CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Kevin Parks talked about not getting the yard he needed for a touchdown on fourth down. Michael Rocco pointed to an underthrown pass that was intercepted for a touchdown. And Phillip Sims mentioned a pass that he floated into the hands of Darius Jennings for a certain 81-yard touchdown until Jennings dropped it.
Missed opportunities seemed on everyone's mind after Virginia lost 34-13 to North Carolina in a game that turned on a goal-line stand by the Tar Heels late in the third quarter with the score 20-13.
"We get it, it's a different ballgame," Parks said of the run that was stuffed Kareem Martin and Kevin Reddick. "I think it would have been a different story of a game. ... We didn't get in. It hurts."
The Cavaliers chances looked brighter when, trailing 27-13, Sims lofted the pass to the speedy Jennings behind the secondary. Jennings juggled the ball, bobbled it and watched as it hit the turf.
"It's just the story of the night, I guess you could say," Sims said.
Earlier, with Virginia trailing 14-10, Rocco threw toward Tim Smith, and Tar Heels safety Tre Boston made the pick and took it 36 yards for a touchdown, six easy points in a game the Cavaliers needed to win to maintain their postseason hopes. Instead, their season will end next weekend at Virginia Tech.
"It's a very quiet locker room in there with a lot of disappointment," coach Mike London said. "We've got to pick ourselves up and get ready to play one last football game."
Bryn Renner threw three touchdown passes for the Tar Heels, two in the fourth quarter after the big defensive stand. The first, a 23-yarder to a wide open Giovani Bernard, capped a 97-yard, 12-play drive.
It came one play after Renner hit Erik Highsmith for 5 yards on fourth-and-2.
The Tar Heels (7-4, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) then forced Virginia (4-7, 2-5) to punt, and five plays later, Renner's second touchdown pass to Highsmith — from 20 yards — finished it.
The Cavaliers had won two in a row and were hoping to win two more to qualify for a bowl game. They shut down Bernard, the ACC's runaway rushing leader, but were picked apart by Renner's precise passing.
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