CHARLOTTESVILLE, SEPT. 15 -- When Navy dropped Pittsburgh and Syracuse from this year's schedule, it figured to have an easier time than usual. What the Midshipmen did not consider was that they would have to face what is probably the best team in Virginia's 102-year football history.

The 11th-ranked and undefeated Cavaliers amassed 664 yards of offense today, built a 49-point lead in the first 39 minutes and won their third straight by humiliating Navy, 56-14. Only one team has scored more points against the Midshipmen, Michigan, in a 70-14 rout in 1976.

Virginia quarterback Shawn Moore threw four touchdown passes and ran for two before leaving in the third quarter. Moore completed 13 of 22 for 250 yards and carried seven times for 38 as he became the Cavaliers' all-time leader in total offense with 6,081 yards.

Meanwhile, Navy's Alton Grizzard missed on his first eight passes under a relentless Virginia rush. He eventually clicked on 19 of 44 for 223 yards. With 2 1/2 minutes left, Grizzard took a crushing hit from freshman Matt Mikeska, but picked himself up and finished the game.

"Grizzard needs the work," Navy Coach George Chaump explained. "It's a long season and this is a rush course for Grizzard. He has to spend this time for his improvement. We can't afford to take him out. Everything went against him today, but he did come back."

The final score could have been much worse -- and almost was. Although Virginia did not score in the fourth quarter, many of the 39,400 fans thought it had. There were boos after tailback David Brown fumbled at the goal line and the play was ruled a touchback when the ball rolled through the end zone.

Cavaliers Coach George Welsh used every player at his disposal, except for a few freshmen he plans to redshirt. That made a lot of parents happy, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who got to see his son, third-string linebacker Yusef, make three tackles.

"I wanted to get it over," Welsh said. "I said to one of the officials on the sideline, 'Don't stop the clock on first downs.' I guess they can't do that, but I think they speeded it up as much as they could."

For Moore, the day was not quite perfect. When cornerback Darrell Graham picked off one of his second-period passes, it ended a school-record string of 125 without an interception. But Heisman Trophy voters would have to be very picky to let that single blot affect their thinking.

Moore, quite simply, was sensational. He opened the scoring with a 45-yard pass to split end Herman Moore, hurdled a Navy tackler and dashed 23 yards for a second score, then threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to flanker Derek Dooley. That was in the first quarter.

Before he left, Moore threw scoring passes of 26 yards to tailback Terry Kirby and two yards to Herman Moore. With 7:09 left in the third period, he dove a yard to make it 42-0 and waved goodbye.

"It was all right," said Moore, a notorious self-critic. "I've still got to put one together. To me they {the Navy defenders} were very feisty, very tough and hard-nosed. We did a good job executing, that was the key."

In some respects, it was like an execution, with four of Virginia's scoring drives taking less than one minute.

Just when Navy's defense appeared to be stabilizing, the Cavaliers pounded out back-to-back scores. In the first period, the score went from 7-0 to 21-0 in 30 seconds, the touchdowns separated by three incomplete Navy passes. In the third, it rose from 35-0 to 49-0 in 31 seconds, tailback Nikki Fisher racing 54 yards on the first play after free safety Keith McMeans intercepted a Grizzard pass.

"When I came here, I expected a major upset or getting sent home somewhat embarrassed," Chaump said. "No question, we were embarrassed. But we knew it would take a lot on our part and a lot of things going against them. Instead, things went against us."

Partly because of Virginia's overwhelming defensive line and partly because of penalties, Navy was unable to move past its 35 on its first eight possessions, during which it managed only two first downs and fell behind by 28-0.

"They blocked us and we couldn't block them," Chaump said. "Their line was just too big and quick for us. We couldn't block them and we couldn't get to their quarterback. When there's no pressure on the passer, they're going to complete it."

Navy held Virginia on its first possession, but got the ball on its 8-yard line for clipping on an unreturnable punt into the end zone. Twice on their second possession, the Midshipmen were charged with illegal procedure. A third-down pass interference gave impetus to Virginia's second touchdown drive and pass interference in the end zone wiped out an interception just before halftime, Virginia making it 35-0 on the next play. To top off the inept execution, Navy was called for offensive pass interference on its first possession of the third quarter, negating an apparent first down.

"We made a lot of mistakes," Chaump said. "But we'll learn from this experience. We're not going to fold our tents. We're going to get better."

It is difficult to imagine, but Virginia expects to get better too. Welsh said he thought his team went to sleep in the second half, although he had kind words for a defense that intercepted three passes, recovered a fumble, sacked Grizzard three times and made three other tackles for losses.

"I got angry Wednesday and maybe they went to bed instead of staying up," Welsh said. "But they certainly jumped around on defense and made some big plays. When it was close, we didn't give them anything."

Shawn Moore tied an ACC record with his involvement in six touchdowns, but Welsh said: "As long as he keeps us winning, that's all I want. I don't think this is the time for records."