Tigers Fall to Virginia, 22-17

Billy McMullen ran for the go-ahead touchdown early in the 4th quarter and Matt Schaub threw for another late score as Virginia rallied to beat Clemson 22-17 Saturday afteroon. The Tigers squandered numerous opportunities in what proved to be another heart breaking road loss.

Just when it seemed like the Tigers were going to turn the corner and make a run in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the hammer dropped.

Last year it was the Virginia Cavaliers, this year it's the same story all over again.

Billy McMullen stumbled into the endzone on 4th and goal early in the 4th quarter, and Matt Schaub led the Cavs back from a 10-6 second half deficit to lead the come-from-behind win.

It was the fifth straight win for the Cavaliers, who now stand at 5-2, and 3-1 in the ACC, and the second consecutive loss for Clemson. The Tigers now stand at 3-3, and 1-2 in the conference.

The Tigers opened the scoring by going 93 yards on 19 plays on their first possession. On third down and goal, Willie Simmons overthrew his intended receiver, forcing an Aaron Hunt field goal and a 3-0 Clemson lead.

Virginia would answer early in the second quarter when Kurt Smith drilled a 42-yard field goal. Smith would add a 22-yard effort just moments later, but freshman running back Tye Hill scooted around the right end for 35 yards and a touchdown right before halftime to give the Tigers a 4-point lead.

Even though the Tigers dominated the statistics in the first half, the Cavaliers remained in the game and made all the necessary adjustments at halftime to completely change the complexion of the afternoon.

The Cavs would take the lead for good when McMullen took the hand off on 4th and goal and plunged into the endzone from just 1-yard out to give Virginia a 13-10 lead.

And just when it seemed like the Tigers would have the opportunity to come back take the lead, the turnover problem creeped back into the picture once again.

Willie Simmons had a pass deflected off of one his linemen which led to one interception, and then Simmons was blindsided in the pocket on another occasion which forced a fumble deep in Clemson territory.

Virginia would take advantage by adding two more scores, including a 15-yard TD pass to tight end Heath Miller to jump out to a comfortable 22-10 lead with just 3 minutes remaining.

Backup QB Charlie Whitehurst was then inserted into the lineup and immediately he showed why the Tigers' coaching staff is so high on his abilities.

Whitehurst completed all 7 of his passes for 93 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown strike to J.J. McKelvey on the final drive of the game to give Clemson fans a shred of hope with just over a minute left.

All hopes of a miracle ending in Charlottesville were shot down when Virginia recovered the ensuing onsides kick.

The Tigers return home next weekend for Homecoming to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Kickoff is set for 3:30 on ABC.

Other Notes
Charlie Whitehurst has played about as close to perfect as you can as a quarterback. The redshirt freshman has completed all 11 of his passes this season for 113 yards and a touchdown. Offensive coordinator Brad Scott hinted after the game that he will likely get more playing time as the season progresses.

Virginia quarterback Matt Schaub, one of the nation's top-rated passers, was 23-for-32 for 208 yards and a touchdown. Schaub was also an effective runner, carrying the ball out of option on several occasions. Coach Lovett said afterwards that the defense was caught off guard when Virginia went to that offensive set.

J.J. McKelvey dropped two deep passes in the first half, both over 30-yards downfield. One play would have been a difficult catch high in the air near the sideline, while the other just slipped right through his hands near the 8-yard line.

Wynn Kopp continues to struggle mightly. Kopp had 6 punts for just a 31 yard average Saturday afternoon.

RB Tye Hill had an outstanding game on just 3 carries. The redshirt freshman rushed for 43 yards and his first collegiate touchdown with time running down in the first half.

The Tigers outgained Virginia 412 to 288 yards in total offense. Interestingly enough, in all three losses this season, the Tigers have outgained their opponent in total yardage.

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