Virginia's football team made three critical penalties in the final minute of Friday's loss to North Carolina State. Photo Credit: ESPN Virginia quarterback Anthony Colandrea is penalized for taking his helmet off after a game-tying two-point converstion. That was one of three critical penalties made by the Cavaliers in the loss to North Carolina State. Photo Credit: ESPN

Virginia’s football team fell to 0-4 on Friday night, losing 24-21 to North Carolina State. And if anyone is wondering why the Cavaliers are 0-4, the end of the game should answer any questions.

Trailing by eight in the final minute, Virginia needed a touchdown and a two-point conversion to tie the game. The Cavaliers got the first part when quarterback Anthony Colandrea found Malik Washington on a three-yard touchdown pass. Virginia’s Ty Furnish made the ensuing two-point try much harder, though, with a dead ball unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which moved the conversion back to the 18-yard line.

Somehow, though, Virginia overcame that. Colandrea scrambled and threw a jump ball into the end zone. Receiver Malachi Fields went up and got it to tie the game.

The Cavaliers were not done with the self-inflicted errors, though.

Colandrea was flagged for taking his helmet off after the two-point try.

Fortunately for Virginia, the successful conversion stayed on the board. Fortunately for North Carolina State, the penalty moved the ensuing kickoff back 15 yards. So, while the Wolfpack didn’t have a lot of time, they had great field position.

North Carolina State took advantage of that mistake and drove into field goal range. With three seconds remaining, the Wolfpack lined up for a 48-yard field goal attempt from Brayden Narveson. It was blocked by Virginia’s James Jackson, seemingly sending the game into overtime.

But Jackson was penalized for leaping.

Like the penalties from Furnish and Colandrea, Jackson’s was a 15-yard penalty. Unlike those penalties, though, Virginia couldn’t overcome this one.

North Carolina State lined up for a game-winning 33-yard field goal attempt. Narveson knocked the kick through the uprights, giving the Wolfpack the 24-21 win.

While the other two were hard to argue with, the penalty on Colandrea felt like a miss. The helmet was clearly jarred loose when he was knocked to the ground. He didn’t do himself any favors by not only taking the helmet off after it was jarred loose, but celebrating with his helmet still off after he got back up. Still, that’s a penalty that felt like it didn’t need to be called.

That said, it’s hard to imagine a team finishing a game worse than Virginia did. It’s one thing for a team to just not make the plays down the stretch of a close game. The Cavaliers, though, made the plays. They just turned every positive into a quick negative.

[Photo Credit: ESPN]

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