Virginia was lucky last year to go 8-4 in the regular season, as they overcame turnover issues and managed to eek out victory after victory in close games. This year the Hoos have seen a reversal of fortunes, going 0-3 in tight games en route to losing 6 in a row. But the indifferent N. C. State Wolfpack are good for what ails ya, and Virginia proved to be quite formidable when it holds on to the ball.
The Pack turned it over 5 times while the Hoos turned it over just once Saturday and the restless homecoming crowd at Carter-Finley went home to their afternoon hangover with a 33-6 loss. The 5 turnovers the Pack gifted the Hoos more than doubled the number of turnovers they had collected through 8 games.
The Pack followed their normal script of not answering the bell in the first quarter; they trailed 14-0 after one thanks in part to David Amerson inexplicably pulling up and letting Phillip Simms scamper untouched into the end zone. But unlike in previous games, there was no getting it together and staging a comeback. Mike Glennon, who tossed 3 picks, was sacked for a safety, and lost a fumble, didn't manage to get his troops into the red zone until the 4th quarter.
Glennon's touchdown pass to Mario Carter with 6:30 left cut the Hoos' lead to 26-6, but the Pack quickly went 4 and out after recovering the ensuing onside kick, and any hopes of miraculously erasing the deficit brought on by 3 and half quarters of disinterested play faded when Asa Watson dropped what would have been a first down reception. The pass was behind him, but he had both hands on it. Drops were once again an issue for Pack "skill" position players, though Glennon was not the least bit accurate or threw 100 mph bullets when a touch pass was in order on most of the miscues.
Glennon was just 23-for-46 for 197 yards. That's a spectacular 4.3 yards per attempt. Simms was 8-for-10 for 115 yards and a score for the Hoos. In an effort to keep the Pack in the game, Mike London inexplicably had Simms share time with Mike Rocco, who was 12-or-23 for just 83 yards but miraculously managed to go unintercepted despite throwing a couple balls off of Wolfpack players' hands.
Other than turnovers, the most glaring issue in the box score was the rushing game. State pretty much never even tried to establish the run game; Virginia ran it down State's throats. The Hoo rushing advantage was 248-19.
The difference in the game was likely not a thing to show up in the box score. State, lacking a coach that effectively motivates, was sulking after shitting the bed against UNC. Them sheets need changing again now.
To answer Akula's question from earlier in the week: are we crazy NOT to want change?