CHARLOTTESVILLE Va. — It looked easy. Shaun Draughn for seven yards eight yards 18 yards. Line 'em up. Knock 'em down.
Ten plays. Eighty-three yards (48 from Draughn). Touchdown Tar Heels.
North Carolina 7 Virginia 0.
After a Virginia three-and-out the second in as many opportunities the UNC defense had seen the Tar Heels were headed for an ACC rout. Or so it seemed.
While UVa.'s offense was sputtering early UNC's seemed unstoppable — even without Brandon Tate.
But with the Tar Heels on the verge of penetrating deep into Cavalier territory for the second straight drive it happened.
The UVa. 40-yard line bulked up and the Cavalier 3-4 defense in front of it shut UNC down.
In the shadow of its own goalpost UNC amassed impressive numbers. Most of Draughn's career-high 138 yards came on that side of midfield.
Discounting the first down-field march of the game only 15 of Draughn's yards in regulation came on UVa.'s side of the field. Inside Virginia's 40" Draughn had one carry — a rush for loss.
""We as a team just have to capitalize on opportunities"" Draughn said. We had a lot of opportunities. We just didn't capitalize on them.""
North Carolina only crossed the UVa. 40-yard-line three times in regulation after that first scoring drive — and only put three points on the board in those chances.
""Too many of our drives ended at about fourth and three at about the 40-yard line and having to punt and trying to down it inside the five" UNC coach Butch Davis said.
Every time that you don't take advantage of really good field position by capitalizing on it by scoring touchdowns … or putting yourself in position to kick field goals" it'll come back to haunt you. I've seen it way too many times.""
He saw it again in Charlottesville. UNC punted five times Saturday. On four occasions UNC's long snapper flung the ball to punter Terrence Brown from the Cavaliers' side of the 50.
With place-kicker Casey Barth — who to his credit has been lights out as of late from 45-yards and in — still unproven from long range"" Brown will continue to see that kind of action if the offense keeps stalling.
Davis said after the game that just a few more yards can make all the difference in decisions on the sideline.
""You're one first down away from potentially being in four-down territory"" Davis said. And four-down territory gives you a chance.""
The Tar Heels couldn't earn that chance Saturday" and the Cavaliers did just enough to make them pay.
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