UNC Face UVA in Historic Matchup

Sharon Thorsland
October 16, 2017 - 7:30 am

USA Today Images

The South’s Oldest Rivalry is renewed on Saturday when North Carolina hosts Virginia at Kenan Stadium.  Kick-off is set for 3:30, you can hear the game on WBT.  The two teams have played each other every year since 1919, an ACC record 117 times.  This matchup will be a tough challenge for the banged up Tar Heels, who are mired in a three game losing streak and are 1-5 on the season.  The Cavaliers have come out of nowhere this season and are a surprising 4-1, 1-0 in the ACC. 


The Cavaliers like to throw the ball first, they rank 31st in the nation.  Quarterback Kurt Benkert leads the attack, he’s thrown for over 1400 yards and 13 touchdowns with just three interceptions.  Berkhart has a trio of outstanding receivers, led by his favorite target, Olamide Zacchaeus.  The junior has 38 catches for 348 yards and three touchdowns.  He teams with Andre Levrone and  Doni Dowling, they’ve combined for eight more scores.  Levrone is a big play threat averaging over 25 yards a catch.  Meanwhile, the Tar Heels’ injury woes continue – they’ll likely be without senior safety Donnie Miles, who was injured in the Notre Dame game.


The Wahoos don’t run the ball a lot, but they’ve got a solid back in Jordan Ellis.  He’s picked up 408 yards and five touchdowns on the season.  He’ll face a UNC defense that continues to struggle against the run, the Heels rank 121st in the nation giving up an average of 242 yards per game.  Overall UNC is giving up 470 yards and 33 points per game, both dead last in the ACC.


Things don’t look much better for the Heels on the other side of the ball.  The Cavaliers come in with the 27th-ranked pass defense in the nation, and features All-ACC safety Quin Blanding.  They’ve got a strong pass rush, led by linebacker Chris Peace, he has three sacks and an interception.  Meanwhile UNC freshman quarterback Chaz Surratt has struggled in the past two games completing just over half his throws with only one touchdown and two interceptions.


The Tar Heels have won the last seven meetings against Virginia.  To make it eight in a row, absolutely everything has to go right for the Heels and the Cavaliers will have to fall apart on both sides of the ball.  That’s not likely to happen, but we can always hope, right?  Go Heels!


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