No. 21 Tar Heels host Cavaliers in key ACC division matchup

Virginia (2-0, 0-0 ACC) at No. 21 North Carolina (1-1, 0-1), Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EDT (ACC Network)

Line: UNC by 8 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: The schools disagree. UNC says it leads 64-57-4. Virginia says UNC leads 63-58-4.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

North Carolina began the season as the league’s Coastal Division favorite, only to lose its opener at Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels likely can’t afford a second division loss in the opening month of the season if they want to remain a factor in the division race. Virginia is looking for a fifth straight win in the long-running series.

KEY MATCHUP

UNC’s offensive line against Virginia’s defensive front. The Tar Heels returned their entire offensive line from last year, but that unit hasn’t clicked yet. They were without center Brian Anderson for all but a handful of snaps at Virginia Tech, which sacked quarterback Sam Howell six times. Offensive coordinator Phil Longo pointed to some communication issues in the first game, then the Tar Heels didn’t have left guard Joshua Ezeudu against Georgia State. The Cavaliers are allowing 105 yards rushing through two games with five sacks.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Virginia: QB Brennan Armstrong. The junior accounted for four touchdowns in last year’s home win against the Tar Heels. He’s thrown for seven touchdowns against one interception in wins against William & Mary and Illinois.

UNC: WR Antoine Green. Coach Mack Brown had praised the senior coming into the season. He was quiet against Virginia Tech, but had three catches for 117 yards and a touchdown in last weekend’s win. The Tar Heels need Green or another receiver to emerge to complement rising talent Josh Downs.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Tar Heels haven’t beaten the Cavaliers since a 35-14 win in October 2016 under former coach Larry Fedora. … Virginia is 8-22 on the road under sixth-year coach Bronco Mendenhall. The last road win came at UNC in October 2019. … The Cavaliers are seeking their first road win against a ranked opponent since 2011. … Downs has 16 catches for 196 yards and two touchdowns in two games for the Tar Heels. … The Cavaliers have yet to allow a red-zone score this season. … The neighboring-state teams have met every year since 1919. … Virginia said the difference in how the schools count the series record is tied to a 1956 game forfeited by UNC for using an ineligible player. Both schools count that year’s game as a win.

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