With just over five minutes left in the first half, UNC made a stop and got Virginia to punt. The Tar Heels had scored on their last possession prior to that to cut their deficit to three points. Between that and the fact that they got the ball to start the second half, it seemed like a good chance to swing things in Carolina’s favor.
That possession ended in a three-and-out. Their possession to start the second half also ended in a three-and-out. Virginia hardly ran away and hid after that, but the game felt over after that point. For all intents and purposes, it was. Virginia took the game 31-21, and UNC’s losing streak is up to four games.
The two teams traded touchdowns to start the game, but the Cavaliers opened up a 17-7 lead midway through the second quarter. The offense started decently with an 11-play, 75-yard drive, finished off by a Dazz Newsome touchdown. However in the next couple possessions, UNC couldn’t get much going on offense, allowing UVA to open up that lead.
However, UNC then managed to cut it to 17-14, after Nathan Elliott found Carl Tucker for a touchdown. That opened the door and got the Tar Heels right back in the game. Here are how their possessions after that went: punt, punt, punt, punt, fumble, punt, touchdown, and turnover on downs. The Cavaliers scored just 14 points themselves in the second half, so UNC still theoretically had a shot in the last couple minutes, but that amounted to nothing.
Elliott finished with 271 yards on 22/38 passing, and two touchdown. It was another game where the final yards total looks a bit better than it actually was. At this point, it isn’t really his fault that he’s the only one left that the staff feels comfortable playing. He was forced into throwing so much in part because UNC couldn’t get anything going on the ground.
As a team, the Tar Heels finished with 66 rushing yards on 22 attempts. If you take Michael Carter and his 5+ yards per carry, that drops to 24 yards on 14 attempts.
On the other side of the ball, Virginia’s quarterback Bryce Perkins had a good day. He was 18/27 for 217 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. However, he did arguably more damage on the ground. Perkins ran for another 112 yards and a touchdown on 21 attempts.
Literally nearly half of his yards in the air were directed towards one person. Olamide Zaccheaus finished with 10 catches for 108 yards.
It was another game for the defense where the final stats don’t look incredible, but there were also stuck on the field for a while because the offense couldn’t get going. UNC’s final time of possession just just under 21 minutes. Myles Dorn had a nice interception in the first half, when things were still up in the air.
Unless UNC does for what ever reason end up rescheduling a 12th game, this loss officially eliminated the Tar Heels from any bowl game. (That is also excluding somehow back-dooring a spot with a losing record due to APR reasons. Not sure how likely that would be in the rare scenario where they win out.)
At least things can’t get any worse. Wait, taking a look at the schedule and it’s Georgia Tech and the option next week. Welp.