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Shawn Moore looks back on No. 1 ranking in 1990

Virginia wide receivers coach Shawn Moore didn't realize until earlier this week when someone mentioned it to him that Friday marks the 20-year anniversary of the Cavaliers being ranked No. 1 in both the Associated Press and coaches' poll.

Moore, who quarterbacked the 1990 Virginia squad to an 8-4 record and a berth in the Sugar Bowl, recalled the two weeks during which the Cavaliers were ranked No. 1 -- the only time in program history they have held that position -- as a hectic, yet enjoyable time.

"I just remember it being chaos on campus," said Moore, who placed fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting that season. "Because we had so many fifth-year seniors, a lot of us were in grad school, so we had a lot of time on our hands. It was just chaotic. I remember Tony Covington and Trevor Ryals and [Derek] Dooley and myself having to do three and four interviews a day and coming over and having press conferences with the media. It was nuts, but it was something we enjoyed because we were experienced guys. It didn't go to our head because we were fifth-year seniors and we had experienced a lot in the five years."

On Oct. 13, 1990, Virginia defeated North Carolina State, 31-0, at home to push its record to 6-0. Two days later, the Cavaliers were voted the No. 1 team in the nation. They held the top spot again the following week after defeating Wake Forest, 49-14. After Virginia fell to then-No. 16 Georgia Tech, 41-38, on Nov. 3, the Cavaliers dropped to No. 11 in the AP poll. They finished the season ranked No. 23.

This weekend is homecoming for Virginia, and the Cavaliers (2-3, 0-2 ACC) will host North Carolina (3-2, 1-1) on Saturday. Moore said he wasn't sure how many of his former teammates will be in attendance at Saturday's game, but he's been told to get on the phone and start gathering up more members of that 1990 squad.

"It's a big deal," Moore said. "I didn't even realize until this week, someone mentioned to me that October 15 was the anniversary for the team being voted number one. I didn't realize it myself until this week. It's a pretty big deal once you put it in perspective and think about it."

Though the current squad remains far from a No. 1 ranking at this point, Moore felt confident that such a goal remains reachable for the Cavaliers.

"I think having done it here before, you know, I think it's something that we could definitely get back to it," Moore said. "It's going to take a lot of recruiting and getting the type of players that Coach [Mike] London wants to get and just really establishing that mental toughness that that team had.

"Someone asked me earlier, 'What separated that team from everyone else back in 1990?' And that team just had a lot of swagger about them. They were very arrogant and cocky, and every time they went on the field we felt like we couldn't lose."

By Steve Yanda  | October 14, 2010; 8:54 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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