Overall the Hoos did enough to win the game, significantly slowing down the UNC offensive attack, forcing some Tar Heel mistakes, and moving the ball effectively on offense. However, as is usually case, turnovers ended up costing the Cavaliers the win. Let's look back at the keys to the game going in, and see how they played out in the outcome.
1) Contain Marquise Williams - Williams was as good as advertised, especially in the first half, as he carved up the Virginia defense with relative ease. He played with poise from the pocket often being able to find his receivers open for big gains. On the day he was 21 for 26 throwing for 226 yards. He added 71 yards on the ground. His day could have been much bigger had the Heels not been penalized as many times as they were, having big plays called back on several occasions. But penalties weren't the only limiting factor for Williams. The Hoos defense was a big factor as well. In the first half they pressured him into multiple throws, sacked him once, and finally got their first interception of the season. Through the second half though, the defense just wasn't able to get the stops they needed to bail out the offense.
2) Stay Creative in the Running Game - This key was spot on as from the outset as the Hoos had great success running multiple backs out of multiple formations. They utilized change of direction on a first half counter play that sprung Daniel Hamm for a 53 yard gain. Taquan Mizzell was once again spectacular running for 117 yards and adding 57 yards in the receiving game. The matchup against UNC was ripe for running the ball, but this team seems to have found a little bit of a rhythm. For the third week in a row the Hoos ran for a season-high, gaining 205 yards on the ground, and will look to carry that momentum into next week against Georgia Tech.
3) Win (or just don't lose terribly) on Special Teams - You get the feeling Larry Fedora might have had something he thought he could exploit trying to sneak an easy two point conversion after UNC's second touchdown. But give all credit to the Hoos who appeared ready for it and stuffed the Heel's attempt. It was one of those extra point formations where only the holder, the center, and two linemen are over the ball with the rest of the offense lined up wide left. 99.9% of the time the rest of line just joins the center and the kick is attempted. However, in this case, the Heels snapped the ball, the holder rolled out right, and completed a pass to his Tight End who was eventually tackled short of the goal line. Virginia knew their matchups and were not fooled by the unbalanced line. Other than that, Special Teams were fairly balanced and neither team did anything to win, or lose the game.
That is a very good Tar Heel team that Virginia just faced. The defense was stout and held North Carolina to their lowest point total in ACC games this year. There is a lot of positive to take away, but in the end, they didn't come away with the win as the five turnovers were the difference. Virginia will have to solve that if they are to find success next week against Georgia Tech. Virginia returns home to Scott Stadium next Saturday for a 3 PM kickoff with the Yellow Jackets.