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Evans excites Cavalier fans with exceptional defensive play

PROVO, UTAH-You are Jerton Evans and you just intercepted a pass from Heisman Trophy candidate Kevin Feterik to preserve a 45-40 win.

So what do you do next?

"I wanted to dance, actually," Evans said. "But I was just happy it was over, happy I could contribute to the win."

No one could have predicted it would be like this for Evans, a true first year out of Lynchburg, Va.

First years see little playing time at the University, often redshirting to retain that year of eligibility.

But when injuries sidelined fellow defensive backs Dwayne Stukes and Antwan Harris, Evans stepped into the spotlight. And if Saturday's performance was any indication, he doesn't plan on stepping out of it anytime soon.

"I really didn't think about playing this year," Evans said. "I wouldn't have minded sitting out. But I got the opportunity [to play]. I can't let the team down, nobody can. It's like a family. We've got to stick together."

Evans made a pair of big interceptions in Provo, killing two Cougar drives. In the first quarter, Evans leapt in front of BYU wideout Ben Horton to intercept the ball and set up the offense for its third touchdown of the quarter.

Then, on the Cougars' last offensive play, Evans stepped in front of Jonathan Pittman in the end zone, swiping another pass from Feterik, and sealing the win.

Look at it this way: Feterik, a Heisman contender, has thrown four interceptions this year. Evans has two of those four.

"Jerton came up with the big play," fellow defensive back Tim Spruill said. "We told him it was coming. It's time for him to get his name in the books."

With Stukes and Harris both virtually out of action since the season opener against North Carolina, Evans' emergence has been welcome to a secondary stretched to anorexic levels.

"He's been huge - he's helped us out a lot," Spruill said. "He's come up with a lot of big plays. We needed to get turnovers and he'd go out and get the ball. That's Virginia-style football: We make big hits and we go get the ball. That's what we needed on the field [Saturday] and that's what we need for the rest of the season."

After the game, many Virginia players looked to be running on empty, especially with a six-hour flight ahead of them. Evans, however, seemed full of energy.

"I probably will feel worn out after all this adrenaline goes down," he said. "Right now I'm just floating."

And if Evans keeps playing like this, he may never come down from that cloud.