RALEIGH, N.C. — Daniel Evans threw for a career-high 347 yards and three touchdowns, two to Donald Bowens, to lead North Carolina State past No. 21 Virginia 29-24 on Saturday.
Bowens finished with 11 catches for 202 yards for the Wolfpack (3-5, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who snapped a nine-game conference losing streak that dated to the middle of last season. Koyal George added a touchdown on the first catch of his career, while Jamelle Eugene ran for 112 yards.
Jameel Sewell threw for 260 yards and two scores for the Cavaliers (7-2, 4-1) before leaving the game with an apparent right leg injury with about 7 minutes left. Mikell Simpson also scored a pair of touchdowns, but it wasn't enough to allow Virginia to set a school record with its eighth straight win.
The game marked the second straight strong performance from Evans, who had set a career-high last week with 335 yards and three touchdowns in a win at East Carolina. Bowens, a 6-foot-3 sophomore with 15 catches for 252 yards all season, proved to be a tough-to-cover deep threat for the Wolfpack.
Bowens scored on a 40-yard pass from Evans on their first possession, then came up with the go-ahead score by beating a defender to Evans' high 30-yard pass in the back corner of the end zone to make it 29-24 with 7:37 to play.
Bowens also came up with a big catch with the Wolfpack trying to work on the clock with the lead, outjumping Ras-I Dowling for a 28-yard gain on third down with about 2 1/2 minutes left.
Virginia had a final chance, but Willie Young sacked backup quarterback Peter Lalich on fourth down to seal it with 17 seconds left.
The Cavaliers hadn't lost since tallying just 110 yards in a one-sided loss at Wyoming in the season opener. Along the way, Virginia had developed a knack for repeatedly finding a way to win games in the final minutes.
The Cavs beat Middle Tennessee on a field goal with 8 seconds left, then beat Connecticut on a field goal with about 3 minutes to play. Last week, they beat Maryland when Simpson - despite having just six offensive touches all season - ran for the winning score with 16 seconds left to cap a dazzling all-around performance that made him the league's offensive back of the week.
Four of the Cavaliers' seven wins had come by a combined 6 points, with three on the road. And with Boston College's comeback win against Virginia Tech on Thursday, Virginia sat alone atop the ACC's Coastal Division.
But the Cavaliers couldn't keep the fourth-quarter magic going, taking their last lead at 24-23 on Simpson's spinning 5-yard touchdown run with 13:12 to play.