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‘Hoos rally, win wild one at Indiana, 34-31

Robert Randolph connected on a 23-yard field goal as time expired to cap an improbable Virginia 34-31 comeback win over Indiana Saturday night in Bloomington.

The win was improbable on a few levels. UVa. (2-0) had led 16-3 at the half and extended its lead to 23-3 two minutes into the third on a six-yard run by Kevin Parks that seemed to be pushing the Cavaliers to a second straight blowout win over the Hoosiers.

Then the wheels fell off the Wahoo bandwagon. A questionable late-hit penalty extended an IU drive after a third-down pass fell incomplete, and the Hoosiers (0-2) capitalized on an eight-yard Matt Perez TD run to pull within 23-10.

Another questionable call made the game much closer. Officials ruled that an Indiana punt had hit a Virginia player before being covered by the Hoosiers at the Virginia 19. UVa. coach Mike London called timeout to issue a coaches’ challenge, but despite several replay angles showing that the ball had not hit a Cavalier before being downed by Indiana, the replay booth ruled that there was not enough evidence to overturn the call on the field, even as London was not able to get an answer from officials on the field as to which player had touched the ball.

Perez scored from a yard out 31 seconds into the fourth quarter to pull Indiana to within 23-17.

Lawrence Burnett scooped up a Perry Jones fumble on Virginia’s next possession and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown to give Indiana a 24-23 lead with 12:01 left. Duwyce Wilson scored on an 18-yard TD pass from Edward Wright-Baker with 6:34 to go to give the Hoosiers a 31-23 lead and seemingly the game.

UVa. responded with a 15-play, 77-yard drive that culminated with a Jones three-yard touchdown run that pulled Virginia to within 31-29 with 1:36 to go. Quarterback Michael Rocco connected with tight end Paul Freedman on the ensuing two-point conversion to tie the game at 31.

With the game seemingly headed at this point for overtime, Cam Johnson sacked Wright-Baker and in the process stripped the ball from Wright-Baker and recovered the fumble at the IU 14, setting up the game-winning Randolph field goal.

Rocco completed 15 of his 29 pass attempts for 191 yards and had two passes intercepted.

Jones led a balanced Virginia rushing attack with 78 yards on 22 carries. Parks had 37 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns for UVa.

augusta free press
augusta free press