CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Navy coach George Chaump said his team needed a superhuman effort to beat Virginia. But it may have taken Superman himself to contain Shawn Moore and the 11th-ranked Cavaliers.
And perhaps even the Man of Steel would not have been enougfor Navy. Moore passed for four touchdowns and ran for two in just over a half of play, as Virginia smothered the visiting Midshipmen, 56-14, before 39,400 at Scott Stadium. The victory puts the Cavaliers (3-0 overall, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) on the verge of their first top-10 ranking since 1952.
Navy (1-1) allowed a school-record 664 yards in suffering itworst loss since a 52-6 defeat to Pittsburgh in the seventh game of the 1988 season.
"I expected a major upset, or getting sent home with a big defeat," said Chaump. "Unfortunately, it was the latter. They took us out of our game plan early."
Navy's game plan is a passing attack, much like the one that lethe Midshipmen to a 28-17 win over Richmond last week in the team's best aerial effort in three years.
But quarterback Alton Grizzard was unable to take to the aiwhen it counted yesterday, as he faced a swarm of Virginia pursuers on almost every passing play. Grizzard finished with 223 yards passing (completing 19 of a career-high 44 attempts), but 198 yards came in the second half against Virginia reserves.
In the first half, the Navy offense managed just 49 yards and -- with the exception of Darryl Graham's interception return to the Virginia 36-yard line -- failed to get beyond the Navy 35.
"Their defensive line line was too big," Chaump said. "They took us out of the things that we wanted to do. For a while on offense, we couldn't connect on anything or catch anything. Grizzard was rushed heavy and hit hard."
Navy looked impressive on its first defensive series, as istopped the Cavaliers after six plays. But Moore hit wide receiver Herman Moore with a 45-yard touchdown on the second play of the second drive to help Virginia to a 7-0 lead.
Virginia's next drive ended with Shawn Moore high-stepping intthe end zone on a 23-yard run -- the longest rushing score of his career -- and he followed that with a 55-yard touchdown pass to Derek Dooley on the first play of the team's fourth drive, as the Cavaliers took a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Moore would throw two more touchdown passes in the second quarter -- a 26-yarder to Terry Kirby and a 2-yarder to Herman Moore just before the end of the first half -- and Virginia had a 35-0 halftime lead.
The senior left the game with 11 minutes, 9 seconds left in ththird quarter after scoring on a 1-yard run to put Virginia up, 42-0. He left the game with a Heisman-worthy line: 13 completions in 22 attempts for 250 yards. He became the school's career total-offense leader (6,081 yards), and his four passing and two rushing touchdowns tied an ACC record for touchdown responsibility in a game with six. Virginia has won 18 of Moore's past 20 starts.
"We just couldn't put pressure on him," Chaump said of ShawMoore. "They blocked us pretty effectively. When we forced a third down and long, [Moore] had all day to throw."
After Virginia made it 49-0 midway through the third on a 54-yarrun by Nikki Fisher, Chaump finally went into his bag of tricks on Navy's next drive, which began with a fake reverse and ended with a 13-yard touchdown run by B.J. Mason on a reverse with 4:04 left in the third to make it 49-7. Navy's other score came late in the game when Grizzard threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Robert Holmberg.
"Navy has to execute better to win," said George Welsh, thformer Navy coach (1973-81) who has molded the Cavaliers into national contenders. "They did pretty well against the run in the first half, but they gave too much away in the secondary. Some of our wide receivers were bigger then their linebackers."
With its recruiting restrictions, Navy lacks the talent and size to compete with a Virginia or a Notre Dame. Chaump apparently must settle for preparing his team against the opponents that the Midshipmen have a fairer chance of beating.
"This kind of thing happens to everyone -- they had a bad openelast year [36-13 loss to Notre Dame] and rebounded to beat Penn State," Chaump said. "We'll learn from this. We'll play harder and work harder. The character of this team will surface. It's a long season, and we have some tough games ahead."
NOTE: Grizzard had 259 yards in total offense, placing him thiron Navy's all-time offense list as he passed Roger Staubach and Napoleon McCallum. He has 4,393 yards in total offense, 5 yards yards behind second-place Bill Byrne (1984-86) and 13 yards behind the 4,406 yards of all-time leader John Cartwright (1965-67).