The North Carolina Tar Heels will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia this week for a Thursday night game. The Heels are coming off a game to Georgia Tech in which they put up 50 points, and lost. The Cavaliers are coming off a surprise win against the Miami Hurricanes 41-40. UNC sits at 3-3 in the ACC and needs to get back to their winning ways after Saturday’s blowout loss. Here are their keys to beating Virginia.
– Continue as they’ve done all season. UNC is 10th in scoring in the nation, recording 40+ points per game. UVa’s defense has been shaky as of late. They gave up 40 points to Miami last week. UVa filled the gaps on most of the Miami running plays but they were plagued by poor tackling. Giovani Bernard is a strong back that always breaks tackles. The spread offense should also spread out the defense and keep UVA missing all night.
– Score early and often. UNC’s three losses this season have come on last minute drives, either by UNC or their opponent. The Heels need to build a large enough lead that this game will not come down to the final drive. UVa has proven they are very streaky and they should come out strong as they need this victory and a win in their final game to make it to bowl season.
– Show up. This is apparently something that they forgot to do last week. Georgia Tech did anything they wanted on offense in putting up a school record 68 points. Granted Virginia runs a more traditional offense than the triple option GT runs, but the Heels’ defense needs to be prepared.
– UVA has a solid 2 quarterback system with Michael Rocco and Phillip Sims. Each has thrown for over 1,000 yards this season. UNC’s secondary needs to disguise coverages and cause both quarterbacks into throwing errant passes. Blitzes in the A gaps in the quarterback’s face will help do this as well. Virginia’s offense has been playing well the last 2 games and they have momentum to get to a bowl game. UNC’s defense has to play hard and smart on every down.
UNC and UVa have played 5 of the same opponents with the result being the exact same for both teams. Both teams lost to Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Duke whereas both teams beat Miami and NC State. Normally this logic does not work in sports but in this case it says these teams are fairly evenly matched. UVa has terrible special teams play in which UNC should take advantage of. If the Heels can be efficient with these keys to victory and have a few big plays on special teams, this should end in a UNC victory.