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Weekly Report Card: Virginia

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The Heels pull of a surprise comeback victory against Virginia in Charlottesville.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Heels surprised many people with a comeback victory against Virginia this weekend. The game turned when defensive end Nazair Jones intercepted a Greyson Lambert pass which set up a UNC touchdown pass by Mitch Trubisky of all people. Larry Fedora then dialed up a surprise onside kick which and an eventual illegal substitution penalty ensured that the Cavaliers never got the ball back, letting UNC hold on for a surprising one point victory.

On to the Grades:

Take care of the football: B+

In this game the offense only turned the ball over once during the game while intercepting Lambert twice. The interception was one of the worst decisions Marquise Williams has made in recent weeks, throwing a deep pass in the final seconds before the end of the first half. The Heels are not docked significant points here because the Cavaliers were unable score points off of the turnover. The Heels do need to execute better on fourth down in the future if they want to have success in close games like this one. Against Virginia not only were the Heels 0-1 on fourth down but they also false started on a fourth down conversion attempt which made the down an unmanageable conversion. The Heels also recovered their surprise onside kick, helping their score in their category.

Keep flags off the field: B

The defense played sloppier this week than in against Georgia Tech. Considering they played a penalty free game against the Yellow Jackets, some regression to the mean was expected against Virginia. There was a bad pass inference play where the defender failed to turn his head around and look at the ball to avoid the pass interference call. The other bad call of the game against the defense was the roughing the passer call. The call itself was rather dubious but it still cost the Heels on that drive. The Heels only had five penalties total during this game, a vast improvement on their performances earlier this season. There was an additional offsides penalty on a made Virginia field goal that would have added to the Heels total but was declined because they made the field goal.

Help us Marquise Williams, you're our only hope: A-


While Mitch Trubisky did throw the go ahead touchdown pass that proved to be the margin of victory in this game, Marquise Williams was the reason why the Heels were positioned to win the game. Williams accounted for three touchdowns in the game; two deep passes to Mack Hollins and one on a 52 yard run from scrimmage. There were a few times where Williams made questionable choices, he badly underthrew Mack Hollins on a 3rd quarter play action pass and should not have thrown deep on the first half interception. Throughout the game the offensive line did a poor job of keeping pressure off of Williams. The hits obviously added up as the game went on and in the second half Williams passed up opportunities to run, presumably because he was still feeling the aftereffects of hits from the whole game. The Heels need to keep Williams upright for the rest of the season if they want to mount a successful campaign for the Coastal Division title.