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Chat: North Carolina takes 37-13 win at Virginia

Posted November 15, 2012

37-13 UNC

Virginia kept its postseason hopes alive in thrilling fashion last weekend, a result the Cavaliers will try to duplicate this Saturday when the North Carolina Tar Heels land in Charlottesville for an Atlantic Coast Conference bout.

Fourth Quarter

Virginia fumbled the kickoff return after UNC's touchdown, and the Tar Heels were able to turn that into a 30-yard field goal by Thomas Moore.

7:07 UNC, 7:07 4Q

Bryn Renner found Erik Highsmith open in the middle of the secondary for his third touchdown pass of the night.

34-13 UNC, 8:46 4Q

Giovani Bernard was finally able to get on the board for the Tar Heels, reeling in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Bryn Renner.

27-13 UNC, 11:43 4Q

Third Quarter

A muffed punt by Giovani Bernard gave UVa the ball in the red zone, but the Tar Heels held the Cavaliers to a field goal by Drew Jarrett.

20-13 UNC, 11:00 3Q

Second Quarter

UNC safety Tre Boston returned an interception for a touchdown to give UNC a 20-10 second-quarter lead. UNC went for two but didn't get it.

20-10 UNC, 4:37 2Q

Phillip Sims scrambled out of the pocket and found Darius Jennings wide open in the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown pass.

14-10 UNC, 8:42 2Q

Quinshad Davis took UNC down the field with a 32-yard reception and a drawn pass interference, and A.J. Blue finished the drive on a three-yard touchdown run.

14-3 UNC, 14:03 2Q

First Quarter

Virginia kicker Drew Jarrett hit a 34-yard field goal to cut into UNC's lead. The Cavaliers had previously marched down the field before a penalty backed them up.

7-3 UNC, :53 1Q

Bryn Renner found Erik Highsmith down the sideline for a nine-yard touchdown to give the Tar Heels the first lead of the game.

7-0 UNC, 6:24 1Q

The Tar Heels have alternated wins and losses over their last four games, including their first home loss of the season this past Saturday against Georgia Tech. In a game the featured no shortage of offense the Tar Heels wound up on the wrong side of a 68-50 decision. North Carolina had no answer for Georgia Tech's running game, surrendering 380 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. UNC is now 6-4 overall, while splitting its six conference games.

On the other side Virginia is still fighting for its postseason life and staved off elimination from bowl contention with a thrilling 41-40 win at home over Miami-Florida. With six seconds remaining, Michael Rocco connected with tight end Jake McGee in the back of the end zone to give the Cavaliers a much needed victory.

In a rivalry that began back in 1892, these two squads have been relatively even. North Carolina leads the all-time series 58-54-4 and has won back-to- back games against Virginia, including a 28-17 triumph last season. Virginia had won seven of the previous eight before the Tar Heels' current streak.

As its effort against Georgia Tech may indicate, the North Carolina has had no problem on offense this season. The Tar Heels are the third ranked offense in terms of scoring (40.5 ppg) and total yards (488.7 pg) in the ACC this season.

Much of the offensive success stems from the playmaking ability of dynamic running back Giovani Bernard. Bernard has been one of the most explosive offensive players in the conference and perhaps the country this season. He has amassed 1,008 rushing yards on 142 carries, for a stellar 7.1 yards per carry averaged. He is also second on the team in receiving with 38 receptions for 411 yards. On top of that, his 15 total touchdowns are almost more than twice that of the next highest scoring player. That player is A.J. Blue, who also happens to be a running back. Blue has rushed for 393 yards this season and has scored all eight of his touchdowns on the ground. North Carolina Logo More UNC Stories

Ignoring the passing game would be a mistake. Bryn Renner has enjoyed a very successful season in which he has thrown for 2,736 yards and 20 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. His quarterback efficiency rating (144.23) is the third best mark in the conference, behind Tajh Boyd of Clemson and E.J. Manuel of Florida State.

Other than Bernard, the top threats on the team are Erik Highsmith (46 receptions, 511 yards, 2 TDs), Eric Ebron (37 receptions, 568 yards, 3 TDs) and Quinshad Davis (36 receptions, 463 yards, 3 TDs).

While the offense has had no shortage of success, the Tar Heels' defensive effort has been rather mundane. North Carolina is right in the middle of conference in scoring defense (25.7 ppg) as well as total yards allowed (392.1 ypg). Where the Tar Heels have been able to shine on defense is in creating negative plays. North Carolina has racked up 79 tackles for loss this season, tops in the ACC.

Kevin Reddick and Kareem Martin are tied for the team lead in the category with 14 tackles for loss each. Reddick is also the team's leading tackler (72) and pass rusher with 5.5 sacks. Sylvester Williams has racked up five sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss as well. Tim Scott and Jabari Price have been strong in the secondary. Price has 71 tackles and nine passes defended, while Scott has 38 tackles, four interceptions and 11 passes defended.

From week to week the quarterback situation has been in constant flux for Virginia. Both Rocco and Phillip Sims have played in just about every game this season, especially since week four against TCU. Against Miami it was Rocco's turn to shine, as he completed 29-of-37 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns in making the start. On the season Rocco has thrown for more touchdowns (12), yards (1,585) and for a better completion percentage (61.5) but has been intercepted twice as much as Sims. Shared snaps will likely be in order this weekend.

In the backfield the tandem of Kevin Parks and Perry Jones has been the main source of production. Parks leads the team in rushing yards (660) and rushing touchdowns (five). Jones has been more of a dynamic offensive weapon this season with his ability to run (395 yards) as well as contribute in the passing game (41 receptions, 341 yards).

Virginia has been one of the better teams in the conference when it comes to yards allowed this season. The Cavaliers are third in the conference in total defense (349.1 ypg). Unfortunately that has not translated on the scoreboard with Virginia a distant eighth in the ACC in scoring defense (29.3 ppg). Much of that comes from the fact that Virginia has struggled to hold onto the ball this season, as the Cavaliers have the worst turnover margin in the ACC (-12).

On defense, tackle machine Steve Greer is the player to watch. Greer has already accumulated 95 tackles this season, 7.5 of which went for loss. He trails only Nick Clancy of Boston College in total tackles in the ACC. Chris Brathwaite (34 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks) leads the team in sacks, although that has not been a strength for the Cavaliers.

While North Carolina has more than likely secured a postseason berth, Virginia will still have to play with urgency to keep its season going beyond the end of November. With that type of desperation, plus North Carolina's failures on the road this season (1-3), the Cavaliers may still be fighting for the bowl season after this weekend.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia 27, North Carolina 26

7 Comments

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  • Hokies94 Nov 15, 11:25 p.m.

    Hokie - your guys should stomp BC. Give THEM the headache:)

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    I appreciate this sentiment JGunn. It's not that easy though. I believe in Bud Foster. I don't... View More

    — Posted by Hokies94

    I'm very happy with the win. I do think Mike London is a good man and a good coach, and UVA is... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    You nailed it JGunn. It's because you're a reader. You're one of the best in seeing the big picture. Most people can't even see it. I don't like to say negatives about Beamer, but it's reality. No team goes down like VT has this year. I have respected Frank Beamer for many years until this year. Obviously, we have won a heckeva lot more games with talent vs coaching too. This year proved it for me.

    Logan Thomas was projected to be a top 5 draft pre-season. He is coming back. What does that do for our back-up QB? No way. We beat Clemson and Miami in all stats. And, we held FSU to-15 yards and lose. No darn way. 15 picks + fumbles did it. Now; we are scrambling to even get a Bowl. 20 years staight. UNC did the deal tonight in great fashion. Happy for you JGunn and UNC fans.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Nov 15, 10:55 p.m.

    Hokie - your guys should stomp BC. Give THEM the headache:)

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    I appreciate this sentiment JGunn. It's not that easy though. I believe in Bud Foster. I don't... View More

    — Posted by Hokies94

    I'm very happy with the win. I do think Mike London is a good man and a good coach, and UVA is lucky to have him. I think your guys can beat UVA, but they're not an easy out anymore.

    Wow - I never thought I'd ever see you say anything negative about Beamer, but I understand your frustration. He needs to dump O'Cain, and he's probably getting pressure to do so. Foster is definitely The Man. Logan Thomas seemed to have a bright future, so I'm surprised at how his season as been.

  • Hokies94 Nov 15, 10:49 p.m.

    Hokie - your guys should stomp BC. Give THEM the headache:)

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    I appreciate this sentiment JGunn. It's not that easy though. I believe in Bud Foster. I don't believe in Logan Thomas. I don't believe in our OC, nor O'Cain. I don't believe in Frank Beamer either. Logan Thomas is the 3rd worst in the entire Country in Int's this year. No way Beamer should have allowed him to do this, and not play our back-up QB. Bud Foster may pull us out agaisnt BC. If we beat UVA..Bud Foster will pull us out once again. Happy for UNC tonight. I wanted to break UVA down.

    No team in the Country has slipped like VT has this year. None. If we miss a Bowl game it's because Frank allowed his loyality to overcome his guts. Our OC and O'Cain aren't all that good. He's too damm nice. He reminds me of ol Bobby.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Nov 15, 9:10 p.m.

    Hokie - your guys should stomp BC. Give THEM the headache:)

  • Hokies94 Nov 15, 8:24 p.m.

    I have one objective in this one game. I don't want UVA to have any momentum after tonight. I'm for UNC. VT has one game and that's BC.

  • shakennotstirred Nov 15, 7:54 p.m.

    Go wahoos! Highsmith is still playing for UNC? Wow! Caught cheating twice by not doing his own work, yet he is still on tv, flashing gang signs in the endzone. You can't make this stuff up...

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Nov 15, 7:42 p.m.

    Go Heels!

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