Cavs on way to meeting coach's challenge

Not that long ago, Virginia's football team would have been happy just to win a game in November.

Now, coach Mike London has challenged the Cavaliers to win the whole month.

London also asked his team to win October; the Cavaliers responded by losing all three games last month, putting them on a six-game losing skid going to North Carolina State last week.

November, however, is off to a promising start.

The Cavs (3-6, 1-4 ACC) upset the Wolfpack 33-6 last week and have Miami coming to town today. The not-so-promising news? Virginia has lost three in a row at Scott Stadium; in fact, the past two years, U.Va. has a better road record (4-3) than home mark (2-4) in ACC play.

In Miami, the Cavaliers also will be facing the frontrunner for the conference's Coastal Division title. The Hurricanes (5-4, 4-2)

will be well-rested, too. Their last game was a 30-12 victory over Virginia Tech on Nov. 1.

Al Golden, Miami's second-year coach, isn't buying any of it.

"I don't agree with you in terms of the driver's seat," Golden, who was Virginia's defensive coordinator from 2001-2005, said this week. "Our team understands that you're not guaranteed anything."

He' speaking from experience. The Cavaliers upset Miami 28-21 last year in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Golden, who got his first college coaching job as a U.Va. graduate assistant under coach George Welsh, left

Charlottesville to take the Temple head-coaching job.

"I have fond memories of the University of Virginia," he said.

The best U.Va. can finish in ACC play is 4-4, but could still become bowl-eligible by winning its last three games. It won't be easy, though. After today, the Cavaliers have North Carolina at home then close out the season at Virginia Tech. The Hokies haven't lost to Virginia since 2003.

But the Cavaliers have something to build on today: They have outgained their past five opponents and have held each of the past three to less than 250 yards.

"In terms of stopping the run right now, this (Virginia) team is as good as anyone in the country," Golden said.

Virginia still has a minus-12 turnover differential, however, ranking 117th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

The Cavaliers forced five turnovers against N.C. State - one more than they had all season - and quarterbacks Phillip Sims and Michael Rocco were not intercepted after yielding 12 picks to that point.

Both saw ample playing time against N.C. State, and London said that arrangement will continue today.

Posted to: College Football Sports

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