Oct. 22, 2005
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - Ronnie McGill ran for 118 yards while Cedrick Holt had a key interception late to cap a stellar defensive effort and help North Carolina hold off No. 23 Virginia 7-5 Saturday.
Matt Baker connected with Rikki Cook for the game's only touchdown in the first quarter, which ultimately proved to be all the Tar Heels (3-3, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) would need to bounce back from a humiliating loss at Louisville two weeks ago.
After allowing 69 points in that loss, the Tar Heels held Virginia (4-3, 2-3) to just 199 total yards and allowed the Cavaliers' offense just one field goal - a surprising result for a team that upset unbeaten Florida State last week.
It was the fewest points scored by the Tar Heels in a win since beating Wake Forest 7-3 in 1971.
North Carolina bottled up mobile quarterback Marques Hagans, who threw for a career-best 306 yards and two TDs in the 26-21 win over the Seminoles, sacking him twice and keeping him in the pocket. Hagans threw for 109 yards and ran for 26 before throwing the late interception to Holt.
The Tar Heels routinely controlled the line of scrimmage on offense, opening plenty of running lanes for McGill and Barrington Edwards. The duo led the Tar Heels' season-high 172-yard effort on the ground despite getting little help from Baker and the passing game.
Baker hit Cook for a 2-yard score in the first quarter, but that was as good as it would get through the air. But considering the way that much-maligned defense was playing, it wouldn't matter.
The Cavaliers got their first score only when Warren Green snapped the ball over punter David Wooldridge's head and out of the end zone for a second-quarter safety.
Later, on a third-quarter drive, Mike Mason dropped a perfect pass from Baker as he fell into the end zone.
Virginia hung around and drove into North Carolina territory for a potential winning field goal with less than 2 minutes left.
But the Tar Heels' defense got the stop it needed, flushing Hagans from the pocket and forcing him to throw while on the run. The ball was tipped by Trimane Goddard - one of several key plays the sophomore safety was involved in - and Holt came down with it with 1:23 to play, ending Virginia's last best chance.