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After Duke, Cavs set for Clemson

While looking ahead to Saturday's game against Clemson, Virginia football coach George Welsh also took time to reflect on his team's performance against Duke yesterday.

Welsh heaped praise on senior quarterback Dan Ellis, who threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns Saturday, both season highs.

"He's making quicker decisions," Welsh said. "And I really believe he's more accurate."

In his first three games of last season, Ellis totaled 618 passing yards and three touchdowns. This season, he has improved to 849 yards and five touchdowns in the same amount of time.

"Being in there and having the experience, it's just all going quicker," Ellis said. "I've seen it before and I recognize things a lot better."

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    Welsh also credited Ellis' receivers and their breath-taking catches for Saturday's victory. Sophomore wideout Billy McMullen grabbed two touchdowns and had a career-high eight catches for 189 yards. With Ellis spreading the ball around to six receivers, the Cavs surpassed Duke's passing yardage, 333 to 198. Overall, Virginia had 452 yards of total offense.

    "If we get 450 yards a game, I'll take it," Welsh said. "I don't care if it's 300 yards rushing and 150 passing or vice versa, as long as you get the yards and you get, say, four touchdowns."

    However, there were a few smudges on the Virginia victory, like David Greene's missed field goal in the fourth quarter, which Welsh attributed to a "coaching misread" and the poor condition of Duke's field.

    "The field was so bad, so soft," Welsh said. "I don't know if I'd want to play on that field in November."

    Though Duke's offensive line double-teamed Virginia's front four, the Virginia defensive line played up to Welsh's expectations. With the secondary in one-on-one coverage, the Cavs registered two sacks and forced Duke to punt seven times.

    "Except for the second half of BYU, we haven't been that bad," Welsh said. "So I'm not down on the defense. We need to keep getting better, though."

    Though it's easy to show a good defense against the Devils, who have had 15 points in three games, Saturday's homecoming game against Clemson will present a bigger challenge. The Tigers boast the nation' No. 2 offense and No. 1 defense, scoring 155 points and giving up only 16 points in three games.

    "I hope the team is [hungry]," Welsh said of his squad. "They beat us pretty badly last year. That should be enough of an incentive."

    Welsh also had a challenge for Virginia fans: "I would like to see a full house and a lot of noise the whole game because they are still no-huddle and they have to communicate and [the noise] hurts. Just like '95 with Florida State, it hurts them. They can't hear right. I think they like to change some things. If they can't hear, then that's to our advantage."

    Last week, Welsh also expressed his opinion on Scott Stadium's policy of allowing fans who left the game early to re-enter. He said it leads to poor second-half attendance.

    "The athletic department has never been in favor of passouts," Virginia Athletics Director Terry Holland said yesterday. Before "we did not have a stadium that could accommodate all our fans at halftime. Now we do. So it's an issue we can revisit"


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