Virginia Rallies to Defeat N.C. State
October 24, 1998
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Thomas Jones wasn’t the best running back on thefield Saturday. That honor went to Ray Robinson, North Carolina State’sfreshman tailback, who had two huge runs and 202 rushing yards in all.
But after a key third-down pass from Aaron Brooks to Anthony Southernfinally got the No. 16 Cavaliers going late in the third quarter, it was Joneswho put the finishing touches on a 92-yard, nine-play drive.
“We were down and we needed a touchdown to go ahead,” the ACC’s rushingleader said after a 117-yard, two-touchdown performance lifted Virginia to a23-13 victory over the Wolfpack. “That’s all that was on my mind.”
The victory allowed Virginia (6-1, 4-1 ACC) to stay in the conference titlerace, especially with front-runners Florida State and Georgia Tech playingSaturday night. first ACC loss later Saturday night at Atlanta. The Wolfpackfell to 4-3, 2-2.
The victory also was costly as safety Anthony Poindexter sustained whatcoach George Welsh described as a sprained left knee at minimum, and defensiveend Travis Griffith dislocated his left elbow. Poindexter is expected to havean MRI on Sunday.
Until late in the third quarter, Virginia looked like it might follow its41-38 loss to Georgia Tech with a clunker against the Wolfpack, which last yeardeprived the Cavaliers of a bowl bid with a 31-24 victory.
Then Brooks hit Southern for 22 yards on third-and-5 from the Virginia 15,only the Cavaliers fourth third-down conversion of the game, and gave theoffense the lift it needed after a series of drops and failed plays.
“I think there was a lot of enthusiasm coming off that play,” said Brooks,who completed only 8-of-23 passes for 130 yards.
Brooks hit Terence Wilkins for 16 on the next play, Antwoine Womack ran for22 yards and Jones did the rest, carrying on four straight plays, including an8-yard run on third-and-2 and then the 9-yard scoring burst.
That gave the Cavaliers a 16-13 lead, but it wasn’t over.
North Carolina State, which beat No. 6 Florida State and No. 21 Syracuseearlier this season, drove from its 19 to the Cavaliers 23 before a 16-yardholding penalty and Patrick Kearney’s sack of Jamie Barnette pushed theWolfpack back to the 44, out of Daniel Deskevich’s field goal range.
“I was trying to hold the ball for as long as I could until one of ourreceivers could get open,” Barnette said of the sack, which came onthird-and-29 from the Virginia 42. “But Kearney did a great job.”
Barnette finished 21-of-45 for 261 yards and became the school’s careertotal offense leader with 6,104 yards. Nine of his passes were caught by ChrisColeman for 158 yards, and four went to Torry Holt for 33 yards, ending hisstring of 100-yard games at five. Holt’s longest went for 12 yards.
Antwoine Womack finished the scoring, running 21 yards for a touchdown with1:20 to play after Tim Spruill’s interception of Barnette’s pass.
Womack gained 109 yards in 21 carries.
Until Jones took over late in the third quarter, the game belonged toRobinson, who came in with 60 carries for 241 yards in his first six games andnearly doubled his yardage total. He ran 88 yards for a touchdown on theWolfpack’s third play, and added a 62-yard burst to set up a field goal.
“He’s just starting to show his talent,” Barnette said of Robinson.
The 88-yarder was the second-longest run in school history, thesecond-longest ever against Virginia and came only a week after the Wolfpackmanaged only 18 rushing yards all day in its 27-24 victory against Duke.
Jones drew Virginia even, capping a 10-play, 82-yard drive with a 14-yardrun, but Robinson did it again in the second quarter. This time, he ran 62yards from the Wolfpack 10 to set up Deskevich’s first field goal, a 39-yarder.Deskevich added a 29-yarder as time ran out in the first half, capping a drivefrom the Wolfpack 16 to the Virginia 12 in the final 1:23.
The first half also featured another punting mistake by North CarolinaState, this one producing a safety for Virginia as Devon Simmons blocked JesseWade’s punt from his end zone out of the end zone. It was the third time thisseason that the Wolfpack’s punting unit gave up a safety.
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer