Dexter Reid's 67–yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter proved to be the margin of victory as the Tar Heels (4-3, 3-1) defeated Virginia (3-3, 2-2), 30-24.
"He bobbled the ball, " said Reid, and when the hard hitting DB saw that only the quarterback had a chance to make the tackle, only one thought crossed his mind, "I can't let the quarterback tackle me."
"If there is nobody around, Dexter's going to take it all the way, he's a fast kind", said Carolina head coach John Bunting.
Reid's heroics were almost not enough. For the second straight week, the win was not assured until Carolina recovered an onside kick to seal the win. Kevin Knight recovered the kick and commented, "He was under there fighting the whistle was blown and the referee had already seen that I had the ball."
Andre Williams had the best day of his career, rushing for 147 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown. It was a William's fumble, however, that set up the Cavaliers for their final touchdown. Coach Bunting said of Williams play, "I am sure he is extremely disappointed in the last fumble, as we all are, but we obviously cannot focus on that that, he kept us in the ball game."
North Carolina led 17-10 at the end of the first half, as the Cavaliers closed the to within a touchdown on a 48-yard field goal by David Greene.
Greene connected earlier on a 41-yard attempt that was nullified by an illegal procedure penalty. His 46-yard attempt was blocked by Michael Waddell and recovered by Errol Hood.
Big plays by both teams marked the first half. Chesley Borders caught a career long 53-yard pass from Darian Durant. Andre Williams took the ball in from the seven following Borders' catch to put the Tar Heels on top 7-0 with 4:37 left in the first quarter.
The Tar Heels looked to build on that lead as Durant drove the Tar Heels down to the Virginia 26 yard line before Virginia intercepted a overthrown ball that bounced off the hands of Bosley Allen.
The Cavaliers drove 74 yards in ten plays following the turnover, fueled by the running of true freshman Alvin Pearman. Pearman totaled 51 yards rushing in the first half. Virginia tied the score at seven as Matt Schaub found Tyree Foreman for the touchdown.
On their next possession, the Tar Heels retook the lead on an 80 yard drive that featured a 66 yard pass from Ronald Curry to Sam Aiken. Aiken went high to bring the ball in over the Virginia receiver, then raced into the endzone for the touchdown. The UVa defender on the play was none other than Ronald's cousin Almondo and Ronald let the youngster hear about it.
The Tar Heels extended their lead to ten on a Jeff Reed 30 yard field goal with just over a minute left in the half. But, Virginia was not finished. Matt Schaub connected on a 38-yard pass to Billy McMullen to set up Greene's field goal.
Darian Durant played the entire second half, as Ronald Curry came up limping at halftime, (he later was diagnosed with an inflamed left Achilles tendon). Curry apparently injured the tendon on a 39 yard scramble in the first half.
Curry could have played in the second half, but Bunting thought he had stiffened up. "I said run around a little and see how it feels and let me know," said Bunting, "We made a decision and we sat him, and he helped us with that decision."