Inside the Numbers: With victory in grasp, UVA can’t get out of its own way

UVaHelmet_1Five, count ‘em, five UVA quarterback Matt Johns had a solid first half Saturday in Chapel Hill, going 8-of-12 passing for 93 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and a 159.3 passer rating.

With a strong running game (22 carries for 133 yards) at his back, Johns had Virginia right there with heavily favored North Carolina, with the game tied at 13-13 at the half.

The second half was not kind.

The first UVA drive of the third quarter ended with Johns getting picked, the first of five turnovers for the junior in what turned into a 26-13 loss.

Two Johns’ interceptions led to UNC field goals, a third in the Carolina end zone kept points off the board, and a fumble at midfield ended another promising opportunity.

Johns’ numbers for the second half tell the story: 9-of-18 passing, 55 yards, four interceptions.


Running game continues to improve UNC’s one weakness on defense is against the run, giving up 213.8 yards per game coming in, but the Heels had done well in a 50-14 win over Wake Forest last week, limiting the Demon Deacons to 113 yards on the ground on 43 rush attempts.

Virginia, ranked 14th in the ACC in rush offense coming in, had a solid game on the ground on Saturday, gaining a season-high 205 yards on 39 rushes, 5.3 yards per attempt.

Taquan Mizzell had a career day, running for 117 yards on 24 rushes, and gaining another 57 yards on six catches.

Daniel Hamm had 70 yards on seven carries.


Defense sorta held its own It’s hard to offer too much praise for a defensive unit that allows an opponent 422 yards, but it felt like a good 422 yards. UNC had come in averaging 482.2 yards of total offense and 40.5 points per game.

Carolina gained 196 yards on 38 rushes, 5.2 per rush, on Saturday, below their season averages of 218.5 yards per game and 6.2 yards per rush.

Marquise Williams had a solid, but not necessarily spectacular, day in the air, going 21-for-26 passing for 226 yards and one interception, with a 146.1 passer rating.


Big play breakdown UVA had 13 big plays (runs of eight or more yards, passes of 10 or more yards) for 221 yards. UNC had 19 big plays for 310 yards.

– Column by Chris Graham

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