Preview: North Carolina at Virginia

When: 3:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 22, 2016
Where: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Virginia

North Carolina kept alive its hopes of a return trip to the ACC Championship Game with a big win last week and looks to stay on course when it visits Virginia on Saturday. The Tar Heels received their best effort from a much-maligned defense last week in a 20-13 triumph at Miami (Fla.) and will go for the 700th victory in school history and the seventh straight against the Cavaliers.

“We don’t want to always put the pressure on the offense,” North Carolina junior defensive lineman Nazair Jones told reporters, “and we don’t want to have the media talk bad about the defense every week.” The Tar Heels will need another solid effort on that side of the ball against the Cavaliers, who have scored 30 or more points in three straight contests for the first time since 2004. First-year Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall opened up the offense a bit over the past few weeks and the team is buying into the more aggressive approach. “I’d rather play to win the game than play not to lose,” Cavaliers junior quarterback Kurt Benkert told the Daily Progress. “You see a lot of times when teams get way too conservative and they end up losing games anyway.”

TV: 3 p.m. ET, RSN. LINE: North Carolina –8

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (5-2, 3-1 ACC): Junior quarterback Mitch Trubisky will be without a major weapon Saturday after senior receiver Mack Hollins (20 career touchdown receptions) was lost for the season with a broken collarbone. Trubisky has completed 70.5 percent of his passes with 15 touchdown strikes and senior Ryan Switzer (58 catches, 606 yards) is his favorite target. The Tar Heels gave up 363 yards (54 under its current average) against Miami last week while forcing a fumble, recording two sacks, breaking up five passes and holding the Hurricanes to 4-of-15 on third down.

ABOUT VIRGINIA (2-4, 1-1): The Cavaliers totaled 700 yards through the air in losing the first three games and have registered 1,035 to win two of the past three contests. Benkert owns all but two of the passing yards and has thrown for 14 touchdowns along with seven interceptions while sophomore Olamide Zaccheaus (29 catches, 423 yards, five TDs) and senior Keeon Johnson (31, 305, three) are his top targets. Mendenhall would like to get more from a ground attack that is averaging 3.8 yards per run, but has produced nine touchdowns from seniors Taquan Mizzell and Albert Reid.


1. Virginia LB Micah Kiser leads the ACC with 67 tackles and Cavaliers S Quin Blanding is next with 62. 

2. The Tar Heels, who are 699-521-54 in school history, have won eight consecutive true road games dating back to 2014.
3. Mizzell, who has 167 career receptions to place second in Virginia history, has caught a pass in 39 consecutive games.

PREDICTION: North Carolina 38, Virginia 24

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
North Carolina 5-2 W1 32.1 28.9 2-2 3-0 4-1 0-0 3-1
Virginia 2-4 L1 28.3 32.3 1-2 1-2 2-3 0-0 1-1

Last Meeting

North Carolina Virginia
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/24/15 UVA 13 UNC 26 422 196 226 353 205 148

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
UNC M. Williams 80.8 226 0 1
UVA M. Johns 56.7 148 1 4
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
UNC E. Hood 21 101 4.8 2
UVA T. Mizzell 24 117 4.9 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
UNC B. Howard 2 43 21.5 0
UVA T. Mizzell 6 57 9.5 0
TDs Player TD
UNC E. Hood 2
UVA C. Hopkins 1
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
UNC M. Trubisky 70.5 2068 15 2
UVA K. Benkert 57.2 1733 14 7
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
UNC T. Logan 65 409 6.3 5
UVA T. Mizzell 64 355 5.5 3
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
UNC R. Switzer 58 606 10.4 3
UVA O. Zaccheaus 29 423 14.6 5
TDs Player TD
UNC T. Logan 8
UVA A. Reid 7

Quickchart Matchup

North Carolina Off vs  Virginia Def
430.4 yards
450.7 yards
4.3 yards/rush
4.2 yards/rush
8 yards/attempt
8 yards/attempt
Virginia Off vs  North Carolina Def
403.3 yards
417.3 yards
3.8 yards/rush
4.5 yards/rush
7.1 yards/attempt
7.4 yards/attempt

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

North Carolina Overall Virginia
5-2-0 W/L 2-4-0
4-3-0 ATS 3-2-1
3-4-0 O/U 2-3-1
32.1 Pts For 28.3
28.9 Pts Against 32.3
North Carolina A/H Virginia
3-0 W/L 1-2
3-0-0 ATS 1-2-0
1-2-0 O/U 2-0-1
35.0 Pts For 33.3
23.7 Pts Against 39.0