Mike Hollins and Malik Washington help Virginia stun No. 10 North Carolina 31-27

Sunday, October 22, 2023
UNC Coach Mack Brown speaks after 31-27 loss to Virginia
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UNC Coach Mack Brown speaks after 31-27 loss to Virginia

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Mike Hollins ran for three touchdowns and Malik Washington had the go-ahead scoring catch in the fourth quarter to help Virginia upset No. 10 North Carolina 31-27 on Saturday night, shaking up the Atlantic Coast Conference race with its first road win against a top-10 opponent.

James Jackson had the clinching interception with 26 seconds left, picking off UNC star quarterback Drake Maye as Maye was hit by Paul Akere with the Tar Heels (6-1, 3-1) reaching midfield on a drive for a winning score.

Instead, Virginia players started spilling onto the field to celebrate, while Jackson ran all the way down the field to the end zone in his own jubilation.

Washington pushed the Cavaliers (2-5, 1-2) over the top, taking a short feed from Tony Muskett and then turning toward the end zone to push across the goal line with 8:51 left while shrugging off multiple bad tackle attempts by UNC defenders.

Washington quickly began to celebrate by raising both arms to flex his biceps, which was appropriate considering the way Virginia repeatedly ran the ball at and through the Tar Heels despite coming in as one of the nation's most anemic ground attacks.

Virginia came in averaging 99.5 yards rushing per game, worst in the ACC and 122nd in the Bowl Subdivision ranks. But Virginia ran for a season-high 228 yards, with Hollins, Muskett and Perris Jones all running for at least 60 yards.

As for the Tar Heels, it was a stunning stumble for a team that had looked as possibly the ACC's best team behind a star quarterback discussed as a Heisman Trophy candidate in Maye.

UNC Quarterback Drake Maye speaks after loss to Virginia

Maye threw for 347 yards and two touchdowns, including a fourth one in two games to Devontez "Tez" Walker, who had 11 catches for 146 yards. But Maye completed just half of his passes (24 for 48), repeatedly missing throws while the Tar Heels never found the high-scoring form from recent romps in the program's best start in 26 years.