Saturday, October 21, 2023

Virginia Edges #10 North Carolina in Thrilling College Football Clash

CHAPEL HILL – In a college football showdown that had fans that no one expected to be close but left fans on the edge of their seats, the Virginia Cavaliers narrowly defeated the #10 North Carolina Tar Heels, 31-27, on Saturday night at Kenan Stadium. The game was a rollercoaster of emotions with both teams showing immense determination and skill, but in the end, it was the Cavaliers who emerged victorious.

First Quarter: Cavaliers Take Early Lead

The game started with a bang as the Virginia Cavaliers drew first blood with a brilliant 11-yard rushing touchdown by #7 Mike Hollins. The 7-play, 51-yard drive set the tone for an intense matchup. Kicker #41 Will Bettridge was successful with the extra point, and Virginia took an early 7-0 lead. However, the Tar Heels wasted no time in responding. Quarterback Drake Maye connected with Tez Walker for a 25-yard touchdown pass, which was expertly executed. Noah Burnette’s successful extra point tied the game at 7-7. Virginia wasn’t done in the first quarter, as Mike Hollins found the end zone again with a 3-yard rushing touchdown. The Cavaliers reclaimed the lead, finishing the quarter 14-7.

Second Quarter: Tar Heels Strike Back

The Tar Heels showed their resilience in the second quarter. Quarterback Drake Maye showcased his arm strength by throwing a 62-yard bomb to Bryson Nesbit, who raced to hit paydirt. Noah Burnette’s successful extra point once again tied the game at 14-14. Armani Chatman’s interception in the end zone late in the quarter secured North Carolina’s tenth scoreless quarter of the year. With just seconds left in the first half, Burnette added a 43-yard field goal for North Carolina, making him the the first Tar Heel kicker to make his first ten field goals in a season since Connor Barth in 2006. The Tar Heels took a 17-14 lead into halftime. 

Third Quarter: Tar Heels Maintain Control

North Carolina continued to build on their lead in the third quarter as Drake Maye rushed for a 3-yard touchdown. The Tar Heels were up 24-14 following Burnette’s extra point. Virginia responded as Mike Hollins plowed through the Tar Heels’ defense for a 1-yard touchdown. The score was 24-21 after Will Bettridge’s extra point. Late in the third quarter, Virginia managed to level the game at 24-24 with a 45-yard field goal by Bettridge.

Fourth Quarter: Cavaliers Seal the Win

In the final quarter, North Carolina briefly took the lead with a 27-yard field goal from Noah Burnette, making it 27-24 in favor of the Tar Heels, marking his fourth straight game with multiple field goals. Virginia, however, staged a remarkable comeback. Quarterback Tony Muskett threw a 14-yard pass to Malik Washington, who found the end zone. Will Bettridge’s extra point gave the Cavaliers a 31-27 lead. Despite North Carolina’s best efforts, they couldn’t overcome Virginia’s stout defense in the final moments. 

Player Performances

Virginia’s offensive efforts were led by Mike Hollins, who rushed for three touchdowns. Tony Muskett passed for 208 yards and threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Malik Washington. Mike Hollins scored three touchdowns for the Cavaliers.

North Carolina’s Drake Maye had an impressive performance, running for a score and throwing for 347 yards and two touchdowns, including a stunning 62-yard pass to Bryson Nesbit. Tez Walker caught 11 passes for 146 yards and one touchdown.

They Said It

Mack Brown: “Obviously, tonight was a disappointing loss for us. Congratulations to Virginia, they out-coached us and played better than us tonight. You don’t normally win the game when you give up 228 yards rushing and only rush for 143. We had chance after chance, but I think you'd have to say that we as coaches didn't prepare our guys very well…This week, we talked about poisoned cheese and we ate it. Tonight, we didn't punt the ball well, we were inconsistent on offense and we didn't score in the red zone when we needed to. We were four of 13 on third downs while they were eight of eight. We had a chance to win the game two times and didn't do it… Again, on critical plays, they made the plays and we didn't. I am disappointed tonight that we didn't play about like we did last year against him. Our guys played hard but we just didn't make plays. Now, we have to go back to work and go to Georgia Tech next week.” 

Up Next

North Carolina (6-1, 3-1) will play three of their last five games on the road, starting with a game against Georgia Tech (3-4, 2-2). Virginia (2-5, 1-2) remains on the road, traveling to Miami.