Oct 24, 2020; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Sam Howell (7) with the ball as North Carolina State Wolfpack defensive end Terrell Dawkins (0) pressures in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

No. 15 UNC out for revenge vs. struggling Virginia

A year ago, North Carolina’s Sam Howell passed for 353 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions against Virginia — and still had to watch his team absorb a 38-31 loss at home.

The sophomore quarterback will look for a better team result Saturday night when his No. 15 Tar Heels (4-1, 4-1 ACC) visit the slumping Cavaliers (1-4, 1-4) in Charlottesville, Va.

Howell, who ranks second in the conference with 280.6 passing yards per game, faces Virginia’s league-worst pass defense (286.0 yards per game).

North Carolina rebounded from a 31-28 defeat at Florida State on Oct. 17 by whipping then-No. 23 North Carolina State 48-21 on Saturday. Howell completed 18 of 29 passes for 252 yards with one touchdown and ran for a score. Javonte Williams (160 yards, three TDs) and Michael Carter (106, one TD) both rushed for more than 100 yards against the rival Wolfpack.

The Tar Heels lead the ACC in total offense (531.2 yards per game) and rank second in scoring (37.8 per game).

“North Carolina is a great team. We definitely have to just focus on tackling their backs, tackling their receivers … they have really good players,” said Cavaliers linebacker Nick Jackson, who leads the ACC with 10.6 tackles per game and last week had 16 stops against in a 19-14 loss at Miami. “I think our coaches are going to prepare us really well for it and I’m excited to play them.”

Virginia has lost four in a row since a season-opening win against Duke.

Against Miami, quarterback Brennan Armstrong returned after missing a game with a concussion, and passed for 181 yards with two TDs and rushed for a game-high 91 yards. Tight end Tony Poljan, a grad transfer from Central Michigan, caught a touchdown pass for the third time in his last four games.

“We’re a different team with Brennan,” Mendenhall said. “The throws he can make, how tough he is when he scrambles, and just his leadership style. … He makes a difference for us, even though it hasn’t showed on the outcome yet.”

Tar Heels coach Mack Brown expects a fight from the Cavaliers, regardless of their record.

“They play so hard. It’s one thing about (Mendenhall’s) teams every time I’ve ever seen them on the field, even when I was in TV,” Brown said. “They’re gonna play hard every week, and that’s a trade of a great coach to get them to do that. And we’ll have to match that intensity.”

Brown said he was heartened by the way kicker Grayson Atkins has responded after starting the season in something of a slump. A former FCS All-American at Furman, Atkins had missed four of his first six field-goal attempts (he was 13-for-15 last year at Furman), but made a 40-yarder and a 34-yarder against NC State.

Atkins’ performance could be significant as the Tar Heels try to stay relevant in the national rankings. He missed from 44 yards in the three-point loss to Florida State.

This is the 125th meeting of “The South’s Oldest Rivalry,” with North Carolina holding a 63-57-4 edge in the series. Virginia has won the last three meetings. Exactly 50 years ago, the Tar Heels won the only previous time they met on Halloween, 30-15 on Oct. 31, 1970.

Mendenhall did not provide updates Monday for injured starting safeties Joey Blount and Brenton Nelson, who both missed the Miami game along with 6-foot-7 freshman receiver Lavel Davis Jr. (undisclosed reasons) Cornerback Darrius Bratton and starting right tackle Ryan Swoboda left Saturday’s game due to injuries.

For North Carolina, wide receiver Beau Corrales is expected to miss his second straight game with a lower-body injury.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

Upcoming Games

Dec 1st, 10:30 AM

WKU +1.5 -110

Charlotte -1.5 -110

@

Dec 3rd, 9:30 PM

Air Force -10.5 -110

Utah State +10.5 -110

@

Dec 4th, 7:00 PM

Louisiana-Lafayette (23) +3 +100

Appalachian State -3 +100

@

Dec 4th, 9:30 PM

Boise State -26.5 -105

UNLV +26.5 -105

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Texas A&M (5) -6.5 -110

Auburn (22) +6.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Ohio State (3) -22.5 -112

Michigan State +22.5 -112

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Memphis +1.5 -110

Tulane -1.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Kent State -3 -115

Miami-OH +3 -115

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Toledo -11 -110

NIU +11 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Cincinnati (7) -3.5 -110

Tulsa (24) +3.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Arkansas +3 -110

Missouri -3 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:00 PM

Eastern Michigan +13.5 -115

Western Michigan -13.5 -115

@

Dec 5th, 2:00 PM

Bowling Green +3 +105

Akron -3 +105

@

Dec 5th, 2:00 PM

Troy -5.5 -110

South Alabama +5.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:30 PM

Syracuse +33.5 -110

Notre Dame (2) -33.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Baylor +22 -110

Oklahoma (14) -22 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Texas (20) -8 -110

Kansas State +8 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Oklahoma State (21) -1.5 -110

TCU +1.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Kansas +27 -110

Texas Tech -27 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

West Virginia +7 -105

Iowa State (15) -7 -105

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Northwestern (11) -10 -110

Minnesota +10 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Nebraska +1 -110

Purdue -1 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Iowa -12.5 -110

Illinois +12.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Penn State -10 -110

Rutgers +10 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Ball State +1.5 -110

Central Michigan -1.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Fresno State +7 -110

Nevada -7 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Boston College +6.5 -110

Virginia -6.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Clemson (4) -21.5 -110

Virginia Tech +21.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Florida State +3 -110

Duke -3 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Georgia Tech +7 -110

NC State -7 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Liberty +6.5 -110

Coastal Carolina (16) -6.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Western Carolina +48.5 -110

North Carolina (25) -48.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 3:00 PM

Louisiana-Monroe +21 -110

Arkansas State -21 -110

@

Dec 5th, 3:30 PM

Florida (6) -17 -110

Tennessee +17 -110

@

Dec 5th, 3:30 PM

Indiana (12) +10 -110

Wisconsin (18) -10 -110

@

Dec 5th, 3:30 PM

Maryland +5.5 -110

Michigan -5.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 3:30 PM

Buffalo -11 -110

Ohio +11 -110

@

Dec 5th, 4:00 PM

Vanderbilt +34 -110

Georgia (13) -34 -110

@

Dec 5th, 4:00 PM

Stanford +10 -115

Washington -10 -115

@

Dec 5th, 4:00 PM

Hawaii +7 -110

San Jose State -7 -110

@

Dec 5th, 6:00 PM

Florida Atlantic 0 -110

Georgia Southern 0 -110

@

Dec 5th, 7:00 PM

Colorado -4 -110

Arizona +4 -110

@

Dec 5th, 7:00 PM

Oregon (9) -9.5 -110

California +9.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 7:00 PM

Colorado State +8.5 -110

San Diego State -8.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 7:30 PM

South Carolina +10.5 -110

Kentucky -10.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 10:30 PM

UCLA +4 -110

Arizona State -4 -110

@

Dec 5th, 10:30 PM

Wyoming -15.5 -110

New Mexico +15.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 10:30 PM

Oregon State +9.5 -110

Utah -9.5 -110

@

Dec 6th, 2:30 PM

UAB

Middle Tennessee

@

Dec 6th, 9:00 PM

Washington State +14 -110

USC (19) -14 -110

@