VIRGINIA’S THREE KEYS TO VICTORY
1Score points: Yeah, it sounds simple but so far this season, and especially in Saturday’s loss at Miami, Virginia’s offense has moved the ball but not always come away with points. Against a UNC attack that averages 37.8 points per game, the Cavaliers can’t settle for yardage victories. They’ll need touchdowns. So far, they’ve been one of the least effective red zone offenses in the league, producing just 12 touchdowns on 22 possessions inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
2Control the run game: North Carolina has the ACC’s most productive duo of running backs in Michael Carter and Javonte Williams, who both average over 100 yards per game on the ground. Virginia has been good against the run all season, allowing just 3.3 yards per carry, the fourth lowest average in the conference. The Tar Heels get 249 yards per game on the ground, production that can both take over games and set up Sam Howell and the passing attack. Making UNC a bit more one dimensional is UVA’s best hope of slowing it down.
3Tackle well: This goes hand in hand with controlling the run game, but will be a factor on short throws, as well. In North Carolina’s win over North Carolina State last weekend, the Tar Heel coaches counted 27 times their players broke tackles. Those broken tackles can turn average plays into long ones, and UVA can’t afford to give up long plays to UNC that averages a league-high 7.3 yards per play.