It’s an early season version of the South’s Oldest Rivalry, as #21 North Carolina hosts Virginia on Saturday. Kick-off is set for 7:30 on WBT. It’s the ACC opener for the Cavaliers, who are 2-0 on the season after steamrolling Illinois 42-14 last week. The Tar Heels bounced back from their season-opening loss to Virginia Tech with a 59-17 shellacking of Georgia State to move to 1-1 on the year.
Virginia went just 5-5 last season but looks to have turned things around thanks to some terrific play by quarterback Brennan Armstrong. The red-shirt junior has thrown for 744 yards and seven touchdowns with just one interception. One of Armstong’s favorite receivers this season is 6-7 tight end Jelani Woods, who is a threat across the middle. The Oklahoma transfer has NFL scouts salivating after picking up 122 yards and a touchdown last week on just five catches. Ra’Shaun Henry is a big play threat, he had three catches for 74 yards last week, Billy Kemp is in the slot. Running back Keytaon Thompson is also a threat in the passing game, he picked up 68 yards through the air last week. The Cavaliers use a running back by committee approach, although Thompson is the number one option.
Speaking of running, the Tar Heels need to get their rushing attack going. Transfer Ty Chandler has been inconsistent, but the Cavaliers allowed 5.4 yards per carry against Illinois, so this would be a great game to get the ground game going.
Sam Howell and company need to keep the air attack going as well, the junior quarterback threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns last week, and receiver Josh Down has been making plays since moving into a starting role this season. But that won’t be easy – after allowing an ACC worst 304 passing yards per game last season, the Cavaliers secondary has been stellar through two games, led by veterans Nick Grant and Joey Blount.
by Sharon Thorsland
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