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The lethargic, uninspired UVA offense was on display again at Louisville last weekend. They couldn't take advantage of a bad Louisville defense. Predictably, the Hoos picked up the L.

The loss to the Cards dropped UVA to 1-3 on the road for the season. After winning the season opener on the road at Pitt, the Hoos have dropped three straight contests away from Scott Stadium.

As the Hoos (5-3, 3-2) prepare for a second consecutive rivalry game (a real one this time) against the North Carolina Tarheels (4-4, 3-2), we have a bit of a good news, bad news scenario.

As always in these situations, it's best to get the bad news out of the way first.

Bad News: the UNC game is in Chapel Hill.

Good News: this is UVA's last road game of the season.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 on the ACC Network.

Game Uniform

For the first time this season, UVA will wear their all white uniform combo. In a nod to Halloween, the Hoos' uniform reveal video was a bit crazy this week.

Most college football fans do not realize the longevity of the UVA-UNC rivalry. There's likely a portion of the Wahoo fanbase that doesn't either. But it's important to note that this is UVA's longest running rivalry despite the passion that some other teams may stir.

 
Someone should get video of the 98 game on YouTube as well.

Keys To Victory

Mental Approach

UVA must take the field in Chapel Hill confident, ready to brawl, and with a chip on their shoulder. Having lost two of three with each of those losses on the road, it would be easy for this team to be a bit tentative. 

The offense has not inspired confidence lately. The defense will be missing two leaders with Bryce Hall injured and Jordan Mack suspended for the first half due to his targeting ejection against Louisville.

The Hoos can expect the Tarheels to be ready and hyped for this game. Night games always inspire the fans and players. And UNC coach Mack Brown understands this rivalry better than any Tarheel coach since Brown left UNC the first time for Texas. This will be an important game for Brown. He'll have his team fired up and prepared to win this border skirmish.

To win this game, UVA will have to match that intensity from the opening kickoff. They'll need to play with confidence on offense. Some early success here would be a huge positive. On defense, they must take it to UNC. Punch the Tarheel offense in the mouth early to get them off balance.

Maintain Coverage Discipline

UNC QB Sam Howell is really good, especially for a freshman. But even if he was a veteran, his numbers would raise an eyebrow.

Comp % Yards TD INT Total QBR
58.9 2,119 22 5 62.0

You'd like to see the completion percentage a bit higher and the same goes for the Total QBR. But there's no denying the yardage (20th in FBS), the number of TD passes (7th in FBS), and the TD to INT ratio.

Howell has also taken 26 sacks on the season. That's tied for third most in FBS with Bryce Perkins.

When I've seen Howell play this year, I've been impressed with his ability to throw on the move. Howell also impresses me with his ability to avoid the rush and scramble with the intent to throw.

This play versus Virginia Tech is a good example of that ability.

ESPN's Football Power Index has this pretty close to a tossup. It gives the Heels a 52.5% chance to win. UVA has a 47.5% chance to pick up the W.

The Hoos must avoid a shootout here to stand a chance. Does anyone really think UVA can win one of those right now?

Even if they wisely avoid the shootout, the offense still must do enough to win this game. 

I hate losing to UNC. But the offense is going to have to prove to me that they can do enough to win a game on the road before I'm a believer. The way they've played lately isn't inspiring much confidence.

27 to 14, Tarheels.

This article contains the tags:

2019, Football, North Carolina, North Carolina