UNC Football Season in Review: Virginia


The North Carolina Tar Heels football season kicks off on August 30th against the Liberty Flames at home in Kenan Stadium. To get you ready for the nationally ranked Tar Heel’s first game, Keeping It Heel will have an extensive football preview series previewing all of Carolina’s positions, games and reviewing 2013′s games. Check back to Keeping It Heel every afternoon for new preview posts. Today, let’s review UNC Football’s game against Virginia.


North Carolina returned home seeking a third consecutive win in week 11 of the 2013 season.  However, this matchup against the Virginia Cavaliers would be different from any game the Tar Heels had played all year.

Marquise Williams would no longer share quarterback responsibilities with senior Bryn Renner, as Renner had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder.  This was Williams’ chance to prove that he was capable of leading the Tar Heels.  As it turned out, “capable” would not do the team’s performance justice.

The Heels began the game with a touchdown on their opening drive as Quinshad Davis caught an 8 yard pass from Marquise Williams.  About four and a half minutes later, Davis returned the favor and found Marquise Williams for a 29 yard score to end the first quarter.

Ryan Switzer made his mark on the game after returning a punt for an 85 yard touchdown in the second quarter.  From that point on, the score never got closer than 21 points.  The Tar Heels defeated the Cavaliers 45-14.

In one word, the Tar Heels in this game were well-rounded.

The Heels as a team scored in all three phases of the game.

Offensively, the Heels were balanced.  They finished the game with 415 total yards (214 passing, 201 rushing).  North Carolina consistently converted on third down and only turned the ball over once.

Defensively, the Heels were solid.  They limited the Cavaliers to only 316 yards of total offense and forced two interceptions – one being brought back for a touchdown.

And on special teams, the Heels were explosive.   Ryan Switzer’s punt return for a touchdown was his first of his career, and marked a special beginning to his emergence as a playmaker.

Leading by example, multi-dimensional quarterback Marquise Williams finished the game with 185 yards and 2 touchdowns passing.  He also added 46 yards and 1 touchdown rushing, as well as 29 yards and 1 touchdown receiving.

Looking ahead to 2014, the Heels do not have this particular game circled.  It’s just another ACC matchup in the middle of the season where the Heels are expected to win.

Unfortunately for Virginia, these Cavaliers won’t be star-studded like the ones in Cleveland.

Greyson Lambert will most likely get the starting job at quarterback for Virginia in 2014.  Lambert had more success moving the ball against North Carolina than starting quarterback, David Watford.  Lambert finished the game against the Tar Heels 8 of 13 for 75 yards and a touchdown.

More from North Carolina Tar Heels

The one bright spot for the Cavaliers against the North Carolina defense was their ground game.  Running back Kevin Parks finished the game with 100 yards and one touchdown.  He finished the 2013 season with 1031 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing.  Parks will need to have a monster game in order to keep up with the high scoring offense North Carolina brings to the table.

Even with a relatively inexperienced offensive line, the Heels should still be able to run through this Virginia defense at will.  Williams is expected to be able to move the chains just as efficiently against Virginia in this upcoming season as he did his sophomore year.

High expectations are in store for this North Carolina team, and hopefully by the end of this ACC matchup, the only different storyline worth noting will be Marquise Williams’ transformation from a capable quarterback to a dominant quarterback.