Forget scandal;what about that streak?
By Doug Doughty
The Roanoke Times
On the subject of the
University of North Carolina
football controversy, Virginia
quarterback Marc Verica is like a lot of people.
“I don’t think I’ve followed it as closely as some people might
have,” said Verica of the suspensions that have wracked Carolina’s
roster. “Really, the extent to my awareness of it is whatever reads
across the ticker on ESPN.
“I’m not exactly sure who’s playing and who’s not (or) how many
weeks this guy is going to be out. I have too much (else) on my
plate that I need to focus on .”
By Friday, Virginia had learned that running back Ryan Houston
was cleared for today’s 6 p.m. kickoff at Scott Stadium. Houston
was the leading rusher on a UNC team that was 8-5 in 2009.
Earlier in the week, Carolina had announced the dismissal of
defensive tackle Marvin Austin and confirmed defensive end Robert
Quinn and wide receiver Greg Little had been ruled ineligible by
NCAA. Safety Deunta Williams was
suspended for the first four games, and cornerback Kendric Burney
will see his six-game suspension expire next week.
NCAA has been investigating the
program for improper benefits and academic fraud, but the Tar Heels
(1-0 ACC, 3-2 overall) are persevering. They go to Charlottesville
with a three-game winning streak while Virginia (0-1, 2-3) is
looking to stop a two-game skid.
U.Va. coach Mike London said he’s been impressed by how UNC has
held up under the manpower losses.
“When you have people that are attacking your
football family, sometimes you just
circle up and say, ‘Listen we are the only ones that care about
you, the ones that are inside the room, inside the family,’ ” he
said. “Butch has done a nice job of rallying his troops.”
The Cavaliers enter the game as 6?-point underdogs against a
Carolina team that hasn’t won at Scott Stadium since 1981.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t familiar with (the streak); I
get asked about it all the time,” said Verica, who quarterbacked
the Cavaliers to a 16-13 overtime victory over then-No. 18 Carolina
A touchdown run by Cedric Peerman tied the score with 47 seconds
remaining in regulation, and an overtime TD run by Peerman sent
U.Va. students storming onto the field.
“I definitely have good memories of that game,” Verica said. “It
was one we won in pretty dramatic fashion. At the same time, you
have to understand that game truly has no bearing or effect on this
Virginia’s streak over Carolina in Charlottesville has reached
14 games, including four times when the Tar Heels were ranked and
multiple times when UNC was favored. Since 2002, U.Va. has won 7 of
8 against the Tar Heels, including three times in Chapel Hill,
“I’m not privileged to the entire history,” said UNC coach Butch
Davis, who is 0-3 against Virginia since coming to Carolina . “Some
years, you don’t win because you don’t have enough talent. Some
years, you don’t win because you make mistakes or whatever.”
Even with the departures, Carolina doesn’t lack for talent. When
2009 sack leader Quinn was unable to play, the Tar Heels replaced
him with 6-foot-4, 235-pound Donte Paige-Moss, a former Parade
While Carolina certainly has an advantage in four- and five-star
recruits, Virginia will be unveiling a Parade All-American of its
own today, when 6- 6, 350-pound freshman Morgan Moses makes his
first start. An injury to left tackle Landon Bradley caused a
reshuffling of the offensive line, with right tackle Oday Aboushi
moving to the left side and Moses taking Aboushi’s old spot .
The Cavaliers have been plagued by poor starts but for an entire
month. Their total offense in the first quarter of Games 1-5: 132,
57, 44, 17 and 32 yards.
“It’s not like we’re coming out there without a sense of urgency
and we’re not ready to play a
football game,” Verica said. “It’s a
matter of execution. When you come out in the first quarter and
you’re just going three-and-out … it puts you in a hole.”
NCAA or school-issued suspensions
have dominated the storyline for the Tar Heels, but they’ve managed
to hold things together well enough. They’ve won three straight
since opening with losses to LSU and Georgia Tech. Johnny White is
a threat as a runner (81.4 ypg) and receiver (18 catches) out of
the UNC backfield.
NCAA or UNC-issued suspensions have
dominated the storyline for the Tar Heels, but they’ve managed to
hold things together well enough. They’ve won three straight since
opening with losses to LSU and Georgia Tech. Johnny White is a
threat as a runner (81.4 ypg) and receiver (18 catches) out of the