North Carolina will open its ACC season Saturday with a visit from Virginia and will try to avoid its usual stumbling start in conference play. UNC has lost its last 10 ACC openers — four to Georgia Tech, two each to Virginia and Virginia Tech and one each to Maryland and Florida State.
Heels hope to end run
The Winston-Salem Journal
Interim coach Everett Withers began his news conference on Monday by listing North Carolina's accomplishments — the Tar Heels are third in the country in rushing defense (30 yards per game), seventh in sacks (nine for 44 yards) and are one of only five teams to have not allowed a sack in two games.
But UNC (2-0) is at the bottom of an important category, as well — out of the 120 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision, only Notre Dame (0-2) has a worse turnover margin. The Tar Heels have given the ball away six times, while not forcing a turnover in response.
Tar Heels look to improve turnover margin
The Durham Herald-Sun
UNC hasn't started 1-0 in ACC play since 2000, when a Carl Torbush-coached team defeated Wake Forest, 35-14, in its second game. Since then, the Tar Heels have opened league play four times by losing to Georgia Tech, dropping two games against Virginia Tech, one each against Maryland and Florida State, and two against Saturday's opponent, Virginia.
That bit of history is lost, however, on most of the current Tar Heels.
UNC looking to win first ACC opener since 2000
The Fayetteville Observer
Prior to Saturday's game against visiting Rutgers, there was talk of a bet among North Carolina's defensive backs about who would get the season's first interception that day.
Given North Carolina's recent history, such discussions aren't particularly presumptuous.
Tar Heels aim for takeaways on defense
The Burlington Times-News
North Carolina safety Matt Merletti has been getting plenty of good-natured grief from his teammates since bobbling a sure interception in the first quarter of Saturday's win against Rutgers.
But not as much as he's been giving himself.
Tar Heels defense lacking turnovers, big plays early
The Charlotte Observer
The Virginia football team will be welcomed into ACC play Saturday against a North Carolina defense that features a physically imposing front line that brings down opposing quarterbacks prodigiously.
North Carolina's defensive front seven to pose significant challenge for Cavs' vaunted offensive line
The Washington Post
Now, U.Va. must carry its early momentum into the Atlantic Coast Conference slate, which begins Saturday with a game at North Carolina (2-0). Since U.Va.'s first bowl season in '84, it has only missed going to a bowl twice after starting a season 2-0 (no bowl games in '85 or '92 seasons).
With winnable home games left against Southern Mississippi, Idaho and Duke, a victory against UNC could go a long way toward helping U.Va. reach the six wins necessary for bowl eligibility.
U.Va. tries to feed off early momentum
The Daily Progress