UVA defeats North Carolina, 38-31, has ACC Coastal fate in its hands
The win puts Virginia (6-3, 4-2 ACC) in the driver’s seat in the ACC Coastal race, but it took a lot of heavy lifting.
North Carolina (4-5, 3-3 ACC) led 17-10 late in the first half, before Perkins led UVA on a 13-play, 78-yard drive culminating in a 6-yard TD pass to Hasise Dubois with 13 seconds to go before halftime that sent the game to the break knotted at 17.
Perkins then broke a 65-yard scramble to paydirt on Virginia’s opening drive of the second half to put the Cavaliers on top, and then after a defensive stop, a Perkins-to-Tanner Cowley 9-yard TD pass extended the lead to 31-17 with 7:32 to go in the third.
UNC got back into it quickly, with Sam Howell connecting with Antoine Green on a 50-yard scoring strike to get to 31-24.
Virginia answered back with a Grant Misch 6-yard TD catch that put the ‘Hoos back up 38-24 with 2:30 left in the third.
The back-and-forth would continue with Howell finding Dyami Brown on a 42-yard pass play for a TD that got it back to 38-31 entering the fourth quarter.
Virginia drove inside the UNC 30 on its next possession before its drive stalled, and UNC took over at its own 6.
Howell led the Tar Heels on a lengthy march – 14 plays, all the way to the UVA 6.
But the ‘Hoos held from there, forcing a pair of incompletions to get the turnover on downs with five minutes left.
The Virginia offense was able to get a pair of first downs to flip field and run clock, and force Carolina to use all three of its second-half timeouts, before punting the ball back with 1:53 to go.
The Heels were able to get a first down into Virginia territory, but the drive stalled at the UVA 43, with Howell failing to connect with Brown on a fourth-down pass with 53 seconds left.
Perkins was 30-for-39 passing for 378 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 112 yards on 24 totes, and added two more scores on the ground.
Terrell Jana had a career-high 13 catches on 16 targets for 146 yards receiving. Dubois had 97 yards on six catches (on eight targets).
Howell was 15-for-29 passing for 353 yards and four TDs, but completed just three of his 11 attempts in the fourth quarter, including missing on seven of his last eight attempts.
Story by Chris Graham