Greg’s Grades 2020: North Carolina

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Virginia won on Halloween.
Virginia tight end Tony Poljan reaches for a touchdown against UNC. ~ Photo courtesy Matt Riley/Virginia Athletics Media Relations

The Virginia football team’s fourth consecutive series win against No. 15 North Carolina was its highest victory over a Top-25 team since beating No. 12 Georgia Tech in 2011. More importantly, the 44-41 victory provided UVA a huge victory against a quality team, one that was desperately needed. The grades show a strong night for the offense helped get the win.

Make no mistake, UNC was a challenge.

The Tar Heels came into Saturday’s game seventh in the country and second in the ACC with 249 rushing yards per game and second in the conference to Clemson in scoring offense with 37.8 points per game.
Tailbacks Michael Carter and Javonte Williams had combined to average 229.2 yards on the ground this season. Carter was 8th in the nation with 116.8 yards, while Williams entered the game 10th with 112.4 yards per game.

Apparently, those haughty numbers didn’t register with Virginia’s Jekyll-and-Hyde defense that thwarted the Heels “highly acclaimed” run game but got shredded with big vertical passes and 173 yards after the catch off the arm of ACC Quarterback of the Week Sam Howell. The Cavalier defense basically decided ‘we’re going to play man-to-man defense, do what you can, we’ll stack the box and shut down your run game and see who wins.’

UNC’s 93 yards rushing was a team season low for the Tar Heels and their lowest rushing output in 17 games. Further, 68% of Carolina’s run yards came on three explosive plays (64 yards). On the other 30 running plays, the