by Mike Potter
CARTER-FINLEY STADIUM/RALEIGH N.C. State had to wait until the final 15 minutes last season to secure bowl eligibility, but this time the Wolfpack could lock it up with three games remaining.
It’s a very cool autumn afternoon as the Wolfpack (5-3, 2-2 ACC) hosts Virginia (2-6, 0-4) on Homecoming day with a chance to get its sixth win.
The Wolfpack is licking its wounds after a heartbreaking 43-35 loss at UNC last week, while the Cavaliers are reeling with six losses in a row.
Scouts from the Chick-Fil-A and Russell Athletic Bowls are on hand; Virginia would have to run the table to be bowl-eligible.
What happens is a disastrous day for the Wolfpack, as State doesn’t score until the fourth quarter of what turns into a 33-6 loss.
The Cavaliers draw first blood as they take the opening kickoff and drive 75 yards in 11 plays. Quarterback Phillip Sims hits the right pylon from a yard out, with Ian Frye adding the boot.
Virginia doubles its lead with 27 seconds left in the quarter, as Michael Rocco hits Darius Jennings from 18 yards out to complete a 10-play, 68-yard march.
It goes to 16-0 with 3:17 left in the half, when Mike Glennon is called for intentional grounding from the end zone.
And the Cavaliers pretty much put it away with 11:10 left in the third quarter, as Sims finds Tim Smith from 38 yards out and Drew Jarrett adds the boot.
Virginia tacks on three more with 14:51 left on Jarrett’s 33-yard field goal.
State finally gets on the board with 6:30 to go, as Glennon finds Mario Carter from two yards out to finish a 10-play, 68-yard drive and make it 26-6. Glennon’s conversion pass is incomplete.
But the Cavaliers tack on one more with 4:28 left on a 31-yard run from Kevin Parks.
Parks carries 25 times for 115 yards and a TD. Sims completes eight of 10 passes for 115 yards and a TD, while Rocco completes 12 of 23 for 83 yards and a TD.
Glennon completes 23 of 46 for 197 yards and a TD with three interceptions. State finishes with 19 yards rushing and 216 total offense.
They said it …
O’Brien: “They used their off week to good advantage, came in here and got after us and we didn’t respond. That’s on me and I’ve got to get it corrected and make sure this football team gets back to doing what it has to do to win football games. It’s a week-to-week game. It doesn’t matter what anybody did last week. We have to get ourselves ready to play week-to-week, and if we don’t do it we can’t win.”
London: “It was a tremendous job by the coaches and players. The coaches who put together this game plan and the players for executing the game plan. We played a very good N.C. State team at home on their homecoming, and all those different things added up to guys sticking to the plan, believing in themselves and having a chance to pick up a win.”
Glennon: “Obviously they played better than us. We didn’t execute like we needed to. We’ll look at the film and see what we did wrong. The first quarter seemed like it went by really fast. And in the second quarter we just weren’t doing our jobs. It was a tough day, a frustrating day. We’ll just have to move on and do better next week.”
State wide receiver Bryan Underwood: “We’ve seen worse, but we can’t get our heads down. We’ve got to come back next week and be ready to go. We just came out and before we knew it we were down. We kept fighting, but we’re not down. UNC had nothing to do with this. We have to hold ourselves accountable for what we did.”
What does it all mean?
That State needs to get the momentum turned around in a hurry, and that Virginia’s chances for a miracle finish are still alive.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
The safety to make it 16-0.
State: Lost 2.
Virginia: Won 1.
State leads 34-22-1.
State vs. Wake Forest, Nov. 10, TBA
Virginia vs. Miami, Nov. 10, TBA