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Three things we learned from UNC’s loss to Virginia Tech

That was awful.

Virginia Tech v North Carolina Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

The Tar Heels and Hokies played in some of the most brutal conditions imaginable on Saturday in the middle of Hurricane Matthew. The wind was blowing, the rain was relentless, and the Heels just looked very much out of their element.

Here are three things we learned from the loss to Virginia Tech.

Where are the adjustments?

It was clear to anyone observing the conditions at Kenan Stadium on Saturday that throwing the football was going to be difficult. The Heels have an offense that relies more on the pass than the run, but there is enough talent at running back that they should be able to adjust when needed. Carolina needed to run the ball on Saturday, as Virginia Tech managed to do, to take the pressure off the quarterback and receivers who would have a much tougher time handling the ball.

Carolina just didn’t look prepared for the weather even though they should have been. The forecast called for downright miserable weather at game time, and once it was decided that the game wouldn’t be moved to Sunny Sunday, everyone should have known what they’d be up against. Virginia Tech didn’t struggle the same way, so at least one team was ready to battle in the elements.

Wine and cheese complaints are still out there

I was in the stands for Saturday’s game and I can tell you that it was one of the most intensely awful experiences ever. The forecast called for 70 degrees, but it felt much colder once you were faced with the rain and wind constantly whipping in your face. Every thread of clothing I had on was soaked in the time it took to get from the car to my seat. My hands were shriveled up like I’d stayed in the shower too long, and I couldn’t get warm the whole hour back home even with the heat on.

Yes, going was absolutely my choice. A fair number of other fans braved the same storm to attend as well, and my hat is off to them. I know how gross it was out there. There was a lot, and I mean a lot, of complaining about the crowd on Twitter. Maybe you were there and came more prepared than the rest of us, in which case I am very jealous. Or maybe you were in the comfort of your living room and disappointed that Kenan sounded like Lane Stadium South.

The Hokie fans were absolutely loud. You couldn’t miss them. I have no doubt that when you travel several hours for a road game you are more likely to stick it out in whatever comes along than someone who can wake up, look outside, and decide that all that rain isn’t for them. The Carolina crowd has been (at times, deservedly so) criticized over the years. I just can’t really find fault in anyone for not being loud and energetic on Saturday.

You aren’t as good as you look when you’re winning, or as bad as you look when you’re losing

The two weeks prior to the loss to Virginia Tech, Carolina looked like they might be able to beat anyone. Down late and need a touchdown to win? Did it against Pitt. Go down late on the road because your defense can’t get off the field? Here’s a 54-yard game-winning field goal.

Those wins were spectacular, but the nature of them was heart-stopping because the Heels put themselves in a rough position. They shouldn’t have needed last second heroics against either Pitt or FSU if they put together an entire game of quality football. That sort of luck runs out, and it definitely did against Virginia Tech on Saturday. There was no comeback to be had in those conditions.

This loss hurts and it’s massively disappointing. The home win streak was snapped and the Heels no longer control their own destiny in the Coastal. However, they just aren’t as bad of a football team as they looked on Saturday. That’s worth keeping in mind for the sake of perspective.