It’s about time Carolina won another football game.
The Tar Heels’ injury woes and other problems aside, sooner or later hard work at practice, putting some plays together and a little luck are going to get them into the victory column. I think that will happen Saturday against Virginia.
Clearly, this is a team that is short on depth, maturity and overall talent. But there are better football players than have shown up in recent weeks against Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. The injury list for Saturday has grown to 19, which means the guys who are still playing are getting experience and game pressure under their collective belt.
Time to demonstrate that against a good team, but not a top 20 team. The Cavaliers are 4-1 and tied for first at 1-0 in the ACC Coastal Division, but their schedule has been favorable. They have not beaten a ranked opponent and their best wins are at Boise State and Duke at home. Their only loss is to Indiana which has not won another Power 5 game. Meanwhile, Virginia has also defeated William & Mary and UConn. The Hoos’ schedule is seriously back loaded with Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami and VaTech the last four weeks.
It’s a match-up of two up-tempo offenses. UVa has made more big plays down field, with Kurt Benkert hitting 6-3 wide receiver Andre Levrone for an average of 25 yards per reception. Without top tackler Donnie Miles, it will be a challenge for M.J. Stewart and the other Myles, Dorn and Wolfork, but this is maybe their last chance win an ACC game.
Carolina’s conference schedule is also brutal down the stretch, with road trips to Virginia Tech, Pitt and N.C. State and the homecoming game against undefeated and 11th-ranked Miami. Wins over Virginia and Western Carolina on November 18 would allow Carolina to avoid the dreaded 10 losses, which can stigmatize a program in the off-season heading into national signing date in February.
This is the Tar Heels’ chance to put a W on their record and continue giving players who never thought they would be in the game this season the experience to help them in 2018 and beyond. Timing and the law of averages are on their side.