10 Things I Learned 2011 … UNC

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Kevin Parks nearly posted 100 yards rushing at UNC.

After playing a very good FCS team in week one and a Big Ten opponent on the road in week two, UVa took another step up in competition this week against UNC on the road. Unfortunately, Virginia was not up to the increased challenge this week, dropping its first game of the season. The task before us is breaking down the “why” of the loss, as well as looking a little deeper into the 2011 Hoos at this point in the season.

1. Matching Up With The Heels. When you looked at this game on the front end, the beef on UNC’s offensive line and the talent on their defensive front certainly appeared as major issues for the Hoos going into the contest. Beyond that, individual talents like Quinton Coples and Dwight Jones were matchup problems for UVa, and quarterback Bryn Renner – yet another painful reminder of the decision to latch the cart to the Mike Groh/Peter Lalich horse – looked up to the task of leading the North Carolina offense. Virginia needed to run the ball, and UNC was allowing a miserly 30 yards rushing per game.

So you take those matchups, and then put the game in Chapel Hill, and it did not exactly set up for success, eh? Nope.

The odd thing about the game was that several of the matchups did not pan out as might have been predicted, the most obvious example being that UVa’s running attack had a great deal of success against the previously stingy UNC run defense. By posting more than 100 yards rushing in the first half, the run game allowed the Virginia offense to get into the game on its own terms, and resulted in a lopsided time of possession win in the first half. But the catch is that winning the battle of rushing yards, total yards, and time of possession do not in and of itself mean that you put more points on the board … and the Cavalier offense didn’t, failing to close on drive after drive in the first half. A missed