait for our guys to run their patterns."
"We took an old-fashioned whipping," Wake Forest Coach Bill Dooley said. "Give Virginia credit. They executed very well, and got every big third-down play they needed. We couldn't stop them running and we couldn't stop them passing."
Virginia made it look easy in the first half, rolling up 319 yards and 25 points against a Wake Forest defense that entered the game ranked third in the nation in scoring defense, surrendering just 9.3 points per game, and sixth in pass defense.
The Cavaliers scored on each of their first four possessions, driving 80, 74, 87 and 72 yards. The Demon Deacons' defense previously had given up just one touchdown drive longer than 49 yards.
Secules' clutch passing keyed each of the long drives. The Cavaliers were five for seven on third-down conversions in the first half, with each of the successes coming on a completion by Secules, who entered the game rated 13th in the nation in passing efficiency.
Virginia went 80 yards in 12 plays after the opening kickoff to take a 7-0 lead. Secules twice completed third-down passes to Derek Dooley, nephew of Bill Dooley, and connected with John Ford to take the ball to the Demon Deacons 4-yard line. Freshman tailback Marcus Wilson carried it in from there.
After Wilson Hoyle missed a 28-yard field goal for Wake Forest, Secules led the Cavaliers 74 yards in 12 plays and Mark Inderlied kicked a 22-yard field goal.
On its next possession, Virginia went 87 yards and Greggs dived one yard for a touchdown. The key play in the drive came on fourth and two, with Virginia in punt formation on its 42, when at least three Wake Forest linemen jumped offside. Proehl caught a 60-yard touchdown pass from Mike Elkins that brought the Demon Deacons within 18-7.
Just one play earlier, Virginia's Kevin Cook, who entered the game leading the nation in interceptions with six, dropped a pass from Elkins right in his hands at the Wake Forest 40 with no Demon Deacons receiver within 10 yards.
After Proehl's touchdown, the Cavaliers responded with an eight-play, 72-yard drive capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Secules to Tim Finkelston.
Virginia had another chance after Ray Savage's first career interception at the Wake Forest 48, but Inderlied's 50-yarder was wide left.
Wake Forest dominated a mistake-filled third quarter and pulled within 25-14 on Proehl's second touchdown, a three-yard run in which he lined up in the backfield and took a nifty pitch from Elkins on the option.
The Demon Deacons held the ball for nearly eight minutes after the second-half kickoff, driving to the Cavaliers 11 with a mixture of Elkins' passing and the running of tailbacks Mark Young and Tony Rogers. But as they did most of the evening offensively, the Demon Deacons self-destructed. On second and goal from the 11, Elkins badly underthrew Proehl, open in the corner of the end zone, and Virginia's Keith McMeans intercepted the ball at the goal line.
Virginia quickly put an end to any semblance of fourth-quarter drama by driving 79 yards in 10 plays for a 32-14 lead. Greggs' second touchdown followed three Wilson carries for 17 yards and a Secules-to-Wilson completion that brought the ball to the Wake Forest 5.
Inderlied added a 28-yard field goal two minutes later for a 35-14 advantage. Proehl's third touchdown, on a 16-yard pass from Elkins, closed the scoring with 3:30 remaining.
"We really needed this one," Cavaliers defensive end Sean Scott said. "We were going backward for two weeks and now we picked up the progress again."
Wake Forest 0 7 7 7 21 Virginia 7 18 0 10 35
V -- Wilson 4 run (Inderlied kick)
V -- FG Inderlied 22
V -- Greggs 1 run (Inderlied run)
WF -- Proehl 60 pass from Elkins (Hoyle kick)
V -- Finkelston 20 pass from Secules (Inderlied kick)
WF -- Proehl 3 run (Hoyle kick)
V -- Greggs 1 run (Inderlied kick)
V -- FG Inderlied 28
WF -- Proehl 16 pass from Elkins (Hoyle kick)
A -- 32,500 Wake Forest Virginia First downs 24 29 Rushes-yards 32-137 52-230 Passing yards 292 220 Return yards 00 27 Passing 22-43-4 20-25-0 Punts-average 1-37 2-36 Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-0 Penalties-yards 8-83 7-47 Tim
RUSHING -- Wake Forest: Young 21-99, Rogers 6-21, Reeves 2-8, Elkins 2-minus 2, Proehl 1-3. Virginia: Wilso
PASSING -- Wake Forest: Elkins 22-43-4, 292 yards. Virginia: Secules 20-25-0, 220.
RECEIVING -- Wake Forest: Proehl 7-129, Jarvis 6-60, Reeves 3-38, Young 3-44, Phillips 1-7, Brown 1-7, Moze