Flashback to 1995: Noel Lamontagne
One of the most notable wins in Virginia football history took place on Nov. 2, 1995. On that Thursday night, the Cavaliers defeated Florida State, 33-28, to serve the Seminoles their first ACC loss since joining the conference in 1992. As the current Virginia squad prepares to host Florida State at Scott Stadium on Saturday, we'll take a look back at that memorable '95 game through the perspectives of some of the team members who participated in it.
Noel Lamontagne played offensive guard on the scout team during his first year at Virginia in 1995, and leading up to the game each week that unit's job was to prepare the Cavaliers defense for the opposing offense it would face next. But the challenge in preparing for the Seminoles was two-fold.
First, Florida State's offense possessed the likes of tailback Warrick Dunn, quarterback Danny Kanell and wide receivers E.G. Green and Andre Cooper. The Seminoles averaged 48.4 points and 551.5 total yards of offense per game that season.
Second, Virginia Defensive Coordinator Rick Lantz switched up the unit's base alignment that week. He shifted from a 4-3-4 to a 3-3-5. So the defense was learning a new scheme on the fly while getting ready to take on one of the most high-octane offenses in the country.
Here are Lamontagne recollections of that week in practice:
"The tone of that week completely changed," Lamontagne said. "The coaches really honed us in with respects to everybody had to be perfect during the entire week. The defense was completely different than what we had done the rest of the year. We moved to a platoon system on defensive front.
"For us on the scout team, we were forced to give the look of what, at the time, was the most powerful offense in college football. The personnel that they had and the different alignments, the system that they used was just so high-powered that, as the scout team, you're looking at it like, 'Okay, we're given the job of trying to mimic this and trying to get our defense ready when our defense is preparing in a way that they've never even prepared before.'
"The week of practice was so good going into that game that I don't know necessarily if we all believed we were going to win the game, but we all believed that we were going to be in the game and be in position to win it. Everything was crisp. There was none of the typical mistakes, the yelling, the confusion that can happen when you're installing a game plan.
"Their whole offense was geared around getting downfield in as short a period of time as possible. Terrence Wilkins played the role of Warrick Dunn (on the scout team during practices). Germane Crowell played wide receiver on scout team. Starters were working in on scout team to make sure that our defense and our offense had the look that they needed in order to prepare as best as they possibly good for that week."
Using the new 3-3-5 scheme, the Virginia defense gave up 546 yards of total offense (487 of which were passing yards), but it held Florida State to just seven points in the second half. And, of course, the Cavaliers stopped Dunn just short of the goal line at the end of the game to preserve the win.
| September 27, 2010; 1:05 PM ET
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