NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (6-4)
at VIRGINIA CAVALIERS (4-6)
Kickoff: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EDT
Line: North Carolina -3.5, Total: 61.5
Red-hot Virginia tries to keep its bowl hopes alive when ACC foe North Carolina pays a visit on Thursday night.
UVa has 74 points during a current two-game SU win streak, and is 10-4 SU (11-3 ATS) in this series since 1998. But UNC has won the past two meetings, a 44-10 blowout in Charlottesville in 2010 and a 28-17 win at home last year behind 133 total yards from RB Giovani Bernard and 2 TD passes from Bryn Renner. Bernard leads the ACC with 126 rushing YPG, while Renner has thrown 20 TD and just 7 INT this year. The Tar Heels are 0-4 ATS on the road, while the Cavaliers are 0-6 ATS at home this season.
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Renner has posted back-to-back games of 350+ passing yards in leading his team to 93 points over the past two games. However, duplicating this feat against Virginia will be no easy task. The Cavaliers have held each of their past three opponents below 200 passing yards, giving up just 164 passing YPG in this span. UNC could have great success running the football with Bernard though. In his past five games, the sophomore has rushed for 795 yards (159 per game) on 7.0 YPC with 7 TD. And in last week's win over Miami, Virginia surrendered 233 yards on 33 carries (7.1 YPC). Carolina's offense has turned the football over two times in each of its past three contests, which could be a problem against a Cavaliers defense that has six takeaways over the past two contests.
Virginia QB Michael Rocco is coming off his best game of the season, completing 29-of-37 passes for 300 yards, 4 TD and 0 INT in the thrilling 41-40 win over Miami. Rocco has just 12 TD passes this year, but has not thrown an interception since September. He had a decent performance against UNC last year too, with 294 total yards and 2 TD, but also threw two interceptions in the loss. Virginia has to wake up its ground game to emerge victorious on Thursday. Although the Cavs rumbled for 248 yards two weeks ago, they have a mere 142 yards on 65 carries (2.2 YPC) in their past two home games. Leading rusher Kevin Parks was held to 70 yards on 22 carries (3.2 YPC) in these two home contests, but he found plenty of room to run against the Heels last year with 98 yards on just 14 carries (7.0 YPC). Carolina's run defense has been shaky, allowing 380 rushing yards to Georgia Tech's triple-option attack last week and surrendering 207 rushing YPG in its past two road contests.