RALEIGH, N.C. – When Virginia wasn’t taking the ball from Mike Glennon, the Cavaliers were throwing him to the turf.
Their defense forced five turnovers — after getting just four in the previous eight games — and six sacks in a 33-6 rout of North Carolina State on Saturday that snapped a six-game losing streak.
“We could’ve said, ‘Screw it,’ but we didn’t,” defensive end Jake Snyder said. “We hung in there and felt that this was the most important game for us.”
Phillip Sims ran for one touchdown and threw for another, and Kevin Parks rushed for 115 yards and a late 31-yard touchdown for the Cavaliers (3-6, 1-4 Atlantic Coast Conference).
The defense held N.C. State to 19 yards rushing with three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a safety. It sacked Glennon five times and his backup once.
“Our guys played fast and excited,” coach Mike London said. “When we play like that, we are a good team.”
And not to be outdone, the offense rolled up 446 total yards. Sims was 8 of 10 for 115 yards with a 38-yard touchdown pass to Tim Smith and a 1-yard TD run that started the scoring for Virginia. Backup Michael Rocco added an 18-yard touchdown pass to Darius Jennings.
Glennon finished 23 of 46 for a season-low 197 yards with four turnovers — three interceptions and a fumble. The Wolfpack (5-4, 2-3) has 19 turnovers in their four losses.
“Give them credit. They came out to play, and they beat us,” Glennon said. “Obviously, a frustrating day, but we’ll just have to move on.”
His 2-yard touchdown pass to Mario Carter with 6:30 left helped N.C. State avoid its first home shutout since it lost 37-0 to Maryland in 2007.
The Virginia defense was dominant all day, especially on the safety that led to a 16-0 lead shortly before halftime. Will Hill wrapped up Glennon in the end zone as he intentionally spiked the ball into the turf with 3:17 before the break.
Virginia extended its lead to 23-0 on its first possession of the second half, when Smith got behind Dontae Johnson, and Sims found him in the end zone. Drew Jarrett kicked a 33-yard field goal on the second play of the fourth to make it 26-0. Parks then broke his long touchdown run with 4:28 left.
This one could have been even worse had Virginia not blown a golden opportunity moments before halftime.
Jake Snyder recovered Glennon’s fumble at the Wolfpack 19 with 38 seconds left. Virginia lined up to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1, but receiver Jake McGee was called for a false start, and Ian Frye pushed a 22-yard field-goal attempt wide right.
N.C. State’s previous four games each came down to the final minute. This one was over much sooner.
The Cavaliers jumped on N.C. State early, scoring on their first offensive series and leading 14-0 after one quarter. That turned out to be a bad omen for a slow-starting N.C. State team that fell behind by multiple scores in the first quarters of each of its previous three losses.
“They definitely used their off week to a good advantage, went after us and we didn’t respond,” N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien said. “That’s on me, and I’ve got to get it corrected and make sure this football team does what it has to do to win football games.”
Sims led the Cavaliers methodically downfield on their first drive and capped it by scoring on a rollout from 1 yard less than 5 minutes in. It came two plays after he dropped a sure-thing touchdown pass from tailback Perry Jones in the end zone on a trick play, then crumpled to the grass in embarrassment.
“It was important for us to score to show that we could move the ball,” London said.
Two series later, it was Rocco’s turn to lead a scoring drive. He found a wide-open Jennings at the left pylon to give Virginia its first two-score lead since Sept. 29 against Louisiana Tech.
Credit: The Associated Press.