The Virginia Cavaliers travel to Death Valley this weekend for a game of checkers [or chess] or football against the Clemson Tigers and the teams are definitely traveling in different directions. The Tigers are winners of five straight, with the offense on a roll, scoring at least 38 points in five consecutive games. Meanwhile, the Cavs have lost four straight games, and Virginia ranks 118th in the nation with 266.7 yards per game and 106th in scoring offense, averaging 19.8 points. After three straight games under 200 yards of total offense, the Cavaliers gained 298 last Saturday against Boston College – quarterback Jameel Sewell threw for 221 - but they couldn't score an offensive touchdown in a 14-10 loss.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Steve Greer, ILB – The redshirt leads the Cavaliers with 80 tackles this year, including six for loss. His 80 tackles are the most by a Virginia freshman since Darryl Blackstock recorded 108 in 2002. It also ranks eighth all-time among Virginia freshmen. Greer is currently fifth in the ACC in tackles and has at least six tackles in all but one game this year.
Jameel Sewell, QB – Sewell recorded his 10th 200-plus-yard passing game vs. Boston College last week. He is just the sixth Virginia quarterback to throw for 200 or more yards 10 times. With his 221-yard effort last Saturday, Sewell has 5,086 career passing yards, moving into fifth place at Virginia. He needs 32 yards to reach fourth place and 132 yards to move into third place.
Darren Childs, LB – Childs continued his best season as a Cavalier with five tackles, including one for loss, against the Eagles last week. He ranks second on the team in tackles with 73; he had 22 total tackles in his first three seasons. Childs is tied for eighth in the ACC this year in tackles. He had a career-high 15 tackles two weeks ago at Miami. Prior to the BC game, Childs had three straight games with at least 10 tackles. He has started all 10 games this year after making just two starts in his first three seasons.
Bob Trott, LB coach – Trott was the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Clemson in 1990. Clemson went 10-2 and finished second in the ACC that season.
T Landon Bradley - He is a native of Conway and attended Conway High School.
P Jimmy Howell – Howell is a native of Florence, and he attended West High School.
WR Dontrelle Inman - Inman is from Batesburg, and attended Batesburg-Leesville.
Virginia – QB Marc Verica (concussion), questionable.
CLEMSON – De Da’Quan Bowers (knee), probable; OL Thomas Austin (ankle), probable;
Overall, the series has been one-sided, with Clemson holding a 36-8-1 edge. UVa has won three of the last five games, however. Clemson holds a 19-3 all-time advantage against UVa at Clemson. The Tigers won the first 29 games in the series before UVa won in 1990. Since then, Virginia is 8-7-1 vs. Clemson.
DID YOU KNOW?
*Because of the ACC’s unbalanced schedule, Virginia and Clemson will not play again until 2013 in Charlottesville. Virginia has not played at Clemson since 2003 and will not play at Clemson again until 2014.
*UVa’s strength of schedule is ranked seventh nationally this week by the NCAA, based on cumulative opponent records. Virginia has played 14 true freshmen (25 freshmen total) this season.
*Virginia has held nine of its 10 opponents below their season passing yardage average.
* UVa is 1-5-1 all-time against ranked Clemson teams at Memorial Stadium – the win came in 2001 and was Al Groh’s first ACC win as UVa’s head coach.
DID YOU HEAR?
"He's clearly a dynamic, hard to get on the ground runner - his kick-return record speaks for itself. He's got two touchdown passes in his resume, one of which we witnessed [last season]. He's got touchdowns catches. He is the true all-purpose threat. Maybe as great as we've seen in this conference for a long time." – Virginia head coach Al Groh on C.J. Spiller.
"Early in the season, his skills were apparent, but clearly he was a player who hadn't had to make those decisions under the speed of ACC competition. Now that he's 10 games into the season, he's really doing a terrific job with it. They have some remarkable playmakers, and he's very tuned into getting the ball to those playmakers. So those things work very well in consort." – Groh on the development of Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker.