CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- A new, high-flying offense produced Navy's best passing performance in three years last week in a win over Richmond. But coach George Chaump's air attack will get its first big test today, as the Midshipmen square off against 11th-ranked Virginia.
In other games, Towson State (0-1) is at home tonight against Lehigh (1-0), and Morgan State (0-2) will play host this afternoon to state rival Bowie State (0-1).
The Midshipmen (1-0) have won their past two games -- in 1985 and 1986 -- against Virginia (2-0), but the Cavaliers are coming off their best year in school history (10-3) and are fresh from last week's 20-7 win over the then-ninth-ranked Clemson Tigers before a Scott Stadium crowd of 46,800.
"It's going to take an all-out, superhuman effort," Chaump said. "It's also going to take some breaks. If there are teams in America that are much better than Virginia, they better go to the NFL."
One Cavalier who would appear to have a prosperous National Football League career ahead of him is quarterback Shawn Moore, who has been responsible for a school-record 59 touchdowns for Virginia. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound graduate student has led Virginia to 17 wins in his past 19 starts and has helped the Cavaliers win 11 straight Atlantic Coast Conference games.
"He's a threat when he touches the ball every time, whether he passes or runs," Chaump said of Moore. "You better wrap him up; you better tackle him."
Moore has talented partners in wide receiver Herman Moore (eight catches, 146 yards, two touchdowns) and tight end Bruce McGonnigal (nine catches, 107 yards, one touchdown). But the defense -- featuring four starters in the secondary with 119 career starts among them -- also has been strong this season, holding opponents to a total of 17 points in two games.
While the city of Charlottesville still is abuzz over the Cavaliers' first win over Clemson in 30 tries, Virginia coach George Welsh warns that his team cannot afford a letdown against Navy.
"The first two games we weren't worried about our emotional state, but this one may be a little tougher for us to be emotionally ready to play," said Welsh, who coached Navy for eight years before going to Virginia in 1981. "Navy's always a tough opponent. I'm hopeful we're ready mentally for this one."
Welsh, the all-time winningest coach at Navy (50-40-2), was impressed by the films he watched of Navy's successful passing attack against Richmond.
"[Chaump] likes to screen, and he likes to throw the ball deep. It will be our first real test against a balanced attack," Welsh said. "[Navy quarterback Alton Grizzard] is a definite winner and is tough physically. This will be a challenge for us defensively."
Chaump doesn't believe the Cavaliers will have to worry about an emotional letdown in today's game.
"We're playing a great football team, and they won't let down," Chaump said. "They'll say, 'We beat Clemson and we're No. 11; now let's go for No. 1.'"
Though the Midshipmen looked good in the second half against Richmond, Chaump sees plenty of room for improvement as his teams undergoes the drastic change from the wishbone formation. But he believes the players are picking up the system nicely.
"You're never satisfied. You have so much to learn," Chaump said. "Even though the first game was OK, we do have a long way to go.
"Virginia is a tough opponent, and we're going to go out and do our best," Chaump added. "And if we do that, that's all we can ask."