Local News

Unsung Ground Game Key For Virginia

Posted September 23, 2002 5:58 a.m. EDT

— Almost overlooked in the aftermath of Matt Schaub's five touchdown pass performance against Akron was that Virginia's rushing attack had a pretty big day, too, gaining 212 yards on 30 carries.

Wali Lundy led with 102 yards on 15 carries, a 6.8-yard average, and Alvin Pearman had 81 yards on six tries, including a 62-yard burst.

It was just the kind of day coach Al Groh has been looking for since arriving in Charlottesville last year, and he said a foundation in rugged players is only a part of why the Cavaliers' ground game is improved.

"All of us coaches want to talk about the techniques that we teach and the schemes that we use," Groh said. "But all those great running games have one thing in common: backs that can make yards on their own.

"I would like to make sure that any answer I give to that question puts a large measure of credit on the improvement in the running game on the backs themselves rather than on coaching genius," he added.

Lundy, a freshman, leads the Cavaliers with 238 yards on 54 carries, a 4.4-yard average. Pearman has 196 yards on 34 tries, or 5.8 per rush.

Schaub has thrown 12 touchdown passes in four games and is among the leaders nationally in quarterback rating. That success, Groh said, has helped make it more difficult for defenses to decide where to focus.

"From my experiences, that's the most difficult game to try to call," he said of a coach's decision to stop one attack. Make the wrong choice, he said, and, "That just brings your demise a little bit faster."