UNC and Virginia will face off in the 126th edition of the South’s Oldest Rivalry. Only Minnesota and Wisconsin’s annual battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe has been played more often (129 times) among FBS rivalries. Miami (Ohio) and Cincinnati have met 125 times.
Carolina is ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press poll this week. The Tar Heels sit at No. 19 in the Amway Coaches Poll.
North Carolina posted 607 yards of total offense in the home opener against Georgia State, the 16th highest total in program history.
Carolina has accumulated 600 or more yards of offense four times in its last 12 games.
Since Mack Brown’s return in 2019, Carolina has posted five of the top-20 single-game total yard figures in school history. That includes a record 778 yards at Miami in 2020.
Sam Howell accounted for 456 of those yards gained, the sixth most ever in a single game at UNC. He threw for 352 passing yards, his 10th career game with 300 or more yards, and rushed for 104 yards, a career high and the most by a Tar Heel QB since Marquise Williams had 101 against Miami in 2015.
WR Antoine Green set a new career high with 117 receiving yards on three receptions. He hauled in a contested 57-yard pass midway into the first quarter, the longest pass thus for
Carolina in 2021.
Sam Howell Became just the second UNC QB to ever compile 300+ passing yards and 100+ rushing yards in a game against Georgia State. The other was Marquise Williams against Notre Dame in 2014. Howell also joined Williams as the only QBs to pass for three and rush for two scores in a game (Williams vs. Baylor in 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl).
Carolina ranks second in the ACC by surrendering only 129.5 yards through the air in two games. The Tar Heels limited Georgia State to only 90 passing yards on 30 attempts.
Tomon Fox was credited with a half sack against Virginia Tech that moved him past Lawrence Taylor for sole possession of fifth place in program history with 21.5 career sacks. Fox also ranks seventh at UNC with 33.5 career tackles for loss.
Virginia has allowed zero red zone score. They are the only school in the country not to be scored on in the red zone through week two.
Linebacker Noah Taylor matched a career-high with seven tackles and two sacks against Illinois. He has six for his career and has already tied his season best with two this season.
Quarterback Brennan Armstrong has accumulated 775 yards in total offense in two games – the third most in the nation
In Armstrong’s last six games, Virginia is 5-1. In those six games, Armstrong has averaged 347 yards passing and 60.5 yards rushing. He has thrown for 18 touchdowns, run for six and thrown only four interceptions in that span.
Armstrong’s 405 yards passing against Illinois were the fourth most in a single game in UVA history. Only two other quarterbacks in UVA history have thrown for 400+ yards in a game – Kurt Benkert (twice) and Marc Verica.
Tight end Jelani Woods has 122 receiving yards against Illinois, the most by a UVA tight end since 2005 (Tom Santi).
Headlined by Olusegun Oluwatimi, Virginia returns six offensive lineman – Ryan Nelson, Bobby Haskins, Ryan Swoboda, Chris Glaser, and Joe Bissinger that have combined to start 132 games. Last season the offensive line ranked No. 1 in the ACC and No. 12 in the nation in tackles for loss allowed (4.2). It ranked No. 3 in the nation among “Power-Five” schools in most rushing yards before contact per rush attempt (.270), trailing just Ohio State and Notre Dame.
On the other side of the ball, the Cavaliers return five starters that have played in 20 or more college football games – Adeeb Atariwa, Mandy Alonso, De’Vante Cross, Nick Grant and Joey Blount. Atariwa leads all defensive returners with 30 and right behind him is fellow defensive end, Mandy Alonso with 29. Both De’Vante Cross and Nick Grant have started 26-straight games, the longest active streak on the defensive side of the ball.
UNC vs UVA
UNC is 32-15-3 all-time at home against Virginia. The Cavaliers have won the last two meeting at Kenan Stadium in 2017, 20-14, and in 2019, 38-31.
UVA trails the all-time series with North Carolina, 63-58-4.
The Tar Heels have lost four in a row to the Cavaliers, the longest such streak since dropping four in a row as well from 2006-09.
Carolina’s last win in the series came in Charlottesville in 2016. Mitch Trubisky threw three touchdown passes and No. 22 North Carolina came away with a 35-14 victory.
Last year in Charlottesville on Halloween night, Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, and Virginia scored 28 consecutive points before holding on to beat No. 15 North Carolina 44-41.
Sam Howell is 38 of 57 for 796 yards and eight passing touchdowns in two career games against the Cavaliers.
Mack Brown is 3-9 all-time against Virginia. All 12 meetings have come as the UNC head coach.
How to Follow
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Television: ACCN: Dave O’Brien, play-by-play; Tim Hasselbeck, analyst; Kelsey Riggs, sideline
Live Stream: WatchESPN
WestWood One Radio: Bill Roth, play-by-play; Ben Leber, analyst
Tar Heel Sports Network: Jones Angell, play-by-play; Lee Pace, analyst; Dave Nathan, sideline
Satellite Radio: Sirius (84), XM (84)