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Heel Tough Blog: Week 10 Trench Report - Virginia

Carolina improved to 8-1 on Saturday as they won for the first time in Charlottesville under Mack Brown, 31-28, as Carolina overcame another uninspiring defensive performance, while Drake Maye continued his stellar play. In the process, Carolina came one step closer to its first ACC Coastal title since 2015, where they’ll meet Clemson, just like they did in 2015. Drake Maye totaled over 300 yards of total offense, and further strengthened his argument as a contender for the Heisman Trophy, as other contenders struggled over the weekend. While Carolina did win on Saturday, it was an incomplete performance, especially for one trench unit.

Offensive Line:

The Tar Heel offense had an “off day” and still managed to score 31 points and rack up over 450 yards of total offense. Drake Maye was 26-37 for 293 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 74 rushing yards on 16 carries and another score. Virginia’s defensive line did manage four sacks of Maye, but Carolina’s offensive line held it together. After practically abandoning the run game against Pitt, Phil Longo worked into his gameplan, featuring Elijah Green, who was the only other Tar Heel outside of Drake Maye to rush the football. Green rushed for 91 yards, on 22 carries, with one rushing score. For the game, Carolina rushed for 162 yards, on 40 carries, which averages out to 4.1 yards per carry. Here’s how members of the offensive line graded out on Saturday:

Player Grades:

  • Corey Gaynor: Offensive Grade (60.9) Run Block (60.0) Pass Block (75.4)

  • Spencer Rolland: Offensive Grade (77.5) Run Block (75.9) Pass Block (73.8)

  • William Barnes: Offensive Grade (69.6) Run Block (69.5) Pass Block (71.4)

  • Ed Montilus: Offensive Grade (63.0) Run Block (62.6) Pass Block (60.6)

  • Asim Richards: Offensive Grade (52.6) Run Block (52.6) Pass Block (48.8)

Defensive Grade:

Carolina’s offensive line may have turned in an uneven performance, but the Tar Heels' defensive line really struggled on Saturday. They were tasked with finding suitable replacements for Noah Taylor and Des Evans, as both of their seasons came to an end last week against Pittsburgh. Without them, they managed little to no pass rush at all and got blown off the line of scrimmage in the run game, as the Cavaliers rushed for 186 yards on 39 carries. For the game, UNC registered one sack of Brennan Armstong and only tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Carolina became the first Power 5 opponent that UVA scored more than 20 points against, and at times had their way with Gene Chizik’s unit. Simply put, that’s not championship football, and it’s a big reason why the team isn’t getting the respect nationally. At this point, it’s unfair to think that this defense is going to improve, as the defensive line continues to underwhelm.

Player Grades:

  • Kaimon Rucker: Defensive Grade (64.0) Run Defense (51.6) Tackling (76.3) Pass Rush (70.8) Coverage (62.3)

  • Jahvaree Ritzie: Defensive Grade (54.3) Run Defense (50.7) Tackling (73.4) Pass Rush (66.8)

  • Myles Murphy: Defensive Grade (50.4) Run Defense (50.2) Pass Rush (54.8)

  • Kevin Hester Jr: Defensive Grade (43.2) Run Defense (39.0) Tackling (73.8) Pass Rush (54.9) Coverage (60.0)


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