Next up: vs. Virginia (5-3, 3-2) | Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (ACC Network)

Wrapping up the weekend

What a game, what a night.

The Tar Heels overcame a second-half deficit yet again, and with the game on the line, Noah Ruggles earned redemption after his struggles at Virginia Tech and Chazz Surratt, whose story adds another chapter every week, finished it off with the play of the season. 

Suddenly, Carolina finds itself in a tie for first place in the Coastal Division. If the Tar Heels win out and the Hokies lose a game, they'll find themselves in the ACC Championship Game.

Takeaways

  • After Javonte Williams fumbled inside the 5-yard line, the ending looked to be headed toward an exact replay of last season's loss to Virginia Tech. Instead, the Tar Heels showed their mettle and dug in for a stop. That confidence will be huge moving forward.
  • The Carolina defense might have played its best game, limiting Duke to a season-best 100 yards rushing while holding the Blue Devils to 229 yards passing with two interceptions and 5.3 yards per attempt.
  • Sam Howell didn't play to his recent standard, but he got the job done, completing 10 of 26 attempts for 227 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He's now up to 2,119 yards on the season with 22 touchdowns and five interceptions. 
  • With Antonio Williams finally healthy, Carolina got contributions from all three running backs, led by Javonte Williams' 111 yards — his third 100-yard performance of the season. The 205 total rushing yards are third behind the Georgia Tech (211) and South Carolina (238) games this season.
  • Beau Corrales had a touchdown catch for the fourth straight game while Dazz Newsome has a three-game streak with a total of four touchdowns. Newsome leads Carolina with 42 catches for 582 yards and six touchdowns.
  • With 73 wins at Carolina, Mack Brown as the program's all-time leader in victories, as he should be.
  • What's left to say about Chazz Surratt? In his first season as a linebacker, the former starting quarterback ranks 25th nationally with 75 tackles.

About the Cavaliers

  • Once 4-0, Virginia has dropped three of its past four, including a surprising loss at Louisville on Saturday. The Cavs are a bit hard to figure out at the moment, losing 17-9 at Miami then destroying Duke 48-14.
  • The Hoos have been different teams on the road and at home. In Charlottesville, Virginia is 4-0 while averaging 39.8 points. On the road, they're 1-3 and scoring an average of 20 points.
  • All-American cornerback Bryce Hall was lost for the remainder of the season during the Miami game with an ankle injury. 
  • They rank 11th nationally in total defense, allowing an average of 281 yards and 27th in scoring defense at 20.8 points.
  • The offense has struggled, ranking 111th nationally at an average of 345 yards. They've had a particularly hard time running the ball, averaging 105.5 yards, ranking 123rd.
  • The Hoos get after opposing quarterbacks, ranking fourth nationally with 32 sacks, averaging four a game. Six players have at least three and linebacker Jordan Mack leads the way with seven.
  • Turnovers have been an issue, with 16 on the season — 10 of which are interceptions — and only getting six back.

In the Footprint

  • Carolina needed two things to happen to get back in the race, and since the Coastal Division only exists for fun, both of those things happened as Miami won at Pitt and Louisville topped Virginia. Given the way things have gone, only Georgia Tech is truly out of it at 1-3.
  • The Clemson Death Star is fully operational as the Tigers delivered a 59-7 beatdown of Boston College. For everything that was made of them not dominating, they've won their past three games with a combined score of 149-31.  The Tigers rank sixth nationally, having allowed 91 points this season.
  • After throwing eight touchdown passes and five interceptions in Clemson's first five games, Trevor Lawrence has nine touchdown passes and one interception in the past three games.
  • Maybe everything is going to be fine for Florida State? It's certainly not the standard the Seminoles have set over the years, but they'll likely be favored to win the next three games and should be 7-4 when they head to Gainesville to meet Florida.

This week's schedule

Saturday
N.C. State (4-3, 1-2) at No. 23 Wake Forest (6-1, 2-1), 12 p.m. (ESPN)
Boston College (4-4, 2-3) at Syracuse (3-5, 0-4), 12 p.m. (ACC Network)
Virginia Tech (5-2) at No. 16 Notre Dame (5-2), 2:30 p.m. (NBC)
Miami (4-4, 2-3) at Florida State (4-4, 3-3), 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
Wofford (5-2) at No. 4 Clemson (8-0), 4 p.m. (ACC Network)
Pitt (5-3, 2-2) at Georgia Tech (2-5, 1-3), 4 p.m. (ACC Network Extra)

Around the nation

Thursday
Georgia Southern at No. 20 Appalachian State, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)

Saturday
No. 8 Georgia vs. No. 6 Florida, 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
No. 17 Cincinnati at East Carolina, 7 p.m. (CBS Sports)
No. 15 SMU at No. 24 Memphis, 7:30 p.m. (ABC)
No. 7 Oregon at USC, 8 p.m. (FOX)