UNC Cruises in Charlottesville
By Stuart Barefoot
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Bryn Renner had yet another great game for UNC, completing 29 of 36 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns.
A week after its defense was demolished by Georgia Tech, North Carolina held Virginia to 13 points during a 37-13 Tar Heel victory on Thursday night. The Heels had two goalline stands, and the Cavaliers only managed three second half points. The Tar Heels' rushing defense was able to stifle the two-headed monster of Perry Jones and Kevin Parks, who barely combined for over 100 yards on the evening. The win improves the Heels to 7-4 and 4-3 in the ACC, while Virginia falls to 4-7 and 2-5.
Bryn Renner had yet another great game, completing 29 of 36 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Gio Bernard had another quiet game, rushing for just 57 yards. He did catch a touchdown pass, however, and Quinshad Davis had a big game with 178 receiving yards, while Erik Highsmith caught two touchdown passes. For Virginia, the two QB system was called into question, as Phillip Sims appeared to be more efficient, while Michael Rocco took more snaps.
Renner had a brilliant first half; completing 19 of 22 passes for 139 yards. However, the Heels got off to a poor start, going three and out on their first possession. The defense, which had plenty to prove, was able to keep the game scoreless by forcing the Cavaliers to punt. On the next drive, UNC got on the board first when Renner found Highsmith for a nine-yard touchdown. Virginia put a dent in the Tar Heel lead when their 66-yard drive ended in a Drew Jarrett 34-yard field goal.
The Heels wasted no time responding. On their very next possession, they moved the ball 80 yards down the field. They began the second quarter with backup QB Marquise Williams rushing for 12 yards; It ended with A.J. Blue spinning into the end zone.
UVA answered with a 14-play, 67-yard drive to cut the Carolina lead to four. Sims came in to quarterback, and directed the offense to the UNC 9, where he hooked up with Darius Jennings for a short touchdown. After the extra point, the Cavaliers trailed 14-10.
Rocco came back in to QB for the Cavaliers on ther next possession, but he had his first pass picked off by Tre Boston, who returned it 36 yards for a touchdown. UNC could not convert the two-point attempt, but nevertheless led 20-10. Neither team would score again during the first half.
Virginia began with possession in the second half and kicked a 28-yard field goal to start off the third quarter. Sims started the second half, and after a three and out, was picked up by his defense. Bernard was unable to field the ensuing punt, fumbling the ball on the UNC 12. After Rocco came in and was unable to gain a first down, Jarrett sent a 28-yarder through the uprights to bring UVA within a touchdown as they trailed 20-13.
The Cavaliers then missed a great opportunity to even the game. After UNC punted the ball, UVA moved down to the UNC 3. After consecutive rushes put them at the 1, Parks was sacked for a loss of two, ending the drive and the quarter.
UNC buried the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter, scoring 17 points. The Heels would score on their first three possessions, including touchdown passes to Bernard and Highsmith, and a field goal by Moore to put the Heels up 37-13. Carolina next plays Maryland in Chapel Hill, while Virginia prepares for in-state rival Virginia Tech.