CLEMSON, S.C. -- Unsatisfied with Clemson's undefeated three-game home stand, coach Tommy Bowden expects Virginia to be a telling barometer for his supremely confident squad.
The No. 11 Tigers (3-0, 1-0 ACC) have obliterated the competition 155-16 so far this season. Saturday's 55-7 pummeling of Wake Forest epitomized Clemson's complete destruction of inferior opponents thus far. Traveling to Virginia (2-1) in five days will give Bowden a better understanding of how good his team is.
The Cavaliers have won seven or more games for 13 consecutive seasons. Virginia coach George Welsh is the ACC's winningest coach and has guided the Cavs to victories in two of the past three meetings with the Tigers in Charlottesville.
"Playing at Virginia will be a solid test," Bowden said. "Coach Welsh has been consistent over the years."
Clemson's offense and defense have performed masterfully in three blowout victories. The Tigers have allowed just 249 passing yards and have forced 10 turnovers. Offensively, Clemson is averaging 514 yards of total offense per game, including a 623-yard eruption against Wake Forest.
Junior quarterback Woody Dantzler took advantage of the Demon Deacons' soft zone coverage and three-man defensive front with 166 rushing and 157 passing yards. Displaying a command of Bowden's spread offense, Dantzler has completed 37 of 55 passes (67 percent) for 537 yards and six touchdowns.
Although their passing offense is explosive, the Tigers have not abandoned their ground attack. They gained 451 rushing yards Saturday paced by Dantzler, who has 279 yards and three touchdowns this season.
"If they give us the run, we'll take the run," said Dantzler, who has not thrown an interception in 2000. "If they give us the pass, we'll take the pass."
Virginia blew a 21-0 lead in its season opener against Brigham Young and fell 38-35 in overtime, but has rebounded with victories over Richmond and Duke. Clemson defensive coordinator Reggie Herring is anxious to see his unit's response to a hostile environment against a quality opponent.
The Cavaliers have comparable talent, unlike the Tigers' first three opponents, who are a combined 2-7. Herring said Clemson must sustain the dominance exhibited from the season's outset.
"No let up," Herring said. "Our real test is in front of us. The consistency has been there. We're not playing down to our opponents' level."
Reach Jimmy DeButts at (706) 823-3221.