Carolina fans have come to know that all bets are off when it comes to playing Virginia Tech. Today was no exception to that as the Tar Heels jumped out to an early lead that nearly evaporated in a sloppy third quarter. UNC managed to hang on for the shootout win thanks to an incredible 656 yards of total offense.
Everything was working for the Heels offensively. The ground game, in particular, was effective all afternoon. Michael Carter and Javonte Williams were responsible for two rushing touchdowns a piece on their way to 214 and 169 yards on the day. Carolina averaged almost a touchdown per every run in the game.
Sam Howell put together a three-touchdown day with 257 yards through the air. Most importantly, he had no interceptions. Neither team turned the ball over and each quarterback was sacked only once. Dyami Brown was the primary recipient of Howell’s passes with two touchdowns and 86 yards. Dazz Newsome had a touchdown that featured him flipping into the end zone like a gymnast as well.
Despite the fact that the Hokies came into Chapel Hill missing several players, they managed to hang in there until very late. When the UNC offense sputtered a bit with some quick possessions, the defense appeared to be quite gassed. Virginia Tech took advantage of that and racked up nearly 500 yards of offense themselves. Starting quarterback Braxton Burmeister struggled before being replaced by a much more effective Hendon Hooker. Hooker threw for two touchdowns and certainly put a scare into everyone watching before the fourth quarter Heels showed up once again.
At one point the Heels led it 42-17. It felt like within the blink of an eye it was 42-37, and was only that because the Hokies went for two to try and make it a three-point game in the final moments of the third quarter. Thankfully, the offense was able to respond and put things away late.
The game broke several records, including Carolina records for most points against an AP ranked opponent and most points against Virginia Tech. It was the second-most yards ever given up by VT. The 656 yards by the offense were the fifth-most in UNC history.
With the win, UNC moves to 3-0 on the year and banks their first win against a ranked opponent this season. They have a chance to move up even higher in the polls with #4 Florida having already lost this afternoon.
Carolina travels to Tallahassee next weekend for a date with Florida State.