Four early penalties stalled the Wolfpack's first two drives and solid defense against Virginia limited the Wahoos, but it was the Cavaliers who struck first. Quarterback Jameel Sewell led an 8-play, 75-yard drive late in the first quarter that resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by tailback Kevin Snelling. Snelling was big on the drive, as he rushed for 17 yards and caught a 23-yard pass that put the Cavs deep in Wolfpack territory. Another big play was Sewell's 24-yard pass to Kevin Ogletree that set up Snelling's one-yard plunge. After getting off to a rocky start, Sewell was 3-of-3 on the possession as Virginia took an early 7-0 advantage.
75 of Virginia's 77 total yards of offense in the first half came from the drive, while the Wolfpack totaled 81 total yards of offense that was restricted by four penalties of 24 yards.
NC State mounted its first serious drive of the first half in the final few minutes, but the drive stalled at the Virginia 16-yard line. After two plays resulted in a loss of four yards, Evans found Darrell Blackman open at the 16 on third down, but John Deraney missed a 33-yard field goal in the last few seconds of the half, leaving the score 7-0.
The Wolfpack dominated the first half everywhere except the scoreboard. State churned up 177 yards of total offense and held the ball for nearly 20 minutes. The Cavaliers tallied 113 yards, but 75 came on the lone first-half scoring drive. The Wolfpack's Daniel Evans completed 14-of-19 passes for 127 yards, but he couldn't direct any scoring drives as most were hampered by untimely penalties and negative plays.
Virginia opened the second half with Cedric Peerman returning the kickoff 53 yards to the Wolfpack 47, but the Pack defense stepped up. Defensive end Martrel Brown sacked Sewell on first down, and following a penalty and an incompletion the Cavs were forced to punt.
Both teams struggled offensively in the third quarter, as the Wolfpack only generated 29 yards of total offense, looking stagnant and flustered with the penalties and mishaps.
State mounted some momentum midway through the fourth quarter. Starting at his own 12-yard line, Evans connected with Dunlap down the sideline on a 28-yard fade route. Two plays later the duo would connect again, and Evans came right back with a 10-yard completion to Anthony Hill. After a UVA offsides penalty gave the Wolfpack 1st-and-5, Evans would toss three straight incompletions before connecting with Darrell Blackman on fourth down for 24 yards to the Virginia 8. Three plays later Evans would go back to his favorite target, finding Dunlap in the back of the endzone for the 8-yard touchdown. The 11-play, 87-yard drive tied the score at 7-7 with just 4:48 remaining in the game.
Virginia bounced back with the game-winning drive, sustaining its first long drive since its first-quarter score. After three Sewell completions sprinkled in with a couple of runs, Snelling broke free for an 18-yard scamper to the Wolfpack 17-yard line, and on the next play he would score his second touchdown of the day, giving Virginia a 14-7 lead with 1:31 left.
Following the kick the Wolfpack took over on the 23-yard line, but two plays later Evans would be picked off by Tony Franklin, ending the Pack's chances at a victory.
The redshirt sophomore finished the game completing 21-of-35 passes for 220 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. The Wolfpack totaled 272 yards of total offense, but just 102 in the second half. The tailback tandem of Andre Brown and Toney Baker were limited to just 71 yards on 22 carries, as Virginia did a great job of taking them out of the game. Tight end Anthony Hill led the Wolfpack with six catches for 41 yards and Dunlap added four catches for 80 yards, including the Pack's lone score.
Virginia totaled 247 yards of total offense, with 150 coming on its two scoring drives that consisted of 16 plays. For the rest of the game, the Wolfpack's defense held the Cavaliers to just 97 yards on 43 plays, an average of 2.26 yards per play. However in the game of football every play and every drive counts and the two possessions that led to UVA's 14 points came back to haunt the Pack in the end.
Leading the offense for UVA was Snelling. The senior tailback rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, and Sewell chipped in 22 yards on 12 rushes along with his 12-of-22 day passing the football. Kevin Ogletree led Virginia's wideouts, recording four catches for 56 yards.
Things get even tougher for NC State (3-5, 2-3), a team desperately in need of a victory. Next week they will host Georgia Tech, the leader of the Coastal Division and follow that with a road trip to Clemson. After jumping out to a 2-0 record in conference play with a legitimate chance at winning the division, three losses later and the Wolfpack has to just be hoping to get bowl eligible at this point. With Tech and Clemson on deck, games against rivals North Carolina and ECU will round out the season.