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Posted at 11:47 AM ET, 11/24/2010

Keith Payne expected to be available to play vs. Virginia Tech

By Steve Yanda

Virginia Coach Mike London said Wednesday that fifth-year senior tailback Keith Payne practiced Tuesday, will practice this afternoon and is expected to play Saturday in the Cavaliers' season finale at Virginia Tech. Payne, the team's leading rusher with 741 yards and 14 touchdowns, sat out last weekend's game at Boston College with what the team described as a "lower extremity" injury.

London credited Jim Daves, Virginia's football media relations director, will providing Payne the spark that hastened his return to the field. In a teleconference with reporters, London said that earlier this week Daves informed Payne that he needed just 40 rushing yards to reach the 1,000-yard plateau for his career.

"So all of the sudden he perked up and started dancing around like a little Shetland pony, so I think he's excited about the opportunity," London said. "I think he's feeling better. It's his last game, an opportunity to do something going out and hopefully a chance to help us compete and win on the field."

Later in the call, Daves set the record straight.

"It's four yards for Keith Payne," Daves said. "But we'll let him think it's 40."

"How about 140?" London said.

"I might tell him that today," Daves responded. "I might say, 'Hey, my math was wrong. It's 140.'"

"Right," London said.

By Steve Yanda  | November 24, 2010; 11:47 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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