Virginia puts home streak on line vs. NC State
Virginia puts a nine-game home winning streak on the line Saturday against a North Carolina State team coming off its biggest road win since 2017.
The Cavaliers (1-1, 1-1 ACC) have not lost in Charlottesville since Nov. 2, 2018. The Wolfpack (2-1, 2-1) pulled off a last-minute 30-29 victory at then-No. 24 Pittsburgh on Saturday, their first road win against a Top 25 foe since beating No. 12 Florida State on Sept. 23, 2017, in Tallahassee.
Making his first start of the season for NC State, redshirt sophomore Devin Leary drove his team 79 yards in eight plays and fired a 13-yard touchdown pass to Emeka Emezie with 23 seconds left for a 30-29 win against the previously unbeaten Panthers.
Leary completed 28 of 44 passes for 336 yards and four touchdowns. Emezie (seven catches, 101 yards) and Cary Angeline (four catches, 60 yards) each caught two TDs.
Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said he was proud of his team for bouncing back from a 45-24 loss at Virginia Tech on Sept. 26, when redshirt junior Bailey Hockman completed just 7 of 16 passes for 82 yards with two interceptions and lost his starting job to Leary.
“It was great to go on the road and beat a Top 25 team in Pitt, particularly when we were coming off a game where we performed as badly as we probably could have,” Doeren said Monday. “To see the fight and resiliency of our staff and our players and how they worked through that and learned from it, I’m very proud of them.”
NC State left Pittsburgh with the win despite being outgained 503-398. The Wolfpack gained only 62 rushing yards on 30 attempts. On the positive side, they allowed the Panthers to score only two touchdowns on five trips inside the red zone.
“We can’t let a win on the road get to our head,” Doeren said. “We can’t at any means, at any time get a big head because of one thing we did well.”
Virginia also did a few things well in its last game. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers were playing at No. 1 Clemson, where it takes a lot more than doing a few things well to get a W. The Tigers led wire-to-wire in a 41-23 victory over the Cavaliers on Saturday night.
UVA did gain 417 yards of offense, the most allowed by Clemson in an ACC game since 2017. The Cavaliers outgained the Tigers 147-137 on the ground, as well. That included 89 rushing yards by redshirt sophomore quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who also passed for 270 yards and three touchdowns.
Virginia, which was routed 62-17 by Clemson last December in the ACC Championship game, pulled to within 27-17 midway through the third quarter.
“We were anxious to play, eager to play, and believed we could win,” Cavaliers coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “A handful of plays — a handful meaning five or six — were the difference in the game, and to Clemson’s credit, they made those plays.”
Seven Virginia players missed the Clemson game due to quarantine after a member of the coaching staff tested positive for COVID-19. The school did not identify any of the players involved.
NC State won the last meeting between the teams, 35-21, in 2018.
–Field Level Media