CHARLOTTESVILLE—With Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling out of Saturday's game against No. 3 Southern California because of a leg injury, redshirt freshman Chase Minnifield got to start in his first college game.
Minnifield, a 6-foot, 192-pound native of Lexington, Ky., may not face a more talented group of receivers all season than USC's bunch. Wide receiver Damian Williams led the Trojans with seven catches for 91 yards. Vidal Hazelton, a product of Hargrave Military Academy, added five catches for 33 yards.
"They're big receivers, NFL prototype guys," said Minnifield, who had four tackles. "In the long run, our dream is to play in the NFL, so you've either got to get used to (big receivers) now or later."
SPEEDY GREENUVa redshirt freshman receiver Jared Green caught three passes for 40 yards in his collegiate debut. His first reception was for 16 yards on UVa's opening play of the second half.
"Probably in the last seven or eight days he started to show some things that showed up today," UVa coach Al Groh said. "He made some nice plays. What he's starting to do is use his speed. He's one of the faster players we have here."
Hey, it's in the genes. Green is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Darrell Green, the former Washington Redskins cornerback.
Fourteen other Cavaliers played in their first college game.
REYERING MISSESThough UVa senior place-kicker Yannick Reyering didn't have a first game to remember, he won't soon forget the experience of playing in front of 64,947 fans, a Scott Stadium record.
Reyering, a senior from Mettingen, Germany, missed on his only field-goal attempt. He pushed a 46-yard attempt just right of the goalposts. He's in his first season as a kicker for the football team, but he already has been on a big athletic stage. He led UVa's soccer team in scoring in three seasons and played in the 2006 College Cup, the Final Four of men's soccer.
"Soccer Final Fours are a big thing, but I don't think anything in college soccer can prepare you for what I faced (Saturday)," Reyering said.