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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) –All week, North Carolina’s players downplayed their streak of futility at Virginia, the one that had seen them lose 14 straight at Scott Stadium.

And all week, defensive end Tim Jackson said, it was “pounded into our heads pretty thoroughly,” and “we just knew we were going to get it snapped this weekend.”

T.J. Yates threw for three touchdowns and North Carolina did just that
Saturday night, beating Virginia 44-10 _ it’s first road win in the South’s oldest rivalries since 1981.

“It feels good to finally get that off our backs,” wide receiver Dwight Jones said after a day that included seven catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns. The first set the tone as he took a short slant on the first play, broke a tackle and went 81 yards for a touchdown.

Jones also made a sliding catch of a 20-yard touchdown pass from Yates, and had another apparent touchdown, but was ruled to have stepped out at the half-yard line after a 54-yard catch and run down the North Carolina sideline. He came into the game with 12 catches for 104 yards on the season, and Yates was thrilled to see the junior finally emerge.

“Everybody knew he has this kind of talent,” the quarterback said after a fourth straight victory. “We were just waiting for him to have that breakthrough game. He’s had it.”

The Tar Heels (4-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) led 27-10 at halftime and coasted, easing coach Butch Davis’ mind after he feared they might relax with such a sizeable lead.

They didn’t, holding Virginia on the opening second-half series and then driving to the third of Casey Barth’s three field goals. Kevin Reddick’s interception and 22-yard touchdown return later in the quarter sealed it, allowing both coaches to empty their benches.

When it was over, first-year Virginia coach Mike London gathered his team on the field.

“I wanted them to feel what it feels like to get beat like we did on your homecoming,” he said, “and never, ever forget that feeling … when someone comes into your house and hands it to you like they did. We’re going to win around here and I told them we’re going to win.”

The victory came as North Carolina continued to get players back from a roster-depleting NCAA investigation into agent-related benefits and possible academic misconduct. It had defensive end Linwan Euwell and tailback Ryan Houston available for the first time, but only Euwell played. The investigation has left five other Tar Heels ruled out for this season.

“One thing that’s really helping us out is all that stuff is kind of over,” Yates said. “We’ve been dealing with it for so long we’ve kind of moved past it and moved on.”

Yates finished 17 for 22 for 325 yards.

Marc Verica struggled mightily for Virginia (2-4, 0-3), going 15 for 25 for 139 yards with three interceptions. He was pulled after Reddick’s touchdown return, and backups Ross Metheny and Michael Rocco finished, although each also threw an interception.

Metheny’s came on his only pass attempt after a career-best 49-yard run by Keith Payne set the Cavaliers up at the Tar Heels’ 1-yard line. Payne rushed for 107 yards and a TD.

“We’re going to bounce back. There’s not much else you can say,” Payne said.

Virginia also failed to score in four tries after getting a first down at the 5 on its next series, but already trailed 37-10 when Payne was tackled on the fourth-down play.

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