"I recognize these losses have been tough on the players -- they've been tough on the coaches," said Bunting. "But you've got to move on. ... I focus on the opportunity we have Thursday night."
The only other time Carolina was on ESPN's Thursday night special during this millennium ended in a 28-21 loss at Georgia Tech during the 2001 campaign.
Other factors working against the Tar Heels include a 12-game losing streak in Charlottesville dating back to 1981.
"I don't look back on things ... I look forward," Bunting said. "This is a different team. This is a different time. And it's a different opportunity, and the opportunity is great. So my thinking about all that is, let's go up there and have fun on Thursday night football."
This, the 111th meeting between the two schools, is the oldest rivalry in the ACC and the fifth-most played series in NCAA history.
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"Our whole mentality is to prepare for their best game of the season," said Virginia head coach Al Groth about facing the Tar Heels. "While we perhaps played our best game of the season last week (a 28-26 home loss to Maryland), in the end result it wasn't good enough."
In last year's match-up in Chapel Hill, tailback Ronnie McGill ran for 118 yards, and Cedrick Holt made a key interception late in a defensive struggle the Tar Heels ultimately won over then-23rd ranked UVa, 7-5.
Carolina had just returned home after giving up 69 points at Louisville.
McGill is currently ranked 12th all-time at UNC with 1,938 rushing yards. He's tied for eighth with 22 rushing touchdowns.
Although he's yet to rush for 100 yards in a game this season, and his goal of being the first Carolina back to reach 1,000 yards in a season since 1997 appears out of reach, McGill and teammate Barrington Edwards could find the going easier against the Cavs' rushing defense ranked 55th in the nation.
"It's because of a lack of consistency that we haven't run the ball as effectively as I'd like to," Bunting said.
"This is the beginning of the second half of the season for us," Bunting said. "Yeah, we've limped some with a few injuries - you've got to put that behind you. Let's go on."