North Carolina coach Mack Brown was in no mood for celebrating after his fifth-ranked Tar Heels rallied from a 20-3 hole Saturday afternoon to beat Virginia, 48-20, in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
That's because James Knight, an official working the game, had a heart attack and collapsed in the second quarter.
Dr. Greg Mears, who treated Knight, 51, on the stadium turf and then accompanied him to the hospital, said the official was in critical condition and would be expected to face surgery within the next 24 hours.
"It really was emotional for me," said Brown. "I know Jimmy, he's a great official, he's a tremendous person and anytime somebody is sick it really minimizes what football is all about. It goes back and tells all of us it's simply a game."
Knight, an official for 21 years in the ACC, fell flat on his back as North Carolina was lining up to run a first-down play with 13:57 left in the second quarter.
Trainers from both teams, along with medical personnel at Kenan Stadium, rushed onto the field to administer CPR as Knight laid motionless and the crowd grew quiet.
"He was in a very fortunate situation to be in the position he was in," Mears said of the Kenan Stadium rescue personnel stationed at the game.
North Carolina (4-0 overall, 2-0 in the ACC) forced four second-half turnovers and the Tar Heels scored 45 straight points to beat the Cavaliers (1-2, 0-1), matching the biggest comeback in school history.
"I had quite a few words for the defense at halftime," Brown said. "It looked to me that Virginia was being more physical than we were, we weren't tackling, we weren't in the right place, we didn't have any emotion. I was really unhappy and it needed to change or we would be embarrassed."
The nation's second-ranked defense responded, getting an interception and a fumble recovery to give the momentum back to North Carolina.
Trailing, 20-10, at halftime, the Tar Heels closed the gap to seven with 10:45 left in the third quarter on a 35-yard field goal. Then the defense took over.
On Virginia's next play from scrimmage, Dre' Bly intercepted Aaron Brooks' pass and raced untouched 17 yards for a score. Bly, who has 13 interceptions in 16 career games, also returned one 51 yards for a score against the Cavaliers in last year's game at Charlottesville.
Brooks fumbled the exchange from center on Virginia's next play, the ball rolling right to North Carolina linebacker Keith Newman at the Cavaliers 26.
Three plays after converting a fourth-and-1 play, Oscar Davenport found tight end Algie Crumpler, who outjumped three Virginia defenders for the 10-yard scoring pass as the Tar Heels grabbed a 27-20 lead.
Davenport, the ACC's top-rated passer, had another brilliant game, completing 22 of 32 for 181 yards and two TDs. He left with a strained ligament in his left knee.
After Keith Newman recovered a fumble at the Virginia 19, Chris Keldorf scored on a 1-yard sneak with 7:51 left. He hit Octavus Barnes on a 50-yard scoring pass four minutes later and the rout was on.