Carolina fans have needed blood pressure medication for a while now, but yesterday may have been enough to send everyone to their local doctor. Once again, the Heels’ defense made the Generals’ offense look like the Harlem Globetrotters, but it was Drake Maye & Co. who once again saved the day to bring the team one step closer to winning the title. Coastal division. The very strong opinion online is that this may be the most frustrating 8-1 team ever, and while that may be true, I also think it shows that it is one some of the toughest UNC teams we’ve seen in quite a while.
Let’s discuss three things we learned from UNC’s big win in Charlottesville.
The defense continues to bend without breaking
Heading into yesterday’s game, the Cavaliers had proven to be a pretty weak offensive team. Throughout the season, they failed to score more than 20 points with the exception of their game against Richmond, and they failed to even score a touchdown against Illinois in September. Naturally, the stage was set for Virginia to have its best offensive game of the season against a Power Five team, and they ever did.
Virginia finished the game with 418 total yards, which was not far off UNC’s 455 yards. Brennan Armstrong was far from the best version of himself, finishing the game with 232 passing yards, zero touchdowns, one interception and completing 49% of his passes. However, the running game worked pretty well for the Cavaliers: Armstrong and Mike Hollins combined for 139 yards and two touchdowns. The UNC defense deserves some credit for what they were able to do in the passing game, but the fact remains that this team continues to make things way more interesting than they should. be against inferior opponents. They may want to reunite before next weekend as Wake Forest may just be the team that finally breaks them.
Elijah Green may be the running back Mack Brown was looking for
Let me settle this: yes, it was a game, and things could change dramatically next weekend against Wake Forest. However, it looks like Elijah Green could be the guy entering the final stretch of the season. for the moment. You really don’t know from week to week who’s going to have a big game with the ball, but yesterday was the day Green was the brightest star.
Green finished the game against Virginia with 22 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a pass from Drake Maye for a 22-yard touchdown that put the game away for good. Green and Maye’s contributions on the field were a big part of securing the win, and hopefully they keep the ball rolling next week in Winston-Salem.
Josh Downs Career Day
Another Tar Heel on the offensive side of the ball who had a day was Josh Downs, who finished the game against the Cavaliers with a career-high in single-game receiving yards. He caught 15 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown, and averaged 11.1 yards per catch.
Downs’ dominance was something to behold, and he basically carried receivers on his back the entire game. Drake Maye struggled to connect to his other targets, but he managed to connect to Downs with 94% efficiency. If all that wasn’t enough, Downs also had a great kick return late in the game, as for some reason Virginia felt comfortable kicking him instead of kicking the ball out. bounds or in the end zone. It’s a pretty bizarre strategy, and Downs made sure to make them pay for it.
Although Downs’ numbers aren’t as crazy as I expected at the start of the season, he still turns out to be one of the most important players in the team. He’s now on a three-game streak logging over 100 receiving yards, and he has a chance to do four next weekend against the Demon Deacons.