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Daniel Hamm and Kevin Parks each rushed for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns as the Cavaliers overcame a sluggish start.
Virginia running back Kevin Parks (25) lunges forward for extra yardage against Virginia Military Institute in Charlottesville on Saturday.
Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses (78) lifts quarterback David Watford (5) after a touchdown as Daniel Hamm (22) walks past against VMI in Charlottesville on Saturday.
Virginia defensive tackle Brent Urban (99) pressures VMI quarterback Eric Kordenbrock (14) in Charlottesville on Saturday.]
VMI wide receiver Dane Forlines is tackled by Virginia safety Anthony Harris (8) in Charlottesville on Saturday.
VMI defensive back James Fruehan intercepts a tipped pass against Virginia in Charlottesville on Saturday.]
Virginia defensive end Max Valles (88) hauls down VMI quarterback Eric Kordenbrock (14) as Kordenbrock gets rid of the ball in Charlottesville on Saturday.
RYAN M. KELLY | The (Charlotteville) Daily Progress
Virginia tailback Daniel Hamm rushes for a touchdown against VMI in the third quarter at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville.
Virginia running back Kevin Parks (25) squeezes in for a touchdown as VMI defensive back Alex James (20) closes in on Saturday in Charlottesville.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE — The serious rain didn’t arrive at Scott Stadium until midway through the third quarter Saturday.
Virginia couldn’t wait that long.
Visiting VMI had little sanctuary from a deluge of UVa touchdowns that resulted in a 49-0 victory and Mike London’s first shutout victory in four seasons as the Cavaliers’ coach.
UVa’s last previous shutout was in 2008, when the Cavaliers blanked Richmond and Maryland, but Saturday’s performance was more about Virginia’s offense.
Junior running back Kevin Parks and walk-on freshman Daniel Hamm each ran for two touchdowns and Parks finished with a career-high 204 all-purpose yards (135 rushing, 69 receiving).
If possible, he might have been upstaged by Hamm, who was making the first appearance of his college career. Hamm carried 21 times for 136 yards.
“I was expecting a little bit of playing time; I wasn’t expecting what happened,” said Hamm, a 2013 graduate of Fort Chiswell High School. “I knew, if Kevin needed a break, I’d be the next back to go in. But, it was shocking to me, actually.”
Khalek Shepherd and Taquan Mizzell had relieved Parks in previous games, but both were nursing foot injuries that were not resolved during an open date.
“Three weeks ago, he was running with the scout team,” UVa coach Mike London said, “and today he comes out and gets over 100 yards. He definitely was an asset for us.”
The day could not have started more inauspiciously for the Cavaliers, who failed to pick up a first down on their first two series and then saw their next two drives end when quarterback David Watford was intercepted.
Virginia got all the scoring it would need on a 61-yard Parks touchdown run with 12:38 remaining in the second quarter, but with fewer than four minutes remaining in the half, it was a 7-0 game.
“Obviously, we were a little frustrated,” said London, who noted that the Cavaliers also were unable to capitalize on a blocked punt that gave them possession at the VMI 24.
“You just have to continue to keep playing. You have to believe in your guys and encourage them because they are out there playing hard. Once we got back on task, the points started to come and they started to come quickly.”
UVa scored twice in 69 seconds to end the first half, including a 38-yard touchdown pass from Watford to Tim Smith at the two-minute mark. On a ball that looked as if it were beyond his reach, Smith seemingly found a new gear.
“I had to turn it up a little bit,” Smith said. “I can’t lie. I’ve seen it on replay a couple of times. That was probably one of the more difficult catches I’ve ever made, so I’d have to rate it up there pretty high.”
After a slow start, Watford completed 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards, and he also carried eight times for 33 yards, notching the first rushing touchdown of his career.
Watford’s 1-yard touchdown run with 3:06 remaining in the third quarter put the Cavaliers ahead 42-0 and signaled the end to his day. Virginia was to score touchdowns on six straight possessions, the last with redshirt quarterback Greyson Lambert behind center.
Another redshirt freshman quarterback, Matt Johns, made his debut with 7:22 left and did not attempt a pass on the Cavaliers’ final two possessions. By then, only the VMI corps of cadets and a few hearty Virginia fans remained from the announced crowd of 40,165.
The skies had opened and Watford did not envy his understudies as the rain, originally forecast for earlier in the day, grew heavier by the moment.
“I had dealt with it in the BYU game, so I was feeling for those guys,” said Watford, referring to the Cavaliers’ opener, when Scott Stadium was evacuated as the result of lightning. “Another rain delay wouldn’t have been good for us.”
Coming into the game, Virginia (2-1) had ranked 99th out of 123 FBS teams in rushing offense (116.5 yards per game) and 119th in total offense (260.5). On Saturday, the Cavaliers rushed for 357 yards and had 580 yards in total offense.
Of course, some of that had to do with the opposition. The Cavaliers’ first two games were against Brigham Young and No. 2 ranked-Oregon. On Saturday, they faced a VMI team that has lost its last four games to UVa by a count of 169-7.
“I thought our defense played as hard as they could,” said VMI coach Sparky Woods, a one-time UVa offensive coordinator. “Obviously, we couldn’t get anything going offensively and that was too much to ask of our defense.”
Virginia limited the Keydets (1-3) to 79 yards in total offense. VMI was 1 of 16 on third-down conversions, but next the Cavaliers go on the road for the first time against a Pittsburgh team that outlasted Duke 58-55 in Durham, N.C., on Saturday.
Said UVa co-captain Luke Bowanko, “Maybe their legs will still be tired.”
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