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UNC at #8 Virginia Tech

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Where: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
When: Thursday, November 17th, 8:00 PM
TV: ESPN
Records: UNC 6-4, 2-4 ACC; Virginia Tech 9-1, 5-1 ACC

So can we party like it's 2009?

When last the Tar Heels made the trip to Lane Stadium two years ago, it was a Thursday night tilt and Carolina emerged with a 20-17 win. Can UNC hold off the Sandman once again?

Carolina is coming off arguably its worst performance of the year 12 days ago against NC State and had a bye week to let that loss fester. On the other hand, the bye couldn't come fast enough as QB Bryn Renner suffered a concussion against the Pack and a number of other guys have had nagging injuries. The Heels should be as healthy as they have been in quite a while.

And UNC will need every healthy body as Carolina attempts to slow down a Hokie offense that has found its stride. Tailback David Wilson is the nation's leading rusher with nearly 1,400 yards on the season and ran for 175 yards against Georgia Tech last week. QB Logan Thomas threw for 200+ yards and two TDs while rushing for 70 more and another TD against the Jackets. The Hokies have gained over 400 yards of offense in each of their last five games.

On defense, the Hokies are their usual disruptive selves, being aggressive up front. This does not bode well for UNC's shaky offensive line, which has given up 14 sacks in the last five games. Plus, Renner has looked awful on the road this season. And UNC and VT both have a reputation for special teams play, but clearly not for the same reason.

Frankly, it's hard not to be pessimistic after the meltdown at NC State. VT has a chance to clinch the division so they have motivation to avoid the upset of two years ago. On the other hand, this Carolina team has shown a resiliency all season and followed their previous worst performance - at Clemson - with probably their best versus Wake Forest. UNC had the bye week to prepare and get healthy, while Tech played last Thursday, so not exactly a short week for the Hokies. UNC has a puncher's chance but the chances are just as equal of this one getting out of hand like Clemson.

VT 34, UNC 21