In a game that started off with back-to-back touchdown drives for the Hoos and back-to-back punts from North Carolina, things went south very quickly for Virginia.
Or, in less AP-style and more identifiable terms, that game felt like a sucker punch to the gut.
So what happened?
Looking only at the scoreboard, it was a tightly played game start to finish. Though the Hoos jumped out to a quick 14-0 start in the first quarter, the Tar Heels responded just as fast, tying the game before the end of the quarter. The teams would trade touchdowns before Virginia took a field goal lead into the locker room at the half. After another field goal, things started looking good for Virginia, until an ugly interception by Greyson Lambert straight into the arms of North Carolina's Nazair Jones eventually led to a Tar Heel touchdown on a pass from backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky, followed by a successful on-side kick that would eventually seal Virginia's fate.
What else happened? With a Carolina fourth and 2 at the UVA 21 with just 1:17 to play, it looked like Virginia would get a chance to get the ball back and have one last drive to try to win the game back.
That is, a substitution penalty cost the Hoos 5 yards, an automatic first down, and the ballgame. Twelve men on the field.
Virginia head coach Mike London took responsibility after the game.
"There was an extra guy on the field who should not have been there," London said. "When we make those switches, one guy comes in and one guy comes out. It was not caught or noticed. That is coaching, that is us on the sideline watching what's going on."
Carolina refs were flag-happy as well, calling eight penalties against Virginia for 83 yards; two of these penalties were pass interference calls (at least one of which was quite questionable) and one was a terrible 15-yard personal foul (late hit). UNC-CHeat was called for only five penalties for 45 yards.
Carolina benefitted from tremendous ball placement off of punts, causing Virginia to start drives at the one- and two-yard lines, both of which turned into three-and-out drives.
Miles Gooch, who took a handoff and threw a 23-yard pass to Lambert that led to a Kevin Parks two-yard touchdown, came out of the game in the second quarter for an apparent leg injury. He could be seen on the sidelines in the second half, on crutches.
Looking at the remainder of the schedule, I'm just not sure I'll have to eat any more Meat Mountains this season.