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, yesterday in Chapel Hill, N.C.
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) 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.
''We just had to forget about it, just forget the game ever happened and move on," safety Trimane Goddard said of the loss to Louisville. ''Just go back and show people the real defense that we have."
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.
Florida State 55, Duke 24 -- Drew Weatherford threw two touchdown passes and backup Xavier Lee added two of his own to help the No. 11 Seminoles bounce back from their first loss with a rout of the host Blue Devils.
Greg Carr caught three of the TDs and third-string tailback Antone Smith ran for two scores for the Seminoles (6-1, 3-1), who still struggled to generate a running game against the outmanned Blue Devils (1-7, 0-5). Smith was the leading rusher with 76 yards, and 45 of those came on a spectacular run early in the fourth quarter with the outcome no longer in doubt. On fourth-and-2, Smith broke five tackles near the line of scrimmage -- including a couple deep in his own backfield -- then dove through another at the goal line.
Weatherford and Lee more than made up for the lack of success on the ground. Combined, they were 34 for 49 for 376 yards against the fourth-best pass defense in the ACC to help Florida State improve to 14-0 in the series.
However, this game was much more competitive than any of the others, even though the Seminoles scored at least 45 points for the fifth consecutive trip to Wallace Wade Stadium. Duke amassed 195 yards rushing and was within 24-14 midway through the third quarter following Justin Boyle's 1-yard touchdown plunge.
Wake Forest 27, N.C. St. 19 -- Josh Gattis and Alphonso Smith returned interceptions for touchdowns to lead the host Demon Deacons over the
In the last two weeks, the Wake Forest defense has forced eight turnovers, three of them for scores. The turnovers yesterday helped the Demon Deacons (3-5, 2-3) snap a two-game losing streak. N.C. State (2-4, 1-4) dropped into last place in the Atlantic Division, losing for the fifth time in six games in Winston-Salem.
Marcus Stone replaced Jay Davis in the second quarter and threw a pair of touchdown passes as N.C. State scored on three straight possessions over the second and third quarters. But Stone also threw the interception that Smith returned 23 yards for a touchdown with 2:36 left in the third quarter.
Chris Barclay ran 36 times for 117 yards for the Demon Deacons.
Clemson 37, Temple 7 -- Charlie Whitehurst threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns, and Reggie Merriweather ran for 108 yards and another score to lead the host Tigers past the winless Owls in a nonconference game.
Clemson (4-3) gained 514 total yards, its biggest output since racking up 542 yards in a 63-17 win over South Carolina in 2003.
The Tigers nearly had their first shutout since 2000, but Mike McGann's 4-yard touchdown pass to DeMerio Hamilton with 6:08 left put the Owls (0-8) on the board.