The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

'Dadgum' Cavs down FSU

Saturday night, 63,000 fans witnessed what was truly a game for the ages. In one of the most memorable Virginia football upsets of all time, the Cavaliers defeated No. 4 Florida State, 26-21, in front of a delirious home crowd at Scott Stadium.

Red-hot quarterback Marques Hagans threw for a career-high 306 yards, and kicker Connor Hughes nailed four field goals as the Cavaliers snapped their own two-game losing streak while knocking the Seminoles from the ranks of the undefeated.

"The whole week, we just believed in ourselves when no one was standing behind us," senior running back Wali Lundy said. "We believed in ourselves, the coaches believed in us, and we went out and shocked the world."

That shock became official with 56 seconds left in the fourth quarter and Virginia protecting a five-point lead. As Florida State quarterback Drew Weatherford fired a desperate bullet over the middle, Virginia safety Tony Franklin streaked in front of the pass, intercepting the ball and sealing his team's fate.

"It's a great feeling," Franklin said. "You can take it back to high school when I won the state championship. It's on that level."

After Franklin hit the ground, Virginia's improbable upset suddenly became very real. Jumping up and down on the sideline, everyone from coaches to 300-pound linemen looked like kids on Christmas morning.

The interception also was the last straw for the student section. While the Cavaliers ran out the clock, fans streamed from the stands, sweeping the players up in a deafening sea of orange.

"I can't imagine where else you might go in college football and find a better atmosphere than what we had tonight," Groh said. "We appreciate what they did, and we owe them a lot. I'm sure they had fun too -- it wasn't all work on their part."

Although all the Cavaliers seemed to play with renewed intensity, one star shined above the rest against the Seminoles. Under center, Hagans had the game of his life, completing 23 of 31 passes and breaking his career-high passing mark after just the third quarter.

Although his arm devastated the Florida State defense, Hagans' legs provided the real boost for the Cavaliers. By escaping seemingly impossible pressure, the quarterback was able to make his best throws on the run.

"When you have someone like that, you can run your route and be covered, and the next moment he scrambles and you break open," sophomore tight end Jonathan Stupar said. "You can do things with him at quarterback that you can't normally do."

One person who was less than thrilled with Hagans' exploits was Florida State coach Bobby Bowden.

"We couldn't stop [Hagans]," Bowden said. "I've never seen a quarterback make as many one-man plays as he made tonight. We couldn't stop that dadgum No. 18. I don't have a lot to say. All I want to say, you can't print."

Hagans and Stupar, who led the team in receiving yards, got things started for the Cavaliers with a 21-yard touchdown catch to put the team ahead.

"It was the first touchdown of my career, and it was great to finally get one under my belt," Stupar said. "It was kind of a busted play, and I just got open in the end zone and Marques hit me."

After Stupar's catch put the Cavaliers up 7-0, Florida State continued to threaten. A 58-yard run by Lorenzo Booker through Virginia's nickel defense tied the game with 7:49 left in the first quarter.

After Booker's run, Virginia kicker Connor Hughes went to work. The Groza Award candidate hit field goals from 50, 37 and 35 yards before halftime.

"[Hughes] was good," Bowden admitted. "I think you could've backed him up another 15 yards and he would have still made [the field goals]."

In between Hughes' target practice, Florida State hit a field goal of its own to tie the game before the Cavaliers went ahead for good.

With 19 seconds left in the half, Hagans hit Lundy with a 16-yard strike to the end zone that put the Cavs up by 13 heading into the locker room.

"You could tell there was a lot of focus, a lot of intensity, but there was also a real sense of calm," Groh said. "It was very calm before the game -- there wasn't any yelling or screaming. It was very calm at halftime, very business-like."

After nailing yet another field goal in the third quarter, Hughes and the Cavaliers spent the rest of the night holding off a tense final charge by the Seminoles. In the final 12 minutes, Weatherford hit receiver Chris Davis with a touchdown pass then set up a field goal on the following drive. Just as the Seminoles were threatening, however, Franklin's interception cemented the upset.

Even as screaming fans and yelling players could be heard outside, Groh was cautious after one of the biggest upsets in Cavalier history.

"We've got another challenge coming up next week, and if we're not successful at that, all of a sudden this win will seem very hollow," he said.

Outside though, thousands of fans seemed happy to sing the "Good 'Ole Song" on the football field -- knowing they were part of an instant classic.


Latest Podcast

From her love of Taylor Swift to a late-night Yik Yak post, Olivia Beam describes how Swifties at U.Va. was born. In this week's episode, Olivia details the thin line Swifties at U.Va. successfully walk to share their love of Taylor Swift while also fostering an inclusive and welcoming community.