Entering Saturday’s match-up against Virginia, the North Carolina football team was riding a five-game win streak for the 2015 season and a five-game win streak versus the Cavaliers.
And after a 26-13 victory over Virginia, the Tar Heels (6-1, 3-0 ACC) extended both of those streaks to six.
Virginia (2-5, 1-2 ACC) and UNC combined for 269 yards of total offense in the first quarter. After junior receiver Mack Hollins fumbled on the opening drive, the Cavaliers took advantage by scoring a field goal.
But on the next possession, junior running back TJ Logan scampered into the endzone after a 75-yard drive. However, the Cavaliers immediately responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive of their own, taking a 10-7 lead.
In the second quarter, a touchdown by sophomore running back Elijah Hood gave UNC a 13-10 lead. But a late interception by fifth-year senior quarterback Marquise Williams gave Virginia the opportunity to kick a field goal and tie the game before halftime.
Early in the second half, an interception by senior safety Sam Smiley set up a UNC field goal. And to open the fourth quarter, the Tar Heels moved ahead 23-13 after a three-yard touchdown run by Hood.
On the Cavalier’s ensuing possession, Virginia quarterback Matt Johns was intercepted by senior cornerback Malik Simmons. The Tar Heels capitalized with a field goal, increasing the lead to 26-13, where it would remain for the rest of the contest. In the second half, Virginia made only one trip to the red zone, but the drive ended after senior linebacker Shakeel Rashad intercepted Johns in the end zone.
“It’s not about all the adjustments and speeches and all that. It’s really just staying calm and being patient with the guys and talking them through what’s really happening and then letting them adjust.” — Coach Larry Fedora on the defenses' second half performance.
The Tar Heels had 13 penalties for 162 yards versus Virginia. Entering the match-up, the Tar Heels averaged just over five penalties and 39.5 penalty yards per game. The Cavaliers had 10 penalties for 62 yards.
Three numbers that matter
93: In UNC’s second possession of the second half, the Tar Heels marched 93 yards in 13 plays and used nearly six minutes of the clock. The drive resulted in a three-yard touchdown run by Hood, and it was UNC’s longest drive in terms of plays, yards and time of the season.
7: Virginia and UNC combined for seven turnovers. Virginia’s Johns was intercepted four times and fumble once. For UNC, Williams had one interception and Hollins fumbled early in the game.
120: Saturday’s contest was the 120th game between UNC and Virginia. The Tar Heels now hold a 62-54-4 advantage in the South’s Oldest Rivalry.
The Tar Heels will play Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. next Thursday at Heinz Field.
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