Time: 3:30 p.m.
Date: Saturday, September 17, 2011
Place: Kenan Stadium
Radio: Virginia Sports Radio Network
Spread: North Carolina -10
Last Meeting: October 16, 2010. Virginia 10, North Carolina 44
Last Time Out: North Carolina 24, Rutgers 22
Series:North Carolina 57-54-4
Last week was less fun for Cavaliers fans, who saw the Hoos give away the big lead only to steal it back in the final minutes at Indiana. In today's ACC opener for both teams,and company will face their biggest test of the season so far, as both squads are undefeated and the Tar Heel defense has been highly touted.
You've seen it here (and everywhere else on the interwebs and television) all week long -- it's the 116th matchup between the Hoos and the Heels. And while the Heels hold the narrow series record margin over Virginia, recent history hasn't been nearly as close. Virginia has won 18 of the past 24 contests. Carolina hasn't won an ACC season opener in a decade. Nor have they beaten Virginia in back-to-back games in almost three decades (1981-82). They have also never beaten Virginia on days when I got a haircut in the morning. Guess who got a haircut this morning? Boom.
Plenty of fun facts after the jump.
You want fun facts? Here are a couple.
ACC Leaders. RB Kevin Parks is tied for the lead in the conference in scoring, at 15 points per game. Who's he tied with? None other than Virginia kicker Robert Randolph, who has connected on 8 of 8 field goals on the season. The two are ranked No. 6 nationally in the same category.
Defense! Defense! Virginia ranks No. 9 nationally in pass efficiency defense, second in the ACC. Hoos are also second in the conference in pass defense, allowing 146 yards per game. By comparison, Carolina is 27th in the country in passing yardage at 275 yards a game. Should make for a very interesting matchup on this rainy day in Chapel Hill. On the flip side, Carolina is third in the country in rushing defense, which obviously presents a problem for an inexperienced Virginia quarterback who relies heavily on running backs Kevin Parks (a freshman, don't forget) and Perry Jones.
Turnovers City. Remember last year when everyone gave former Virginia QB Marc Verica a hard time for having a one-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio? Carolina QB Bryn Renner has thrown three touchdowns this season and an impressive four interceptions...after two weeks. (For now, we're ignoring the fact that Michael Rocco has thrown 0 TDs and 2 INTs on account of the Hoos just not relying on that aspect of the game. Yeah.) Carolina has caused exactly zero turnovers this year, while giving up six of their own (2 fumbles, 4 interceptions). The Heels are ranked 115th in the nation in turnover margin (-3.00 per game). Virginia has had four turnovers (2 fumbles, 2 interceptions) while causing five (3 fumbles, 2 interceptions). They are No. 38 in the nation in turnover margin at 0.50 per game.
Red Zone. Virginia is 11 for 11 in red zone trips, getting six touchdowns and five field goals in just two games. North Carolina is 5 of 6 in the red zone this year, scoring a touchdown in each of the five. Virginia's opponents are 5-6 (3 resulting in TDs) while North Carolina's opponents are 5-7 (2 TDs).
What's your prediction here? I don't care what the numbers say. I don't care about the Carolina defense. Virginia is just too much like kryptonite for the Tar Heels. Hoos pull off a 20-14 victory in Chapel Hill in a turnover-laden game.
Leave your pre-, in-, and post-game comments here.