CHAPEL HILL, N.C., NOV. 10 -- With all that has been happening to Virginia's football team off the field this week, its 24-10 victory today over North Carolina was almost serene.

The 11th-ranked Cavaliers scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, setting a handful of records in the process, and built a 21-3 second-quarter lead that never was threatened.

"We needed this," said Coach George Welsh, whose big-play-fueled team passed only once in the fourth quarter. "It was a tough week for them {his players}."

The Cavaliers' hearts and defense were shredded a week ago in a 41-38 loss to Georgia Tech that probably cost them a chance for the national championship. On Sunday, star wide receiver Herman Moore woke up with a double case of turf toe that threatened his ability to play.

Monday was an off day, but on Tuesday, Arizona's citizens voted against a proposed holiday commemorating Martin Luther King's birthday. That turned Wednesday, Thursday and Friday into a 72-hour firestorm surrounding Virginia's courtship with the Fiesta Bowl, which is played in Tempe, Ariz.

Even after today's game, there was as much talk about bowl games and politics as there was about Moore's bravery and Virginia's defensive resolve. That meant there was a lot to talk about as the Cavaliers (8-1, 5-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) strode off into a chilly sunlight that had replaced the rain-soaked dreariness of normally picturesque Kenan Stadium.

Moore, who said he came "very close" to not playing, made five receptions for 99 yards and one touchdown. He said he aggravated the injuries, which are sprains of the big toe on each of his feet, and said he may not play next week against Maryland.

"He was hurting today -- I could tell," said senior quarterback Shawn Moore, who did his part by completing 16 of 22 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns.

Virginia's defense, which according to senior defensive tackle Joe Hall "started this week from ground zero," was terrific until backup quarterback Chuckie Burnette entered midway through the fourth quarter and led the Tar Heels (5-4-1, 2-3-1) on a bizarre 80-yard touchdown drive during which penalties allowed him to pass for 108 yards.

"Virginia football is back," said Hall, a McNamara High graduate who made two of the five sacks that helped leave North Carolina with 86 yards rushing on 31 attempts. "Look for us to finish strong."

Led by linebackers Tommy Thigpen from Potomac High in Dumfries, and Dwight Hollier, North Carolina's defense did what Welsh called "the best job anybody's done against us this year."

The Tar Heels held Virginia well below its averages of 540.8 yards total offense and 46.9 points, although Virginia came away scoreless on drives that ended at North Carolina's 12 (fumble), 34 (downs) and 27 (end of game). Also, Tar Heels' defensive mistakes twice cost them first-quarter touchdowns.

With Virginia facing second and seven at North Carolina's 13, the UNC coaches inexplicably called for their linebackers to blitz and their defensive backs to step up and play bump-and-run coverage against Virginia's three wide receivers.

"Herman couldn't believe it and I couldn't believe it either," said Shawn Moore, who gladly audibled out of a running play and lobbed a pass that 6-foot-5 Herman Moore easily caught over 5-11 Doxie Jordan.

It gave Herman Moore a touchdown catch in an NCAA single-season record ninth game, breaking a tie with five others. He has touchdown receptions in 10 consecutive regular season games, tying the NCAA mark of Brigham Young's Mike Chronister (1976 and '77). For Shawn Moore, it was the 28th touchdown for which he had been responsible this season, breaking the ACC record he set last year.

North Carolina made it 7-3 on Clint Gwaltney's field goal, but Jerrod Washington returned the ensuing kickoff 41 yards and the Cavaliers quickly completed a 55-yard touchdown drive with a two-yard run by Nikki Fisher (24 carries, 90 yards). Jake McInerney, a senior from O'Connell High in Arlington, kicked his ACC single-season record 43rd extra point, breaking the mark set by Clemson's Obed Ariri in 1978.

It became 21-3 with a little less then five minutes left in the half, when Terry Kirby beat linebacker Eric Gash for a 42-yard touchdown catch.