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THE COLUMN: Virginia vs. North Carolina Complete Preview

Hoos, Heels, Halloween

TIME: 12:20 PM (EST)

DATE: October 27th, 2018

LOCATION: Scott Stadium | Charlottesville, Va


The Lowdown

So... the Hoos are one game away from securing a spot in their second consecutive bowl game - something that hasn’t happened in 14 years. Now, I don’t want to get too hype, but there’s a lot going for Virginia right now. They’re contenders for the Coastal Division right now and are going into an extremely manageable three game home stand against UNC, Pittsburgh, and Liberty.

UVA/UNC match ups since 2006

The Heels and Hoos have matched up in “The South’s Oldest Rivalry” a whopping 122 times since 1892 and currently UNC leads the series 63 to 55 (there have also been four ties). North Carolina had beaten Virginia from 2010-2016, but there have been stretches of one school dominating the other. The Hoos finally won last year and, this Saturday, face a UNC team that is dead last in the ACC.

Is it time for Virginia to start stringing together some wins against North Carolina? While not scientific at all, it does feel like the tides could be turning in Charlottesville. Fans have every reason to be excited about the team’s favorable prospects for the rest of the season (and beyond) but this game is a real litmus test for the season. Virginia is opening as 9.5-point favorites, which is their biggest favored spread in an ACC game in over a decade. The team cannot afford to sleep on North Carolina and if they are to really set themselves up for success this season and for the future, it starts with a win this Saturday.

The Statistics

from Danny Neckel

The Good

Category UVA Category UNC
Category UVA Category UNC
Scoring Defense 19th (18.4) Scoring Offense 108th (23.3)
Turnover Margin 43rd (.29) Turnover Margin 126th (-1.33)
3rd Down Offense 15th (48%) 3rd Down Defense 98th (41.6%)

The Bad

Category UVA Category Duke
Category UVA Category Duke
Sacks Allowed 94th (2.71) Team Sacks 8th (3.33)
Rushing Defense 85th (368.8) Yards Defense 38th (350)

Hoo’s Hoo?

Virginia Cavaliers

Olamide Zaccheaus, WR

Fourth-year Olamide Zaccheaus is one of Virginia’s best receivers... of all time. Last week against Duke, he passed Taquan Mizzell to for second most receptions in school history. OZ is currently is at 203 career receptions and is chasing the all-time record of 210 held by Billy McMullen. Look for Zaccheaus to continue his dominance in the offense and to possibly surpass McMullen this week.

Virginia Cavaliers

Juan Thornhill, S

Fourth-year Juan Thornhill has exceeded expectations so far this year. He has three interceptions and 45 total tackles. Against Miami, Thornhill was named Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week. He could have declared for the NFL Draft last year but decided to forgo it to continue building this Virginia program. And there’s no doubt that his leadership is a big factor into the culture that is being set in Charlottesville.

Virginia Cavaliers

Brian Delaney, K

Virginia has struggled in finding a steady kicker over the last couple years. Against Miami two weeks ago, Virginia turned to Delaney and he went on to go a perfect 3-for-3, and got to even break the rock for his efforts. Last week, Delaney went 2/4 but nailed his two crucially in the third quarter to give the Hoos some breathing room. Look for Delaney to be the guy down the stretch.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Nathan Elliott, QB

At the helm of the Tar Heels offense is junior QB Nathan Elliott. Last year, he started the last three games of the season and won the starting position for this year. While UNC’s passing offense is in the mid-pack (67th), they lack in scoring offense (108th). Half of the problem is the Heels inability to score touchdowns by the air - Elliott has 1241 passing yards on the year but only six touchdowns.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Antonio Williams, RB

North Carolina’s main running back is junior Antonio Williams. However, he’s new to the Carolina blue, as he transferred from Ohio State last year. Last week against Syracuse, WIlliams showcased his abilities as he rushed for 116 yards and one touchdown. His efforts got him named as ACC Running Back of the Week. Virginia’s defense against the run has been stout all season though and it’ll be critical to shut Williams down.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Anthony Ratliff-Williams, WR

Ratliff-Williams is a big-time playmaker for the Tar Heels. He’s their primary kick-off return man - and is dangerous one. Last year, he amassed an impressive 895 yards kick-off returns and took two all the way for touchdowns. This year, though, Ratliff-Williams has emerged as their top receiver and has 354 receiving yards so far. He did get shaken up towards the tail end of their game against Syracuse last week though, but looks to be healthy for Saturday.


Would rather get while trick-or-treating?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    One king-sized candy bar
    (102 votes)
  • 43%
    Four assorted fun-sized candy bars
    (78 votes)
180 votes total Vote Now


Virginia vs. UNC | November 24th, 1932 | UVA 14-7 UNC