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Clemson dances over Cavs

Entering Saturday's game against Clemson, Virginia knew it needed to contain quarterback Woodrow Dantzler to win. But Dantzler had other ideas and led the No. 7 Tigers to a 31-10 victory at Scott Stadium.

Dantzler fueled Heisman Trophy talk by rushing for 220 yards and two scores on 18 carries. He also threw for 154 yards and one touchdown against a passive Virginia defense.

"We thought we had enough people around the ball that we could stop him when he ran it," Virginia coach George Welsh explained.

Virginia (2-2, 1-1 ACC) was down only 17-10 at halftime, but Dantzler and Clemson (4-0, 2-0 ACC) literally ran away with the game in the third quarter.

The Cavaliers received the second half kickoff and drove into Tiger territory after Virginia quarterback Dan Ellis completed a fourth-and-two pass to tight end Billy Baber for six yards. But after that first down, Virginia couldn't get anything going against the stingy Clemson defense and was forced to punt.

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    Punter Mike Abrams, suffering through a sub-par kicking day, shanked an 11-yard punt to leave the Tigers on their 25-yard line. After a two-yard run by tailback Bernard Rambert, Dantzler showcased his athletic ability on a 75-yard touchdown run to increase the Clemson lead to 24-10.

    Virginia had an opportunity to pull within a touchdown again later in the third after Cav linebacker Byron Thweatt forced Rambert to fumble. Defensive lineman George Stanley recovered for the Cavs at the Clemson 33-yard line with just over six minutes remaining in the third.

    However, Virginia failed to convert on the turnover opportunity when Tiger cornerback Alex Ardley intercepted a deflected pass in the end zone for a touchback that Dan Ellis had meant for wide receiver Billy McMullen.

    Five plays later, Dantzler broke through the Cavalier defense for a 45-yard touchdown run to seal the game for Clemson.

    After the game, questions circulated in the Virginia press conference about what was to blame: an out-of-sync passing game, dropped balls or numerous momentum-killing penalties. Virginia cornerback Tim Spruill had a different explanation.

    "If you let one guy beat you then you don't deserve to win," Spruill said. Dantzler's "a spectacular player. We took away the pass and he beat us on the ground."

    Clemson's mistakes kept the Cavs in the game. Their lone touchdown came early in the first quarter on the first of the Tigers' four turnovers.

    After Virginia fell short of a first down during the first drive, Abrams' punt was fumbled by Clemson's Travis Zachery and recovered by freshman defensive back Art Thomas at the Tigers 3-yard line.

    The Cavs surprised many by bringing in redshirt freshman Bryson Spinner to run the goal-line option offense. On the first play, Spinner pitched the ball to Antwoine Womack, who ran to the outside and hurdled a defender for the score.

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