- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 6, 2009

CHARLOTTESVILLE | R.J. Archer was still trying to comprehend it all.

The redshirt senior, who grew up near Scott Stadium and was a regular in the stands for Virginia games, came home as William & Mary’s quarterback on Saturday night and played almost mistake-free football in leading the Tribe to a 26-14 victory against Virginia.

“I couldn’t have written it any better,” said Archer, who added that he attended several camps at Virginia but was told he could walk on “if it doesn’t work out somewhere else.”

Instead, he picked William & Mary and earned the starting job in his final year.

“To play any big school in front of so many fans is great, but just to have so many family and friends here, it’s kind of hard to describe,” the Earlysville native said.

B.W. Webb had three interceptions and returned the last 50 yards for the game-clinching touchdown as the Tribe forced seven turnovers in the debut of the Cavaliers much anticipated spread offense, handing Virginia its first loss to a lower-division school since 1986.

William & Mary was the winner then, too, 41-37.

But this was supposed to be a big night for the Cavaliers, what with Vic Hall back at quarterback full time as part of a three-quarterback rotation and the team running new offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon’s spread offense that was expected to be dynamic.

Instead, it was anemic as none of the quarterbacks played well. They finished a combined 18-for-33 for 137 yards and were more effective running the ball than throwing it.

Hall fumbled it away twice from behind center and a third time when he muffed a punt inside his own 10 yard-line, setting up the field goal that put the Tribe ahead to stay.

Jameel Sewell, a two-year starter before missing last season for academic reasons, threw three interceptions, including the one Webb took back untouched with 2:39 remaining.

And Marc Verica, who started nine games last season, wasn’t brought into the game until the fourth quarter with Virginia trailing 19-14 and fumbled the ball away on his 11th play.

The defense, too, played a role, getting no pressure at all on Archer, who completed 23 of 45 passes for 184 yards and ran nine times for 46 yards, including a 23-yard burst.

He threw one interception - at midfield on the first play of the fourth quarter - but Virginia ran three plays and had to punt the ball away, drawing boos from a stunned crowd.

“Words can’t really describe how high we were before the game, and now it’s some of the lowest of lows,” linebacker Denzell Burrell said. “We’ve got to make a quick turnaround.”

The Cavaliers entertain No. 17 TCU next Saturday.

The Tribe, which got four field goals (in six attempts) from Brian Pate, finished with a 309-269 total offense advantage after a start that made it seem like a rout was in order.

The Tribe attempted five field goals in the second quarter alone. Pate had one blocked, had another hit an upright and a third sail wide left, but he made a 40-yarder with 3:21 left in the half and a 26-yarder on the final play of the half to make it 14-13.

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