Virginia 37, William & Mary 3
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ Symmion Willis snapped out of the doldrums Saturday by throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for one as Virginia’s Cavaliers rolled to a 37-3 victory over Division I-AA William & Mary.
Virginia (3-1) got another strong effort from its defense in defeating William & Mary for the fifth consecutive time. The Cavaliers registered six sacks, one interception and dropped Tribe runners for losses six times.
The Cavaliers have not allowed a touchdown in eight quarters, a streak dating to the fourth period of the Navy game.
William & Mary was seeking its second 5-0 start in three years, but the Tribe didn’t have enough weapons, especially after losing senior quarterback Shawn Knight early in the second quarter. Knight, who last year set a Division I-AA record for passing efficiency, twisted his right ankle on William & Mary’s opening series of the second quarter. He did not return.
Willis, who had completed just 45 percent of his passes this year and hadn’t been involved in a touchdown all season, looked much sharper Saturday. He completed 11-of-15 passes for 236 yards. He also rushed for 48 yards, including a 1-yard sneak early in the fourth quarter that closed the scoring.
Willis got his first scoring play of the season early in the second quarter when he ran a bootleg to the left, wheeled around and threw across the field to Tyrone Davis, who went up the right sideline for a 55-yard touchdown.
The play began a 17-point second quarter for Virginia that put the Cavaliers up 23-3 at halftime. Willis also linked up with Patrick Jeffers on a 13-yard scoring pass later in the second quarter.
While Willis looked better than in his previous outings, the Cavaliers still struggled at times on offense.
Three times in the first half, Virginia put together drives totaling 193 yards but couldn’t finish them off, settling instead for Rafael Garcia’s field goals of 27, 22 and 35 yards.
Knight was replaced by Matt Byrne, a junior who had thrown just six passes in his career. Byrne threw for 135 yards on 12-of-20 passing.
William & Mary’s lone score came on a 36-yard field goal by Brian Shallcross in the second quarter, and the Tribe advanced inside the Virginia 35 just twice in the second half. The first time, William & Mary lost a fumble and the second time turned it over on downs.