NCAA Football: Virginia at North Carolina

Virginia logged its first FBS win of the season in epic fashion, going into Chapel Hill and upsetting No. 10 North Carolina 31-27. Tony Elliott's team had not won a game since Oct. 20 of last season, but in knocking off the Tar Heels, it delivered one of the best wins in modern program history. Virginia's first road win vs. top-10 team in program history provided a great moment of celebration for a group that has been through trials and tribulations throughout the last year. Virginia was 0-28 all-time against top-10 opponents on the road and, prior to Saturday, had not defeated a top-10 opponent anywhere since 2005.  

In a series that lays claim to the "South's Oldest Rivalry," with 127 prior meetings going back to 1892, Virginia picked up some generational bragging rights with the dream-shattering loss for North Carolina. The Wahoos were unintimidated from the start, jumping out to a 7-0 lead and trading scores with the previously undefeated Tar Heels all the way to the end. 

Virginia even had a chance to seemingly win the game with less than five minutes remaining as running back Mike Hollins rumbled towards the goal line, but his fumble rolled out the back of the end zone for a touchback. 

Yet North Carolina could not capitalize on the opportunity. Though quarterback Drake Maye got two possessions before the end of the game, those drives ended with a turnover on downs in the red zone and an interception near midfield. Maye finished the game with 347 yards passing and two touchdowns, but it came on the back of a 50% completion rate with a couple late misses -- including the game-sealing interception. 

For coach Mack Brown and the Tar Heels, the damage done from the loss is more aesthetic than practical. North Carolina still has a shot to run the table in ACC play and finish with a 7-1 conference record. That should be good enough to contend for a spot in the ACC Championship Game. And after falling short to Clemson in Charlotte at the end of the 2022 season, getting back to that conference title game stage has been a stated goal. But if North Carolina had any dreams of crashing the College Football Playoff picture, those odds have tanked in the wake of this loss to a Virginia team that had only defeated FCS William & Mary prior to Saturday night.