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

the

NCAA. Safety Deunta Williams was

suspended for the first four games, and cornerback Kendric Burney

will see his six-game suspension expire next week.

The

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

in 2008.

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

week.”

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,

N.C.

“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

All-American.

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

college

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.”

Losses to

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.

About UNC

Losses to

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

UNC backfield.