Virginia's Comeback Effort Falls Short vs. La Tech, Hoos fall 44-38
Sept. 29, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Colby Cameron threw for one touchdown and ran for another, and Louisiana Tech scored 34 unanswered points to rally from an early deficit and beat Virginia 44-38 Saturday.
Ray Holley ran for two touchdowns for the Bulldogs (4-0), who trailed 24-10 midway through the second quarter. They then intercepted Michael Rocco three times and converted each one into a touchdown on their way to their eight consecutive road victory and 11th win in a row during the regular season.
The Cavaliers (2-3) came out seemingly intent on getting into a wide-open game, and flourished into the second quarter. Tailback Perry Jones threw a 36-yard touchdown pass, and Rocco made scoring throws of 73 yards to Khalek Shepherd and 2 yards to Paul Freedman until the Bulldogs’ defense made some plays.
The first came with a big assist from Virginia wideout Dominique Terrell, who got hit in the hands by a pass from Rocco, couldn’t pull it in and deflected it to Quinn Giles, who returned it to Virginia’s 25.
The play came right after the Cavaliers put on a goal-line stand, denying the nation’s No. 3 scoring team any points after a 94-yard kickoff return by D.J. Banks had set them up at the Virginia 3.
Two plays after Giles’ interception, Holley ran it in from the 16 to make it 24-17.
A field goal by Matt Nelson, one of three for him in the game, made it 24-20 at halftime.
The Bulldogs took command in the third quarter, taking the opening kickoff and driving 73 yards in hurry-up mode to Holley’s 11-yard scoring run. After an exchange of punts, Dave Clark intercepted Rocco and returned it to Virginia’s 43, setting up a four-play drive capped by Cameron’s 14-yard scoring run.
Two plays later, Rocco hit linebacker Chip Hester, who took it 32 yards for a touchdown.
The play gave the Bulldogs 31 unanswered points on the home field of a BCS-level school for the second week in a row. They did it in beating Illinois 52-24 of the Big Ten last week in Champaign, Ill.
Rocco, who threw for 265 yards in the first half, was replaced by Alabama transfer Phillip Sims. He threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jake McGee, and then a 23-yarder to Adrian Gamble with 2:08 to play, but after Virginia seemingly held and forced a likely punt, the Cavs sent their punt return team out on the field during a timeout, and when the Bulldogs sent their offense back out onto the field after a timeout, the Cavaliers were called for illegal substitution, giving a game-ending first down.
It was the Cavaliers’ 16th penalty for 145 yards in the game.
Cameron finished 23 for 36 for 218 yards and a 3-yard first-quarter touchdown to R.P. Stuart. It was Cameron’s 12th touchdown pass of the season, and he still has not thrown an interception.
Virginia’s halftime lead came despite being penalized 10 times for 95 yards and giving up 10 points in the final 3:02.
The Cavaliers also tried a surprise onside kick after going ahead 14-3, but Louisiana Tech recovered, got a 15-yard personal foul penalty to set them up at Virginia’s 39 and drove for a TD that made it 14-10.