CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -Mikell Simpson ran 1 yard for a touchdown with 2:18 to play Saturday and Virginia beat No. 21 Wake Forest 17-16, the Cavaliers’ third one-point victory in four games and the first loss for the Demon Deacons in seven games.
Virginia (8-2, 5-1 ACC) moved back into first place in the Coastal Division by again coming through at the end. Their last four victories have come by a total of five points, all after scoring plays in the closing minutes.
Wake Forest (6-3, 4-2) drove to Virginia’s 30 in the closing seconds, but Sam Swank’s 47-yard field goal attempt with 2 seconds left missed. He had made 13 of 14 field goals before missing his last two against Virginia.
Virginia trailed 16-10 when it got the ball at its 44 with about six minutes to play, and used almost four minutes to drive for the go-ahead points. Jameel Sewell completed a 10-yard pass to Maurice Covington on fourth-and-2 from the Demon Deacons 24 to keep it going, then almost ran it in on the next play before getting tripped up at the 3.
Two plays later, Simpson took it in, allowing the Cardiac Cavaliers and coach Al Groh to avoid some second-guessing after they passed on a field goal try earlier.
Wake Forest took over at its 27 and drove to Virginia’s 30 behind the passing of quarterback Riley Skinner. Once in Swank’s range, however, Wake ran the ball on consecutive plays to set up for the field goal, and Swank missed it to the right.
An interception by Ras-I Dowling set up Virginia at Wake Forest’s 27 in the third quarter, and the Cavaliers elected to go for it on fourth-and-2 at the 19 rather than try a field goal. Sewell’s fourth-down pass for Jonathan Stupar was too high.
The Deacons promptly drove 81 yards behind Skinner to take the lead.
Skinner hit Kenny Moore for 25 yards on a third-and-8, took a quarterback sneak 2 yards to the Virginia 32 on a fourth-and-1 and ran 12 yards when all his receivers were covered to the Cavaliers 18 on another third-and-8. On the touchdown, he scrambled to his right and had room to run, but stopped and threw a laser to Moore in the end zone.
That gave Wake Forest the lead at 13-10.
The Cavaliers drove 56 yards in 61 seconds just before halftime to take a 10-6 lead. Sewell and Maurice Covington teamed up twice on the drive – a 17-yard completion to start it and a 39-yarder for Covington’s first career touchdown with 0:10 left.
Virginia missed an early chance when it drove to the Deacons 19 before Simpson and Sewell botched the exchange on a handoff and Chantz McClinic recovered for Wake Forest.
Wake missed one when Swank’s 43-yard field goal try with 3:47 left in the first half hit the left upright.