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After two collapses, Cavaliers stage quiet rise

The big game in the Atlantic Coast Conference this week is Florida State-Duke, and North Carolina State also lurks with an undefeated league record.

Which leaves Virginia in the background.

The Cavaliers lost 41-17 to FSU in the first game of the season, and everybody forgot about them.

But Virginia since has won six straight, including a 34-10 victory over North Carolina on Saturday. North Carolina had been averaging an ACC-best 247 rushing yards, but Virginia held the Tar Heels to 169.

The Cavaliers also were tough on Carolina quarterback Jason Stanicek, who was hurried nine times, had three passes batted down at the line of scrimmage, and was intercepted twice.

All of this leaves Virginia in a familiar position.

In each of the past two regular seasons, Virginia started 5-0 but finished 7-4. With this weekend off, the Cavaliers head into November 6-1.

"We've been here before," coach George Welsh said. "I'm not too excited."

Virginia, ranked 18th, finishes with Duke, Maryland, Virginia Tech and N.C. State.

"I've been talking about being mentally tougher since last February," Welsh said.

"This team's different," defensive tackle Ryan Kuehl said. "This group seems to know what has to be done. We don't have the highs and lows like in past years. There's a real businesslike attitude this year, a real professional attitude.

"We know better this year than to look too far down the road and think about bowls and that sort of thing," Kuehl said. "This team's focused."

Guarantee: North Carolina State plays at hated rival North Carolina on Saturday, and Wolfpack defensive tackle Carl Reeves has guaranteed a victory over the 24th-ranked Tar Heels.

He did so on a Raleigh, N.C., television station Sunday night and reiterated it this week.

"I'm deadly serious," Reeves said. "That's just the way I feel about it. Call it intuition. Call it what you want to call it. I stand by it."

And he wasn't worried about inciting the opponent.

"They're going to be fired up anyway, regardless of whether I said anything," Reeves said. "This is an archrival game. If they're not fired up, they're disappointing us. We're expecting to be fired up when we step off the bus."

N.C. State saw a five-game winning streak against Carolina end last season in a 35-14 defeat.

Tough times: Georgia Tech is 1-6 after losing five in a row _ the team's worst start since it opened the 1983 season with seven losses in eight games.

"When you're in a situation like this, you've got to keep working," coach Bill Lewis said. "You've got to keep believing in what you're doing, and you've got to find the strength to get through the tough times."

The Yellow Jackets are off before playing Florida State Nov.


Around the league: FSU's Nov. 5 game at Georgia Tech has been moved to noon and will be televised by Jefferson-Pilot as the conference's game of the week. It will be the third straight week in which FSU appears on the network. The ACC's decision to lock its second-place team into Jacksonville's Gator Bowl beginning next year was a matter of logistics. "What it really came down to was our people wanted to have continuity," ACC assistant commissioner Tom Mickle said. "We wanted our fans to know every year where they're going, who they'll be playing, and what city they'll be in." The NCAA Nominating Committee has selected ACC commissioner Gene Corrigan as its candidate for president of the association in 1995-96. The election will be at the NCAA convention in January. Corrigan has been commissioner of the ACC since 1987.