North Carolina at Virginia

Trubisky leads No. 22 North Carolina past Virginia 35-14

By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
  •  

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) The last time Mitch Trubisky threw a pass in Virginia's Scott Stadium, two years ago, it was his only play of the game and he hit T.J. Thorpe with less than a minute to play to give North Carolina a victory.

He needed no such dramatics Saturday, throwing three touchdown passes as the No. 22 Tar Heels rode his accurate arm and a strong performance by their defense to a 35-14 victory, their seventh in a row in the series and ninth consecutive in true road games.

''The defense played lights out,'' Trubisky said after throwing for 310 yards. ''They played a really great game. The second half we had a little bit better tempo and we were moving them. We converted some more third downs and we got some more rhythm.''

Trubisky hit Bug Howard for 40 yards on a trick play, Thomas Jackson for 10 yards and Austin Proehl for 46 yards for touchdowns for the Tar Heels (6-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), and the trick play had everyone smiling at how well it worked. On the play, North Carolina set up in a wildcat formation, handed the ball off to wide receiver Ryan Switzer and he pitched it to Trubisky, who just had to make the throw.

''I've been waiting for them to call it,'' he said of the play, which has been in the game plan for a few weeks.

The Cavaliers (2-5, 1-2) got their first touchdown on a trick play, too. They lined up for a field goal, had the entire offensive line split out far to the left, and snapper Evan Butts threw the snap 30 yards to his left to Matt Johns, the holder now acting as the quarterback.

Johns quickly hit Butts for an 11-yard touchdown strike, but Virginia didn't score again until just 9:01 remained.

The Tar Heels led 14-7 at halftime and limited Virginia to 39 yards in the third quarter while opening a 28-7 lead.

''That's when we felt like we got control of the game,'' Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora said. ''We hated giving up that 13-play drive (for Virginia's second touchdown), because at that point, we felt like if we could put the ball in the end zone again, then we could put it away.''

Elijah Hood ran for 107 yards and a 4-yard touchdown, and T.J. Logan scored on a 4-yard run for UNC.

Virginia has lost two in a row, making the upbeat feeling of a two-game winning streak before that seem a distant memory.

Coach Bronco Mendenhall lifted quarterback Kurt Benkert in the fourth quarter, using backup Conner Brewer.

''I felt it was necessary with the pressure that was going on Benkert, starting from the second half of the Pitt game through this game, it was wise just to have his step back and have him see it from a different perspective and take a breath and regroup,'' Mendenhall said.

THE TAKEAWAY

North Carolina: The Tar Heels moved back ahead of Virginia Tech in the Coastal Division race by virtue of having one more victory. The Hokies (3-1 in division), however, beat UNC three weeks ago, so they hold the tiebreaker, but either Virginia Tech or Pittsburgh (2-1 in division play) will fall off the pace in the loss column when they meet Thursday night at Heinz Field. The Tar Heels beat the Panthers 37-36 earlier this month on Trubisky's TD pass with 0:02 remaining.

Virginia: Virginia has now struggled to much offensively for three consecutive halves, including the second half against Pitt last week. The coaches also called several running plays on third-and-medium plays, curious because the Cavaliers could already be playing in nothing-to-lose mode if a bowl game remains their goal. They now need to win four of their last five to make their first bowl game since 2011.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

If things go according to chalk, the Tar Heels should be favored in every game they have left and climb in the Top 25 .

They still have to face Georgia Tech at home, play at Duke, host The Citadel and finish at North Carolina State.

UP NEXT

North Carolina returns home to face struggling Georgia Tech, which has lost the last two games in the series.

Virginia wraps up a three-game homestand at home against No. 7 Louisville and Heisman Trophy contender Lamar Jackson.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre

Related Video

 
Scoreboard
North Carolina #22  (6-2) «7714735
Virginia  (2-5)070714
Players of the Game
Tar Heels

M. Trubisky
Att 31
Comp 24
Yds 310
TD 3
Cavaliers

T. Mizzell
Rush 19
Yds 106
Avg 5.6
TD 1
Scoring Summary
UNCElijah Hood 4 yard TD run (Nick Weiler Extra Point)
UVAEvan Butts 11 yard TD pass from Matt Johns (Sam Hayward Extra Point)
UNCBug Howard 40 yard TD pass from Mitch Trubisky (Nick Weiler Extra Point)
UNCThomas Jackson 10 yard TD pass from Mitch Trubisky (Nick Weiler Extra Point)
UNCT.J. Logan 4 yard TD run (Nick Weiler Extra Point)
UVATaquan Mizzell 1 yard TD run (Sam Hayward Extra Point)
UNCAustin Proehl 46 yard TD pass from Mitch Trubisky (Nick Weiler Extra Point)
 
Team Stats
 UNCUVA
First Downs2519
Third Down Efficiency5-123-19
Fourth Down Efficiency0-03-3
Plays-Net Yards67-48884-253
Rushes-Yds36-17839-110
Passing Yds310143
Kick Return Yds53103
Punt Return Yds50
Passes24-31-022-45-0
Punts7-26210-456
Fumbles-Lost2-21-1
Penalties-Yds7-609-82
Time of Poss.27:1832:42
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
UNC: Elijah Hood 16-107, T.J. Logan 10-61, Jordon Brown 5-9, Khris Francis 1-1, Mitch Trubisky 4-0
UVA: Taquan Mizzell 19-106, Albert Reid 10-20, Olamide Zaccheaus 1-5, Joe Reed 1-3, Jordan Ellis 1--2, Kurt Benkert 4--4, Connor Brewer 2--15
PASSING
UNC: Mitch Trubisky 24-31-310-0
UVA: Kurt Benkert 19-32-126-0, Connor Brewer 2-12-6-0, Matt Johns 1-1-11-0
RECEIVING
UNC: Ryan Switzer 8-72, Bug Howard 7-109, Austin Proehl 3-76, Elijah Hood 2-4, Jordan Cunningham 1-22, Carl Tucker 1-12, Thomas Jackson 1-10, Josh Cabrera 1-5
UVA: Taquan Mizzell 7-25, Keeon Johnson 3-18, Andre Levrone 2-22, Ryan Santoro 2-18, Olamide Zaccheaus 2-16, Evan Butts 2-14, Brendan Marshall 2-8, Hasise Dubois 1-11, Albert Reid 1-11
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
North Carolina2nd Atlantic Coast Coastal5-38-5
Virginia6th Atlantic Coast Coastal1-72-10

CBSSports Shop

 
Top 25 Games
BYU 27 Final
BSU 28
NCST 13 Final
LOU 54
WISC 17 Final
IOWA 9
ILL 8 Final
MICH 41
MEMP 28 Final
NAVY 42
TCU 10 Final
WVU 34
TAMU 14 Final
BAMA 33
PUR 14 Final
NEB 27
EMU 31 Final
WMU 45
UTAH 52 Final
UCLA 45
ARK 3 Final
AUB 56
ORST 17 Final
WASH 41
HOU 16 Final
SMU 38
OHST 21 Final
PSU 24
OKLA 66 Final
TTU 59
MISS 21 Final
LSU 38