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An important thing to remember between now and Nov. 24, when bowl invitations can officially be tendered, is that the winner of the Virginia-Georgia Tech game doesn't necessarily have to be the ACC representative in the Citrus Bowl. There's an escape clause in the agreement between the ACC and the bowl that gives the conference champion the right to go to the Orange, Cotton or Sugar Bowl if it is ranked second, third or fourth and could play for the national championship. That could mean a trip to the Orange Bowl if Nebraska (6-0 and currently ranked No. 4) goes unbeaten in the Big Eight, or to the Sugar Bowl, which could have an undefeated SEC champion in either Tennessee (No. 3) or Auburn (4-0-1, No. 5). Another scenario would send the Virginia-Georgia Tech winner to the Citrus Bowl to face Miami (4-1, No. 2), back in the chase after a 28-21 opening-game loss to Brigham Young.
Last Saturday Miami warmed up for its trip to South Bend with a 34-0 win over Kansas. You could tell the Hurricanes already had Notre Dame on their minds by the way they traded shoves and punches with the Jayhawks 30 minutes before kick-off. So much for Miami Nice, right? "I'm not pleased with what happened," said Miami coach Dennis Erickson, "but it takes two to tango."
This will be the last scheduled game for the Irish and the Hurricanes, at least for the foreseeable future, and both desperately need a win to have any chance of getting another shot at being No. 1. After watching Miami whip his team worse in the game than it did in the preliminary skirmish, Kansas coach Glen Mason was asked to compare the Hurricanes with the Cavaliers, who beat Kansas 59-10 on Sept. 1. "I think Miami is a lot better than Virginia," he said. Naturally, Miami being Miami, a Hurricane player also had to pop off. "Virginia must be good to be ranked so high," said cornerback Robert Bailey, "but I think we can beat them on any given day. Any given day."
Moore and his receivers may want to file that insult away for future reference. Sure, the Cavaliers have yet to defeat anybody ranked in the Top 10, but listen to North Carolina State coach Dick Sheridan: Anybody who doesn't take them seriously is asking for trouble. After watching Moore throw for three touchdowns, including two to his favorite receiver, Herman (No Kin) Moore, and run for another, a somber Sheridan said, "Virginia beat us just about every way you can beat a football team."
The win gave the Cavaliers their best start in 41 years, their 12th consecutive victory at home and their fifth straight win over the Wolfpack. As usual, Moore was superb, completing 11 of 18 passes for 194 yards. He capped off the performance in the fourth quarter with an 83-yard touchdown strike to Herman, the longest reception of the junior wideout's career, as well as Shawn's longest pass. Quarterback Moore has either run or passed for a career total of 75 touchdowns, an ACC record, and receiver Moore has caught a total of 23 touchdown passes, a school record. And just to show that there is more to Virginia than Moore and Moore, sophomore tailback Terry Kirby blasted his way to 112 yards on 15 carries.
After the Wake Forest game, Virginia will have two weeks to get ready for Georgia Tech, a lucky break for the Cavaliers. The Yellow Jackets don't have an open Saturday, but they shouldn't have nearly as much trouble against North Carolina this week or Duke the following week as they did against Clemson on a gorgeous afternoon in Atlanta.
It didn't take a Tech engineering student to figure out that the game was going to be dominated by defense. The Yellow Jackets have a future NFL star in junior Ken Swilling, who plays a monstrous safety at 6'3" and 236 pounds, and an unstoppable pass rush built around outside linebacker Marco (Polo) Coleman, who is not to be confused with cornerback Marcus Coleman or defensive tackle Coleman Rudolph. In a 31-3 dismantling of Maryland on Oct. 6, Marco had five sacks, earning him defensive coordinator George O'Leary's "Big Stick" award—a 4½-foot polished Irish cane that the recipient carries around campus all week.
Before Saturday's game the Yellow Jackets had not allowed a rival offense to score a touchdown in 16 quarters. Clem-son's defense, led by linebacker Ed McDaniel, was almost as good. Since surrendering a Moore-to-Moore touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of the loss to Virginia, the Tigers had won four in a row while giving up only two offensive touchdowns. In addition, Clemson's offense had improved steadily behind quarterback DeChane Cameron and freshman tailback Ronald Williams.
And on those occasions when the Tigers' attack stalled, well, all coach Ken Hatfield had to do was call on Chris Gardocki, a left-footed placekicker from Stone Mountain, Ga., just outside Atlanta. In Clemson's 31-3 victory over Georgia the week before the Tech game, Gardocki kicked four field goals, tying the school record and giving him nine in a row, three of them 50 yards or longer.
On Saturday the Clemson defense bent first, allowing Tech to take a 7-0 lead when quarterback Shawn Jones engineered a 72-yard scoring drive in the first quarter. Then the Yellow Jacket defense lived up to its reputation, setting up another touchdown on the Tigers' next possession when linebacker Chris Simmons jarred the ball loose from Cameron and Rudolph recovered at the Clemson 13. A 38-yard Gardocki field goal in the first quarter made it 14-3 at halftime.