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UNC win over Virginia - Player(s) of the Game: The defense

After their best game of the season, the defense deserves some praise.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Despite 35 points and 488 yards, the Virginia game wasn’t the prettiest from the UNC offense. Yes, Mitch Trubisky was his usual efficient self, throwing for three touchdown and no interceptions. Yes, Elijah Hood went for over 100 yards. Yes, several members of the receiving corps stepped up and had big days following the loss of Mack Hollins.

The offense was pretty good against Virginia. However, they did lose two fumbles, and probably should have put this game away sooner than they did.

Meanwhile, the defense had its best game of the season. They held the Cavaliers to just 253 total yards, and allowed just three yards per play on average. Seven of UVA’s points came on a swinging gate trick play on fourth down.

But in picking a player of the game from the defense, it’s difficult to really find one standout option. It was just a total team effort from the defense. Cole Holcomb had ten tackles. Ayden Bonilla had eight. Mikey Bart had a sack and recovered a fumble that lead to a touchdown. Almost everyone contributed something.

The run defense has been a storyline all season, but today, they held Virginia to just 110 yards. Coming into this game UVA quarterback Kurt Benkert’s lowest passing yardage total was 193. Today, he went 19-32 with 126 yards.

The Tar Heel defense had also had some struggles on third downs in previous weeks. Today, Virginia converted three of 19 attempts. The only thing this game was missing from a defensive standpoint was an interception, as UNC is still looking for its first of those for the season.

Virginia’s offense is far from the most prolific Carolina has faced this season. However, what the defense did against them was fairly impressive. In a season where the defense has gotten some flack, they deserve mention after their best effort of the season so far.