Virginia running back Wali Lundy took a handoff on Duke’s 15 yard line with his team looking to put the game out of reach. As they did for most of the game, the Blue Devils’ defensive line greeted him hospitably.
The 5-foot-10, 214-pound tailback streaked eight yards past the line of scrimmage untouched. At the 7-yard line, two Duke defenders leaped in the air and latched onto Lundy in an effort to bring him down. But apparently two was not enough and the Cavalier tailback dragged both defenders all the way across the goal line for a touchdown.
Lundy’s run pushed Virginia’s lead to 23-7 with 6:54 left in the third quarter. For the game, the swiss-cheese-like Blue Devil defense allowed 348 yards on the ground on 61 carriers. Alvin Pearman, who entered the game with 256 rushing yards, nearly doubled his season total with 223 yards, one yard short of the Virginia school rushing record set more than a half century ago in 1948.
“Alvin was terrific and obviously all of those guys who got him there were terrific,” Virginia head coach Al Groh said. “When that happens, one guy really has to carry the flag, but a lot of guys got their name on it. All of those offensive linemen, tight ends, wide receivers who had to change their game tonight, they all share a part of it.”
The remarkable aspect of the day was that Pearman really did not have to do anything special. The holes that the Cavalier’s offensive line generated were so large that any high school running back would have had a respectable day rushing the ball.
The Blue Devils’ defensive line was manhandled all day. Virginia’s Elton Brown, a 6-foot-6, 338-pound offensive lineman who is a potential All-American, was especially dominant, plowing through anyone standing in front of him.
Nothing is more indicative of the dominance of Brown and the Cavaliers’ offensive line than the team’s first scoring drive. With 8:15 remaining in the first quarter, Pearman rushed behind Brown for a seven-yard gain. Groh called for the same play on second down, and the senior registered another seven yards. Virginia once again called the same play, and this time, Pearman gained 11 yards. By the time the drive was over, the Cavaliers had covered 71 yards on 11 seemingly identical plays and were in the end zone.
“We are a big, fast, athletic football team,” Pearman said. “The way we like it, [Duke] might as well know what the play is. We are going to execute, we are going execute better than you, and that’s what we did today.”
Duke linebacker Brendan Dewan had respect for the group that spent the entire day pushing him away from the play.
“They have a really athletic O-line,” Dewan said. “We knew that coming into the game that it was probably one of the best o-lines in the nation. Complemented with their tight ends, it makes them pretty good up front, pretty tough. You’ve really got to attack the line of scrimmage and focus in on them.”
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