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Off the cuff: Not good. For the most part the Heels dominated but poor quarterbacking by Sexton and a poor coaching decision to play the pro-style rush-3 defense on the last drive in regulation led to the demise.

I can't stand the prevent defense. The Heels put absolutely no pressure on the Virginia quarterback.

I do like having a running game but it does keep the score low (and close) against lesser teams - and yes, Virginia is a lesser team than Carolina. Run the ball, control the clock but please put up more than one touchdown.

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Cavs 16, Tar Heels 13 OT
Another painful loss in Charlottesville

North Carolina's defense stymied Virginia all day until the Cavaliers' quarterback Marc Verica couldn't be stopped in the last two minutes of regulation and in overtime, and the Tar Heels lost again in Charlottesville 16-13.

The Tar Heels, who haven't won at Virginia since 1981, led most of the way and controlled the game until the last two minutes when the Cavs drove 82 yards in nine plays to tie the game at 10-10 on a short run by Cedric Peerman with 47 seconds left.

During the drive, Verica, who looked discombobulated most of the game, completed seven of eight passes as the Heels' defense dropped back and rushed only three linemen. With no pressure, Verica completed several key passes including one for 26 yards and another for 17 yards. On third and one from the two, Peerman ran it in.

It appeared the 27-year drought for the Heels might have been over as No. 27 for UNC Deonte Williams tipped the extra point kick but it still fell over the crossbars to tie it at 10-10.

After Carolina took over at the 20, the Heels' coaching staff elected to kneel down to run out the clock in regulation.

In overtime, a pair of runs, one by Shaun Draughn, who rushed for a career-high 138 yards, got the Heels down to the UVA 15-yard line. The drive halted there as short out passes to Greg Little failed to get much yardage. Casey Barth came on to kick a 28-yard FG to make it 13-10.

When UVA got the ball, Verica connected with his tight end Phillips all the way to the 5-yard line on second and 7. On second and goal from the two, Peerman bulled up the middle for the winning touchdown.

"We had plenty of chances to win the game," UNC coach Butch Davis said. He noted that the Heels didn't take advantage of good field position on offense and they gave up too many third-and-long conversions on defense.

In the second half alone, the Heels twice gave up first downs when the Cavaliers needed 18 yards for a first down. One third and 18 completion led to a field goal attempt with the Heels up only 7-3 but UNC's Bruce Carter blocked yet another kick.

In the fourth quarter, Carolina went on a 15-play, 71-yard drive that took almost eight minutes off the clock and led to a 40-yard field goal by Barth that put the Heels up 10-3 with just 2:22 to go, setting up the late-game heroics by Verica and Peerman.

The Heels scored on their first drive of the game and seemed to be poised to blow out Virginia. Carolina went 83 yards on 10 plays over five minutes to get out to an early 7-0 lead on a Ryan Houston one-yard run.

Three times during the game the Heels were driving but turned the ball over - twice on Cam Sexton interceptions and once on a Hakeem Nicks fumble.

"I feel terrible right now," Sexton said. "I feel like I let down the University, the state of North Carolina and my teammates."

He said he wouldn't leave the football center this week until he's fully prepared to play Boston College at home next Saturday. "This is not going to happen again," he said.

The Heels fall to 5-2 and 1-2 in the ACC while Virginia moves to 4-3 and 2-1 in league play.


Season Preview: Carolina almost surely will improve
Look for Heels to have a winning record in Davis' 2nd year


© 2008 CB3media Cary, NC

Heel Prints reviewed each UNC game
As a student sports editor years ago, prior to the season, Clifton Barnes predicted a national championship for the Tar Heels and indeed they won. In fact he wrote his lede paragraph for the national championship game almost a year early. He regrets that he didn't keep a journal after each game. While he didn't predict a championship this season, he did have those same feelings. He kept a journal after each game of the 2007-2008 season and you can reach them here. He recently completed writing about UNC's baseball season and will write an analysis after each UNC football game.