The Tar Heels punted on their next possession, but a long interception picked off by safety Myles Dorn gave UNC the ball back at its own 16-yard line early in the second quarter.
After back-and-forth possessions by both teams with nothing to show for them, the Cavaliers drove down the field to the edge of the Tar Heel red zone. A sack on second-and-10 by Jalen Dalton forced Virginia to kick a field goal, a 37-yard boot that increased the lead to 10 points.
Following the score, UNC seemed to have new life. The Tar Heels methodically moved down the field and on second-and-4 from the 50, wide receiver Beau Corrales caught a pass on the right sideline, sprinted a few yards, hurdled a defender and ended up with a 28-yard gain. Two plays later, Elliott found tight end Carl Tucker in the end zone for the score. It was Elliott’s second touchdown of the day.
The score held at 17-14 heading into halftime.
The Tar Heels began the second half with the ball, but the drive proved fruitless. The Cavaliers, however, capitalized on their opening drive. Two plays of 29 yards or more produced a Virginia touchdown, highlighted by a 33-yard touchdown pass from Perkins and before UNC could blink, it was down by 10 points yet again.
Later in the quarter, the Cavaliers failed to convert on fourth down from the Tar Heel 16-yard line and UNC took over. Corrales got his hands on the ball again, corralling a 29-yard pass to get the drive started following a false-start penalty.
Just three plays later, Elliott was smothered by Cavalier defenders and fumbled the ball. The first turnover of the day led to yet another touchdown by Perkins, his third of the day, as the lead grew to 31-14.
The Tar Heels finally broke the ice with a second half scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter. A 43-yard pass play to running back Antonio Williams spurred the drive. Sophomore running back Michael Carter ran the ball in from the 1-yard line with 7:53 remaining to make it a 31-21 game.
UNC turned the ball over on downs on its following possession and the Cavaliers nailed the door shut on the 10-point win.
Who stood out?
Elliott continued his solid play of late, throwing for two more touchdown passes. In his last five halves, the redshirt junior has thrown for five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Defensive end Malik Carney, an Alexandria, Va. native, finished with eight tackles on the day.
When was it decided?
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Perkins found his tight end for a 16-yard touchdown pass. The quarterback's third touchdown throw of the day gave his team a commanding 31-14 lead in the eventual win.
Why does it matter?
A win would have kept the Tar Heels in contention for ACC Coastal Division title and put their conference mark at 2-3. However, a loss drops the team to 1-4 in conference and in danger of a last-place finish with three ACC contests left.
When do they play next?
North Carolina returns to Chapel Hill to face Georgia Tech for a 12:15 kickoff on Saturday at Kenan Memorial Stadium.
@DTHSports | firstname.lastname@example.org