Virginia tailback Wali Lundy, who hasn't played since spraining his left foot during the first quarter of the Sept. 3 opener against Western Michigan, is improving and could play in Saturday's homecoming game against Duke at Scott Stadium.

Lundy, a senior from Willingboro, N.J., was expected to play in last Saturday's 27-24 victory at Syracuse, but after testing his foot during pregame warmups at the Carrier Dome, coaches and trainers decided to hold him out another week.

Lundy has practiced well this week, Virginia Coach Al Groh said. "If he progresses the way that he has and continues to move on, then there's a real good chance of it."

Lundy has carried three times for 29 yards this season. He gained at least 800 rushing yards in each of his first three seasons and his 41 career non-passing touchdowns are the most in modern Virginia history.

In Lundy's absence, redshirt freshman Cedric Peerman and junior Michael Johnson have combined to run for 245 yards and four touchdowns during the No. 23 Cavaliers' two games. Peerman had a touchdown run and catch against the Orange, and Johnson scored on a career-long 70-yard run.

Johnson Ineligible

Sophomore defensive end Chris Johnson, who started four games as a freshman in 2004, has been ruled academically ineligible and won't play this season. Johnson, from Charlottesville, will seek re-admission to the university sometime next year, Groh said.

Johnson, who led the Cavaliers' freshmen with 27 tackles last season, is the fifth Virginia player to be ruled academically ineligible this year. Sophomore cornerback Philip Brown, who was expected to be the team's nickel back, was ruled academically ineligible during the preseason.

Silent on Brooks

During his weekly news conference with reporters in Charlottesville on Tuesday, Groh offered no update on junior linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who hasn't played this season after undergoing March surgery to regenerate bone growth in his right knee.

"I'm not indulging any questions about Ahmad today," Groh said. "So, I thought we would cut the silliness off at the pass."

Brooks, from Hylton High, has been unavailable to reporters throughout training camp and the season. An all-American and Butkus Award finalist last season, Brooks was considered a possible first-round selection in April's NFL draft before the injury.

Hughes, Parham Honored

Senior Connor Hughes was named ACC special teams players of the week after his 19-yard field goal with no time left beat Syracuse. It was Virginia's first game-winning field goal as time expired since Jake McInerney kicked a 37-yarder to beat Louisville, 16-15, on Oct. 28, 1989. It was only the second time since 1971 that the Cavaliers have won a game on the last play of the game. Junior linebacker Kai Parham was named ACC defensive lineman of the week after he had eight tackles and a career-high three sacks against the Orange. . . .

The Oct. 1 game at Maryland will kick off at noon at Byrd Stadium. The game will be televised by Jefferson Pilot Sports. Duke backup quarterback Curt Dukes, halfback Ben Patrick, wide receiver Deon Adams and linebacker Codey Lowe, who didn't play in the Blue Devils' 40-14 victory over Division I-AA Virginia Military Institute last Saturday, are expected to play against the Cavaliers, Coach Ted Roof said.