No nailbiter as Virginia cruises to 31-21 win over Tar Heels

No nailbiter as Virginia cruises to 31-21 win over Tar Heels

No nailbiter as Virginia cruises to 31-21 win over Tar Heels

The third-year coach's first mission was to build fortitude in his players, which would then lead to a postseason appearance.

"This is the expectation", wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus said of qualifying for a bowl game.

Up next comes winning in the postseason, and to the surprise of almost everyone outside the team, poised to put itself in position to have a shot at it. The moneyline for this game is Virginia -357.1 and 78.1% have picked the Cavaliers to win the game.PREDICTIONBennettRank predicts Virginia to defeat North Carolina by 22 points, which indicates the Cavaliers will cover the point spread of -9 and suggests to pick the UNDER 52.

With wins over a ranked Miami team and, last week, at Duke, U.Va. (5-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) wants to see how much headway it can make toward completing Mendenhall's long-range plan.

"We just didn't make enough plays in the second half", said UNC coach Larry Fedora, who saw his Tar Heels fall to 1-6 on the season, 1-4 in ACC play.

But even Mendenhall isn't getting ahead of himself. "So I would love for that to happen in one year and this year, and I'm not taking anything off the table, but I'm a realist".

The Tar Heels, meanwhile, continue to search for answers. Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, that was because Virginia wouldn't let them come up for air.

The Cavaliers led 17-14 at halftime, but Perkins hit Dubois for a 33-yard score early in the third quarter and the defense limited North Carolina to two first downs and 43 yards.

"They're an ACC team, so we can't really underestimate any team in the ACC, so we don't want to say that they're awful", sophomore defensive end Mandy Alonso said. "They don't have better talent, but they performed better today. Other than that, the majority of the time, we were in third-and-long situations, because we weren't efficient on first down".

Saturday's game will be the 123rd version of what's dubbed "the South's Oldest Rivalry". The Tar Heels hold a 63-55-4 edge in the series, which dates back to 1892.

U.Va., whose lone ACC loss came at N.C. State on September 29, won 20-14 last season in Chapel Hill, N.C., where a late sack stopped a promising UNC drive. With the Tar Heels receiving the second half, this was a golden chance for UNC to grab the lead. "We're looking to go way further than that".

For a program that finished 2-10 just two seasons ago, gradual improvement seems to be coming at breakneck speed. "So as many guys as we get on board, it's going to keep getting better and better and better each week".

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