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Hoos Dominate South's Oldest Rivalry

20071120cavmanThat orange kool-aid tastes a little better each week, and I think I got the sugar-to-powder ratio just right this Saturday! Coach Al Groh's Cavaliers teams are now 7-2 against the Tar Heels, as Virginia takes the 114th meeting between the two teams, 16-3.

Alright, I'll admit that I really underestimated how terrible the offenses of the two teams would be when I made the prediction that the Hoos would top the Heels. On the one hand, this genuinely was a defensive battle. Finally, our defense looked like they had it together. For a team that averaged allowing 31 points per game, it was refreshing to see that UVA never let the Heels find the end zone.

To be fair, we almost didn't either.

I couldn't help but think back to 2005's 5-7 loss at Chapel Hill. There, it wasn't so much a defensive battle as it was a game of major suckage. But I have a question. WHERE IS OUR OFFENSE? When does that magic start up? 254 yards is nothing to call home about. The good news is that a lot of our numbers from yesterday were preserved. In order of my Numbers Don't Lie piece from yesterday, here's what happened:

  1. Virginia is now 10 of the past 12 matchups, and since 1982, is now 20-7-1. In the words of the game's commentators, on Virginia, "they OWN Carolina." Again, check my math, but I believe that puts us at about a 99.7% win margin.
  2. Virginia still has 100% red zone efficiency, adding one field goal and one touch down to the mix. That's seven trips to the redzone this year now. Seven! That's so many! (I hope you can hear my sarcasm here.)
  3. Virginia's third down defense, paired with Carolina's terrible third down offense, still holds up. The Heels were 4-16 today in third down efficiency, which means our third down defense is now sitting pretty, allowing only 16 of 61 (26.2%) conversions.
  4. Groh is now looking at 10-4 on games after bye weeks. I think the answer here is clearly that we should only be playing games every other week. What do you think?

After the game, Coach had a few things to say. In this somewhat unintelligible remark, Groh says:

"We're very proud, very appreciative of the effort they put in to make this happen, and very happy for them that they can enjoy a moment like this. That locker room in there, if you've ever been in one or participated in one, everything that we all do for months and weeks is to experience the five or six minutes when a team comes into the locker room and has that sense of satisfaction. That's what it's all about. And they earned every part of it. It's a player's game, and they earned every part of it."

Okay. I think he's proud of the team. And I think the players earned it. I'm a little confused what happened in the middle about the locker room and if we've participated in a locker room or what the deal was there. There were, however, five or six minutes of a heck of an experience.

We got three field goals this game, including a 43-yard career long for Robert Randolph. "He really stepped up today. He really hasn't had to make too many pressure kicks that determine games. He did today. Just as I say about the whole team, as the season evolves we learn more and more about our team, who we are and what we can do and we learn more and more about the players," says Al Groh.

What else is there to say, really? For once, Virginia had no turnovers. We held the Carolina offense to just 39 rushing yards and caused three turnovers. Vic Hall came back, and played on both sides of the ball and everywhere in between. Great win today, Hoos. Once we figure out what kind of offense we're running and stick with a quarterback (Marc Verica got some playing time again) we should be in decent shape.

Hoos are 1-0 in the ACC and are one of only three teams left undefeated in the ACC (at the time this article as published, N.C. State trails Wake Forest 24-27)!