Late turnovers cast shadow over loss at Wake Forest
Throwing a pair of interceptions in the fourth quarter Saturday, Virginia junior quarterback Kurt Benkert cost the Cavaliers (2-7, 1-4 ACC) after they had scored 14 unanswered points to take a 20-17 lead in the third quarter. Virginia dropped its fourth-straight ACC contest, falling 27-20 to Wake Forest.
The Demon Deacons (6-3, 3-2 ACC) returned Benkert’s first pick 41 yards to the Virginia 11-yard line, resulting in a 36-yard field goal to tie the game at 20. Benkert’s second interception — an ill-advised heave out of the pocket into the arms of Demon Deacon redshirt freshman defensive back Jessie Bates — was returned for a touchdown with 6:47 remaining in regulation.
The Cavalier offense failed to answer back in the final minutes, as Wake Forest recorded its fifth sack of Benkert to hold Virginia on its final possession. Benkert finished with two touchdowns, but with just 190 yards passing and the two aforementioned turnovers as well.
Senior running back Taquan Mizzell carried the Cavalier offense, tallying 80 rushing yards and 79 receiving — the bulk of which came on his 45-yard, go-ahead touchdown reception in the third quarter. Junior wide receiver Doni Dowling added eight catches for 76 yards and a score.
Behind their offensive line’s effort, three Wake Forest ball carriers combined for 226 rushing yards on 51 carries. Junior quarterback John Wolford had a game-high 94 rushing yards — including a 64-yard touchdown scamper in the first quarter — and completed nine of 10 pass attempts for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Junior linebacker Micah Kiser again played with great energy on the defensive side of the ball, leading all players with 11 tackles and adding a sack. However, the Virginia offense’s inability to move the ball hurt his unit’s chances of slowing the Wake Forest ground attack as the game wore on.
The Cavaliers will play their final home game Saturday against Miami. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Scott Stadium.