CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -There aren't any North Carolina players who have won a game at Virginia, but linebacker Mark Paschal at least has a relative who has done it: His father played fullback when the Tar Heels conquered Scott Stadium back in the 1970s.
Not that he'd get anywhere by asking his old man how it's done.
``He probably wouldn't remember, it's been so long ago,'' Paschal said.
So forgive the 18th-ranked Tar Heels for not getting too caught up in their first national ranking since 2001 and the emerging win-the-ACC buzz. First, they've got a pesky trend they'd like to reverse - finally escaping Charlottesville with a victory, something they haven't done since 1981.
m has done a good job of keeping things in perspective.''
Easy for Davis to say - he has yet to lose there. Not many other North Carolina coaches can make that claim.
Coaches were fired and promising seasons were spoiled for the Tar Heels (5-1, 1-1) after 13 straight mostly disastrous trips to Scott Stadium, which over the years has become their personal house of horrors.
``It's just something that's always in the back of your mind, being a Carolina fan, being a player (for) this university. It's a tough place to play,'' Paschal said.
One of the nation's most frequently renewed rivalries - with its 113th edition this weekend, it's the oldest in the South - has been decidedly one-sided when North Carolina makes the 180-mile trip northeast to Charlottesville.
Since that 17-14 win 27 years ago, the Tar Heels have entered Virginia's home field as a ranked team three times, only to be knocked off each time. Perhaps most famously, coach Mack Brown's 1996 team was 8-1, ranked No. 6 and had the nation's best defense, but lost 20-17 at 24th-ranked Virginia.
While North Carolina is looking to reverse history, Virginia (3-3, 1-1) is discounting it.
ecute and play the best football come Saturday.''
Through the years, that often has been Virginia.
The Tar Heels' most recent visit was an unmitigated disaster, a nationally televised 23-0 rout that led to the prime-time benching of quarterback Cameron Sexton and, three days later, the midseason firing of coach John Bunting.
``I don't think we played worth a crap on defense,'' Paschal said. ``That was probably the lowest of the lows. ... It was embarrassing for us as players, it was embarrassing for the university, so it's something that's definitely stuck in my mind.''
Coincidentally, that game marked Sexton's last start until a few weeks ago, when he took over for injured T.J. Yates and ineffective freshman Mike Paulus to lead North Carolina to consecutive victories over Miami, Connecticut and Notre Dame.
``In some sense, I felt like when I left that game, it kind of changed my career,'' Sexton said. ``I kind of remember talking to my parents after that game, getting benched on national television, Thursday night, wasn't easy. And we didn't play well. And I kind of said to myself and my parents, 'This is going to be the point that's going to change.'''
AP Sports Writer Hank Kurz Jr. in Charlottesville, Va., contributed to this report.

NCAAF Headlines

More inNCAAF News  

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail Oregon State vs. Washington Prediction Will undefeated Washington run up the score enough to cover versus Oregon State this evening at 6:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Houston vs. SMU Prediction Will Houston cover the number versus SMU when the teams clash at 7:00PM ET tonight?
Thumbnail Utes' potent ground game rolls into Rose Bowl Questions continue to swirl about the availability of UCLA’s Josh Rosen for today’s bout vs. Utah. Perhaps the focus should be on exploring how the...
Thumbnail TCU vs. West Virginia Prediction Will West Virginia cash for bettors this afternoon when it hosts TCU as a home favorite at 3:30PM ET?
Thumbnail EMU vs. WMU Prediction Will No. 20 Western Michigan make another statement when it hosts in-state rival Eastern Michigan today at 3:30PM ET?
More inNCAAF Articles  

NCAAF Team Pages