CHARLOTTESVILLE, SEPT. 29 -- This was the game that Coach George Welsh has insisted all along could happen to the Cavaliers, and for two quarters, Division I-AA William and Mary looked like the spoilers of Virginia's magical season.
The No. 7 Cavaliers surrendered more points to William and Mary today than they allowed in their first four games combined. But in the end it didn't matter, as Virginia rolled over the Tribe, 63-35.
Virginia (5-0) set a record for an Atlantic Coast Conference team by scoring 50 points for the fourth time in a season, and fell two yards short of the school's total offense record, 691 yards set in 1969 against Davidson.
Welsh worried throughout the preseason that his defense, which includes three new linebackers, would falter, although the results before today -- one touchdown allowed by the first string -- seemed to indicate otherwise.
"Teams have not executed against us," Welsh said. "This is the first team that did . . . and it showed. I'm not unhappy about it. It's good for our team to be in the game at the half. We had to suck it up, and played pretty well in the third quarter."
Well enough to rack up 29 points and squash the upset hopes of William and Mary (2-2), which won here in 1986, led at halftime two years ago, and knocked out five Virginia players with injuries last season.
"We slacked off today," said Cavaliers defensive tackle Joe Hall. "I don't have an explanation for it. We're not a good defense unless we play hard. We can't just show up and expect to win."
Tailbacks Terry Kirby and Nikki Fisher became the first Virginia duo in four years to each rush for more than 100 yards while the Cavaliers racked up more than 60 points for the first time since a 69-9 victory over James Madison in 1979.
Kirby, the 1988 consensus national high school player of the year, ran 23 times for 188 yards and four touchdowns. Fisher, who ran for back-to-back 100-yard games as a freshman in 1988 only to spend last season behind Kirby and then-starter Marcus Wilson, racked up 164 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Through five games, Fisher has rushed 50 times for 462 yards, for an average of 9.2 yards a carry.
"With this offense, there's enough carries for both of us," said Kirby, Virginia's leading rusher with 521 yards. "It's two different styles of running, but it works out great."
The Tribe managed 530 yards offensively, more than any of Virginia's Division I-A opponents. Quarterback Chris Hakel completed 29 of 48 passes for 326 yards and a touchdown, while fullback Tyrone Shelton rushed 16 times for 94 yards.
William and Mary surrendered 63 points for the first time since a 63-3 loss to Syracuse in 1923. Hakel, a junior, set personal career records in passing yardage, completions, and attempts.
"We scored more points than anyone else against them, so I'm happy with that," William and Mary Coach Jimmye Laycock said. "But obviously we didn't play very well on defense."
The Cavaliers scored three times in the first five minutes of the third quarter to build the lead to 49-21. Kirby's second touchdown run -- a 15-yard dash -- capped a four-play drive. Hakel's ensuing first-down pass was batted high in the air by nose guard Ron Carey and caught by Hall -- the first interception of his football career.
That gave Virginia possession at the Tribe 24, and Kirby bulled in from the 11 three plays later. Welsh substituted Fisher on the next series, and he high-stepped 19 yards over three defenders for his second touchdown.
Quarterback Shawn Moore became Virginia's all-time leading passer in the first quarter, surpassing Scott Gardner with a 43-yard heave to Herman Moore, who outraced J.D. Gibbs, son of Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs. Herman Moore's touchdown reception, the 21st of his career, also set a Virginia record. Moore, a leading contender for the Heisman Trophy, completed 15 of 26 passes for 291 yards and rushed five times for 21.
Virginia, which had outscored its opponents by an average of 41 points going into the game, trailed for only the second time this season when William and Mary tailback Robert Green's two-yard run gave the Tribe a 7-3 lead midway through the first quarter.
"We blew so many assignments," Virginia cornerback Jason Wallace said. "We put the pressure on ourselves instead of on them."
Hakel's one-yard bootleg made the score 24-21, Virginia before Jake McInerney's second field goal gave Virginia a six-point lead at the half.
"In the first half, they won on the field, but we beat them on the scoreboard," Virginia defensive end Chris Slade said. "We took them for granted because things have been going so easy for us. Now we know what our weaknesses are."
Virginia gets its first inseason off week in two years before hosting North Carolina State on Oct. 13. The Cavaliers, who are averaging 51 points and 563 yards offensively a game, defeated all six of their remaining opponents last season.
"This was good for the team," Slade said. "Now we won't take anyone for granted."