NC State finds ground game, grounds UVA, 35-21

uva nc stateNC State was able to revive a dormant ground game, churning out 176 yards rushing to balance a strong passing attack, in defeating UVA, 35-21, on Saturday in Raleigh.

Virginia (3-2, 1-1 ACC) led just once, after a 35-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Perkins to Olamide Zaccheaus put the ‘Hoos on top 7-3 in the first quarter.

State (4-0, 1-0 ACC) would score 24 unaswered, leading 20-7 at the half and then going up 27-7 on a Reggie Gallaspy II 2-yard TD run midway through the third quarter.

UVA would twice get the margin back to two scores, on another Perkins-to-Zaccheaus TD pass late in the third, and a Jordan Ellis 7-yard run with 3:08 left in the fourth, that got the Cavaliers back to 35-21.

Virginia recovered an onside kick after the Ellis TD and got the ball inside the Wolfpack 10, but Perkins was intercepted by Dexter Wright on a second-and-five pass inside the 5 with 1:06 to go to end it.

Perkins finished the day 20-for-35 passing for 258 yards and two touchdowns, with two passes intercepted.

The Virginia ground game ground to a halt on Saturday, gaining just 93 yards on 29 attempts, with Ellis, who had come in as the ACC’s second-leading rusher, averaging 112 yards per game, gaining just 30 yards on 13 attempts.

Perkins, 11th-best in the ACC rushing coming in, at 79.2 yards per game, ran for 24 yards on 14 attempts.

Zaccheaus had another solid game for the ‘Hoos, hauling in nine catches for 109 yards and the two touchdowns through the air.

State had struggled running the ball this season, gaining 107.7 yards per game on the ground, before Saturday’s outburst.

Ricky Person Jr., who had been out since the Pack’s 24-13 season-opening win over JMU, was the linchpin, gaining 108 yards on 14 carries.

Quarterback Ryan Finley was 22-for-32 passing for 257 yards and three touchdowns through the air.

NC State outgained UVA 433-351.

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