The Virginia Cavaliers could've kept their hopes for a bowl bid alive with a win over the North Carolina Tar Heels on Thursday night, but a sloppy effort gave way to a 37-13 North Carolina win and the end of any hopes for postseason play for the Cavaliers.
In his postgame wrap, Brian Schwartz of SB Nation's Streaking The Lawn said there was "ample motivation" for Virginia to come out inspired, citing Senior Night, the primetime spotlight of ESPN and the fight to reach bowl eligibility as possible factors. However, a "mistake-riddled effort," as Schwartz writes, doomed the Cavaliers.
It was still close in the fourth quarter, though, when North Carolina made the biggest stop of the game. Schwartz explains:
"Despite the final score, the Hoos came within 18 inches of tying the game in the 4th quarter. Trailing 20-13, Mike Rocco drove the Hoos down the field, converting one fourth down, and bringing his team to a 4th and goal from inside the 1. The (North) Carolina defensive line blew up UVA's o-line, Kevin Parks was stuffed short of the goal line, and the Tar Heels didn't look back."
That was the "turning point" in the contest, as Schwartz said, and the Tar Heels would go on to score the game's final 17 points in the runaway win.
Despite the disappointment, Schwartz turned his attention to Virginia's season finale next week against the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Cavaliers have lost eight straight meetings against Virginia Tech, but in the midst of a down season of their own, this could be the season for change.
"I tell you this so that all could accept this fact, and now ignore it. The Hokies are currently 4-6 and cannot be bowl eligible without beating UVA. It's a new season, it's a new team, and we are bound to win one of these at some point, right? Virginia has a lot left to play for, and they must give a complete effort to win in Blacksburg."