Virginia trounces mistake-prone N.C. State 33-6

jgiglio@newsobserver.comNovember 4, 2012 

— After a loss so thorough and disappointing, Mike Glennon didn’t bother to enumerate N.C. State’s problems on Saturday.

The senior quarterback simply bottom-lined the Wolfpack’s 33-6 mistake-filled loss to Virginia, an ACC team which had been on a six-game losing streak.

"Virginia just came out and played better than us," the senior quarterback said. "I don’t know exactly what went wrong."

After five turnovers, eight dropped passes and seven penalties, the better question after Saturday’s puzzling effort was what went right?

The Wolfpack (5-4, 2-3 ACC) rolled all of the mistakes from its previous losses into one miserable performance.

Slow start? Check.

Turnovers? Check.

Penalties? Check.

Dropped passes? Check.

"It sure didn’t work out for us today," coach Tom O’Brien said.

No, it didn’t, not even the usual trends save the Wolfpack. Since the start of the 2010 season, N.C. State had been especially good at Carter-Finley Stadium (13-2 before Saturday’s loss) and after a loss (10-1).

Instead, it was Virginia’s 14 first-quarter points and five forced turnovers which proved to be the real deal-breakers as N.C. State suffered consecutive ACC losses for the first time since Nov. 2009.

In its four losses this season, N.C. State has given up 84 points in the first quarter, compared to 13 points in its five wins.

The Pack has 19 turnovers in its four losses, compared to four in its five wins.

The eight dropped passes and seven penalties were just insult to injury against a Virginia team which gave up 56 points to Georgia Tech, 44 to Louisiana Tech and 42 to Duke earlier this season.

"The penalties in the first half, and the dropped balls, we couldn’t sustain anything," O’Brien said.

More problematic, senior safety Earl Wolff said, there was a lack of urgency and energy. Which, in early starts — either noon or 12:30 p.m. kickoffs — has been a problem for the program. Of the 13 losses since the start of the 2010 season, eight have been in early kickoffs.

"There wasn’t a lot of energy, honestly," Wolff said. "I don’t know what people are thinking about. I don’t know if we are ’in it’ or ’out of it.’ I don’t know."

The Wolfpack, which had 534 total yards in last week’s loss at North Carolina, finished with 216 on Saturday. Glennon was responsible for four turnovers and he was sacked for a safety.

The Cavaliers (3-6) scored two touchdowns in the first quarter, a bad sign for N.C. State’s defense. The Pack has lost all three games this season it has given up more than seven points in the first quarter.

Quarterback Phillip Sims ran in for a 1-yard touchdown on the Cavaliers’ first possession for the 7-0 lead.

Backup quarterback Mike Rocco extended UVa’s lead to 14-0 with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Darius Jennings with 27 seconds left in the first quarter.

Chris Brathwaite sacked Glennon with 3:17 left in the second quarter for a Virginia safety. Glennon also took a safety in the Wolfpack’s losses to Tennessee and Miami this season.

Glennon had a fumble, after the fourth UVa sack, with 38 seconds left in the half but the Hoos failed to convert the turnover into points.

"It just seemed like every time something happened, something even worse would happen," Glennon said.

Virginia added 17 points in the second half as N.C. State’s offense sputtered. The Wolfpack avoided its fourth shutout in six years under O’Brien with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Glennon to tight end Mario Carter with 6:30 left in the game.

It was too little and way too late.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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