College Football Preview: Virginia at North Carolina

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 2, 2009

Associated Press
CHAPEL HILL ó North Carolina spent the past week trying to find its lost running game and figure out why it took a step backward in last weekend’s loss at Georgia Tech.
Still, that beats what’s been going on around Al Groh’s Virginia program these days.
While the Tar Heels are trying to sort out small issues heading into today’s game, the Cavaliers are desperate for a win after a bad start that has only further energized Groh’s critics.
Groh, for his part, said the team’s issue is “just playing better” and not the outside criticism.
“There’s so much going on that all a team can really deal with is what it knows internally,” Groh said.
Regardless, there’s no denying that the Cavaliers (0-3) can use any bit of success at this point.
So now the Cavs head to Chapel Hill with plenty of motivation and at least one advantage: The Tar Heels (3-1, 0-1) will have to guess a bit on what kind of offense they’ll face in Kenan Stadium. As of now, it’s a mix of old and new.
The Tar Heels have their own problems to worry about, though theirs seem less serious. True, the young offense that had shown so much promise against East Carolina instead reminded everyone that they’re going to have their ups and downs the rest of the year. But the nationally ranked defense couldn’t carry the load for the offense and surrendered 406 total yards in the 24-7 loss to the Yellow Jackets.
North Carolina coach Butch Davis said there would be no major changes to the lineup despite the bad performance.
The loss knocked the Tar Heels out of the national rankings, but they are starting a favorable stretch of the schedule with five of the next six at home. Meanwhile, freshman receiver Erik Highsmith has consecutive 100-yard games and looks like he has filled the Tar Heels’ most glaring need for a go-to receiver.