- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

William & Mary quarterback Steve Cluley believes history is on his side.

Ignoring a 40-3 loss at Virginia in 2011, the Tribe quarterback focuses instead on 2009, when William & Mary went to Charlottesville and helped usher Virginia coach Al Groh out the door with a 26-14 victory.

Cluley also believes it can happen again when William & Mary (1-0), coming off an early off week, visits Virginia (0-2) on Saturday.

“I think we’re going to be able to move the ball,” Cluley said. “Going into Charlottesville, we got to finish drives, put drives together, get in the end zone. That’s the only way we’re going to win the game.”

The Tribe has a history of putting scares into FBS teams in recent seasons. It led West Virginia midway through the third quarter in a 24-17 loss in 2013, and held Maryland scoreless until 9:52 remaining in a 7-6 loss in 2012.

Virginia (0-2) might look at the game as a respite from a tough September schedule, but after losing 34-16 at No. 10 UCLA and then 34-27 in the final seconds against No. 8 Notre Dame, the Cavaliers need a win.

“We need to get a win,” said senior defensive end Trent Corney, never a part of a winning season at Virginia. “I’ve come in here on Sunday two weeks in a row, and just the mood is not a place I’d want to be at all on a Sunday.”

Virginia coach Mike London, who spent four seasons (1991-94) on Tribe coach Jimmye Laycock’s staff, said it would be a mistake for his team to view this week’s opponent as an FCS team coming in for a big payday.

“They’ll come to play. As I said, you can look at FCS. I mean, we’re not looking at it that way,” London said. “We’re looking at it as another opponent, the chance for us to compete and win a home game here in Charlottesville, get moving in a positive direction coming off these last two games, particularly this last game.”


Some things to watch when William & Mary plays at Virginia:

DUAL THREAT? William & Mary QB Steve Cluley had no carries in the Tribe’s opening victory at Lafayette, but has the ability to add that dimension. He’s had a 60-yard run in his past and might need to look to make plays with his feet as well as his arm for the Tribe to overcome a talent deficiency against Virginia.

TAKEAWAYS: Turnovers can quickly even up an uneven battle. William & Mary forced four turnovers in its 26-14 victory at Virginia in 2009 and coach Jimmye Laycock said it will look for similar opportunism in this matchup.

GROUND IT OUT: The Cavaliers ran for 127 yards against the Fighting Irish. That’s respectable, but still nowhere near the power running game the coaching staff covets. Making some headway Saturday would be a positive.

OPPORTUNITY: One of Virginia coach Mike London’s favorite words is “opportunity.” The Cavaliers have a great opportunity to break into the win column, but have to appreciate that taking that for granted could get them beat.

MENTOR V MENTEE: Laycock is one of the most revered men in coaching. He’s in his 36th season at William & Mary and has a 231-170-2 career record. He’s fourth among active FCS coaches in victories, and gave Virginia’s London his second job in coaching. They’ve met three times, with London winning all three.

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