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After weekend, Williams moving on from fumble

In the moments after Virginia Tech’s 20-17 loss to North Carolina on Thursday, running back Ryan Williams was devastated after losing a fumble that set up the Tar Heels’ game-winning field goal as time expired. But he said he would move on.

He said he did not sleep well on Thursday night. On Friday, Williams said he did not go to his classes because he said he did not want to be around Hokies fans. Coping with the mistake by staying home alone was the first step back to normalcy for Williams.

“I couldn’t stomach looking at peoples’ face, the same people who look at me everyday and tell me how proud they are of me or how I’m their favorite player on the team or how this person in their family looks up to me,” Williams said on Sunday. “Just being able to look into their face, knowing I may have disappointed them in some type of way, I just couldn't do it.”

Williams added: “I don’t like when people try to comfort me when thing like that happen. I like to deal with all my problems myself.”

With 2 minutes 2 second remaining in the game, Williams lost a fumble that set up to Casey Barth’s game-winning, 21-yard field goal.

On the play, Williams ran toward the right side of the line. He hurdled one of his blockers when Tydreke Powell poked the ball loose. North Carolina recovered it at the Hokies’ 24-yard line. After six rushing plays, Barth hit the field goal as time expired.

Since fumbling, Williams said he has heard or seen only one negative comment. A North Carolina fan wrote on Williams’s Facebook account to thank him for helping the Tar Heels win.

“That stuck with me,” Williams said of the Facebook wall post, adding that he thought about responding to it. “I just laughed it off. Once I sat down and though about it, it didn’t faze me.”

He said he went out on Saturday and it made him feel better. He has received support from Virginia Tech fans and students. Still, he said, he has not stopped apologizing to fans who want his autograph or to take photographs with him.

“I was still apologizing because I feel bad for it,” Williams said of the fumble. “It’s probably something that will never leave my mind, but it’s got to.”

The No. 22 Hokies (5-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) play at East Carolina (5-3, 4-1 Conference USA) on Thursday night.

By Mark Viera  |  November 2, 2009; 10:56 AM ET
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