CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Kevin Parks flashes a sly smile like he hopes it will answer the question on its own.
The Virginia tailback and North Carolina native is going home with a bit of an attitude this weekend when the struggling Cavaliers (2-3, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) face surprising Duke (4-1, 1-0).
The 5-foot-8 Parks played high school ball less than two hours from the Research Triangle, and said coaches in his home state told him he was too small to play football at the major college level.
"I see Carolina games or N.C. State and I circle those game because there's a little more motivation on my back," the second team sophomore said this week. "Everybody said I'm too small so, motivation."
Parks leads the Cavaliers in rushing with 272 yards, including a 49-yard burst, and has scored two touchdowns, giving him 11 and 18 college games. He's also caught 12 passes for 95 yards.
The Cavaliers will take a boost anywhere they can get it. They have lost three straight and are also likely to make a change at quarterback with Alabama transfer Phillip Sims taking over as the starter.
Sims has thrown five touchdown passes without being intercepted playing behind Michael Rocco, and nearly led Virginia back from a 20-point deficit last weekend in a 44-38 loss to Louisiana Tech.
Virginia's chance at getting the ball back in the closing minutes was scuttled by a penalty that gave the Bulldogs a first down, the last of 16 penalties for 145 yards for the Cavaliers in the game.
Parks was responsible for one of several personal foul calls, and was disappointed in himself.
"We just gotta be a little bit more smarter about what we do. I hold myself accountable because I was one of those persons to get a flag late," he said off the foul in the red zone. "I just made a bonehead decision at that time because I was a little frustrated. We still got points out of it. It was three points but maybe could have been a touchdown. It may have been the difference in the ballgame."
Tha Cavaliers lost despite piling up 625 yards of offense, and showed signs of getting their running game untracked with 145 yards. Starter Perry Jones ran for 82, and Parks picked up another 60.