The Virginia Cavaliers had more total yards than the NC State Wolfpack, but they could not overcome a 24-0 deficit as NC State came away with the victory, 38-21, Saturday afternoon at Scott Stadium. UVA cut the lead to 10 on two different occasions, but that was as close as the Hoos would get as costly turnovers and missed catches hindered a chance at a comeback.
In the first three games of the season, UVA has been outscored 35-0 in the first quarter, and they trailed 14-0 in this game. NC State’s first score came on a 5 yd touchdown thrown by Devin Leary to Travis Pennix. On the next possession, NC State pulled off a complicated trick play with a handoff and two laterals that led to Devin Leary throwing his second touchdown to Cary Angeline. Meanwhile, the Hoos only gained 16 total yards on their first 3 possessions. Brennan Armstrong had a rough outing after an impressive performance against Clemson last week. He threw two interceptions, caught by Shyheim Battle and C.J. Riley, in the first half that led to 10 NC State points.
Late in the second quarter, NC State’s Tanner Ingle was called for targeting Brennan Armstrong, disqualifying him for the rest of the game. Armstrong exited the game following the late hit in the head and would not return. Backup Lindell Stone entered the game as UVA’s new quarterback. After a NC State scored on a Zonovan Knight 35 yard rushing touchdown to make it 24-0 with 2:03 remaining, Lindell Stone led an impressive two-minute drill drive and threw his first career touchdown pass to Billy Kemp to get on the board just before the half.
The second half started slow as well for the Hoos. The offense went three and out and then Vi Jones blocked Nash Griffin’s punt in the red zone. De’Vante Cross came up with a huge interception in the end zone to prevent further damage. After trading punts, UVA fumbled the football midway through the third quarter, and once again the defense stepped up and forced NC State to punt.
UVA’s best drive of the game consisted of 10 plays for 97 yards that ended in a touchdown. It looked like another punt for the Hoos on a 4th and 5, but Bronco Mendenhall pulled out a trick play and punter Nash Griffin lobbed a 26 yard pass to Nick Jackson to keep the drive alive. Lindell Stone took advantage of the second chance and threw 3 straight completions to Terell Jana for 8 yards, Billy Kemp IV for 20 yards, and Tony Poljan for the 1 yard touchdown. This cut the score to 24-14, giving the Hoos plenty of time for a comeback, but that would not be the case.
Two possessions after the touchdown, UVA had the ball looking to make it a one score game. However, Lindell Stone threw a pass that was deflected and then intercepted by Alim McNeil, and the defensive tackle ran 18 yards for the pick 6, padding his team’s lead with 11:10 remaining in the 4th quarter.
UVA pulled together another nice drive with 17 plays for 89 yards, capped by a touchdown catch by the impressive freshman Lavel Davis Jr to make it 31-21, but there was not enough time to mount a comeback. The Hoos had to go for a 4th and 10 late in the game and couldn’t convert deep in their own territory, leading to NC State’s final touchdown which made the final score 38-21.
Lindell Stone stepped up admirably for Brennan Armstrong, throwing 30 complete passes in 53 attempts for 240 yards, 3 touchdowns, and the 1 interception. The biggest difference was the lack of a run game. After falling behind early, Virginia could not establish its ground game and lacked another running threat after Armstrong left the game. The Hoos finished the game with only 82 rushing yards, just one week after rushing for 147 yards against Clemson.
Next Saturday, UVA goes on the road to face Wake Forest next Saturday at 4 pm, looking to get back on track
Written by Kathleen Boyce