'Hoos a step closer in Coastal after UNC win

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Four weeks remain in the college football season. Virginia has three games left on its schedule, all at home and with two against ACC opponents.

After holding on for a wild 38-31 win at North Carolina on Saturday night, the Wahoos are one of three teams tied for first place in the loss column in the Coastal Division standings, with two losses apiece. But no one in the division has more wins than UVA’s four.

So if the Cavaliers handle their business in their final two conference games, they’ll be Coastal Division champions.

“We keep saying that all of our goals are right there in front of us. And just one game at a time, one play at a time,” UVA senior tight end Tanner Cowley, who caught a touchdown pass in Saturday’s win in Chapel Hill, said afterward. “So it feels good.”

Saturday’s win put Virginia a half-game in front of 3-2 Pitt in the Coastal – and the Wahoos already have a win against the Panthers as a tie-breaker. At 2-2, Virginia Tech is a full game behind UVA in the division. The Hokies will visit Scott Stadium on the day after Thanksgiving to end the regular season.

UVA’s other remaining ACC game is at home this Saturday afternoon against Georgia Tech. The Wahoos also have their second bye weekend and a home game against Liberty in between those two Coastal Division matchups.

“It’s important that we don’t look ahead, or look past any team we play. And I think we did a good job this week of just focusing on North Carolina,” UVA senior defensive lineman Eli Hanback said Saturday night. “We’re going to do that for the rest of the season. We’re not going to look ahead. We’re focusing on Georgia Tech. That’s who we have next week.”

Pitt and Virginia Tech still have a head-to-head meeting at Lane Stadium on the schedule on November 23. Pitt also has home games against UNC and Boston College remaining after a bye this Saturday, while the Hokies are at home against Wake Forest and travel to Georgia Tech the next two weekends.

Behind those two teams and the ‘Hoos in the Coastal standings are three three-loss teams – UNC, Miami and Duke. The Wahoos hold head-to-head tie-breakers against the Tar Heels and Duke, but lost their trip to Miami last month.

But as UVA quarterback Bryce Perkins pointed out afterward, Saturday night’s win kept the Wahoos in a position where they may not need to watch scoreboards or worry about tie-breakers.

“We know that no matter what happens with everybody else, we’re the reason and we can be the reason, and it’s on us to win out. And if we do, we don’t have to rely on anyone else, on losing games. And we have to practice with that mentality. We’ve got to play with that mentality,” Perkins said. “This game kept us at the top but we’re not done yet. We’ve still got two more ACC games, and we’ve got to keep rolling.”

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