In sports, there are games fans would rather forget and there are games that are just forgettable. Carolina’s visit to Charlottesville to take on the University of Virginia and UVA’s video-game-like quarterback Bryce Perkins was the latter. Carolina didn’t look very good Saturday in Charlottesville. Then again, they didn’t look very bad either.
They didn’t move the ball but they didn’t turn it over much. They allowed yards but not too many. They converted third downs sometimes. They weren’t surprisingly good nor were they offensively bad, neither flat nor inspired.
Perhaps it was due to the heartstopping endings of the previous two weeks, but that the Hoos simply came out and beat the Heels by playing better football gave us a game that was neither good nor bad, frustrating nor exultant. It just kind of was.
Though they played well early, at one point coming within three points of UVA after a Carl Tucker touchdown, Carolina’s offense was shut down during a dismal run of six possessions that yielded five punts and a fumble.
If there was one positive takeaway from Saturday’s game, it was that for the second straight week, junior quarterback Nathan Elliott looked poised and comfortable in the position, as he completed 22 of 38 throws for 271 yards and two touchdowns. Though he’s still too reliant on short passes, crossing routes, and his receivers settling in space, he is taking more shots downfield, finding the accuracy that has eluded him to this point. His game is moving in the right direction.
And though Elliott took care of the ball in the air, once again throwing an interception-less game, he did cough up a crucial fumble late in the third quarter that seemed to deflate any momentum the Heels had built toward a comeback.
For those fans with blinders on, hoping maybe for some kind of miracle run at bowl eligibility, Saturday’s loss put that unlikely scenario all but on ice. Carolina has to win five more games to become bowl eligible, which is a stretch considering they only have four left on the schedule. Of course, there is still the option of rescheduling their hurricane-canceled meeting with UCF. Which would mean that Carolina would have to win their remaining games against Georgia Tech (whose triple-option attack has been one of the stories of the season), Duke (which has flirted with the Top 25 all year), Western Carolina (which might become Carolina’s second and final win of the season) and State (which has one of the nation’s best quarterbacks), then beat a UCF team that many argue have a legitimate argument for a College Football Playoff berth.
So I guess technically there is still hope for this season.
The Score: UNC 21–UVA 31
The Hero: Eh
The Highlight: Meh
The Stat: Bleh
The Goat: Whatever
The Record: 1–6