BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) – Virginia finally stole a road win.
Defensive end Cam Johnson ripped the ball right out of Edward Wright-Baker’s hands with 1:13 left in Saturday night’s game, setting up a 23-yard field goal from Robert Randolph to give the Cavaliers a 34-31 come-from-behind win at Indiana.
Second-year coach Mike London improved to 1-5 all-time outside of Charlottesville, and it came with another shocking twist in a bizarre game.
Indiana (0-2) seemed poised to give new head coach Kevin Wilson his first victory after rallying from a 20-point second half deficit by turning three late turnovers into three touchdowns and 31-23 lead with just 6:34 to play.
Virginia (2-0), however, had the answer.
The Cavaliers drove down the field, getting a 3-yard touchdown run from Perry Jones to close to 31-29. Michael Rocco connected with tight end Paul Freedman, who twisted his way into the end zone for the tying 2-point conversion.
It still wasn’t over.
Indiana got the ball back with 1:36 and was playing to win in regulation. But on third-and-3 from the Hoosiers’ 23, Wright-Baker took a seven-step drop and had barely set up in the pocket when the untouched Johnson raced around the corner. Wright-Baker never saw Johnson, who stripped the ball as both players fell to the ground at the Indiana 14.
Four plays later, Randolph trotted onto the field and lined up between the hash marks for the winning kick.
Kevin Parks carried 11 times for 37 and two touchdowns, while Jones carried 22 times for 78 yards and the one score.
Indiana, which trailed 23-3 early in the third quarter, got an 8-yard TD run from Matt Perez midway through the quarter to make it 24-10. Perez made it 23-17 on a 1-yard run, just five plays after Virginia lost a muffed punt at its own 19.
On the next series, Jones was stripped by Jarrell Drane, and Lawrence Barnett scooped up the bouncing ball and sprinted 54 yards to give Indiana its first lead at 24-23. It was Indiana’s first fumble return for a TD since Sept. 20, 2008.
Then Chase Hoobler forced Rocco into a bad pass that was picked off by Greg Heban, his second of the game, and Indiana converted that into a juggling 18-yard TD pass from Wright-Baker to Duwyce Wilson for a 31-23 lead with 6:34 to play.
But the Cavaliers, who scored 10 points in the final 32 seconds of the first half, tied the score, got the turnover and made the field goal to win it.