Virginia Tech proved to be the cure to what ailed the UNC defense, and the Tar Heel offense regained the form we’ve come to expect of them in UNC’s 41-10 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday. While I don’t think concerns about the defense are unfounded, they held their own to make the game against the Hokies fairly uncompetitive.
Drake Maye was excellent once again. He threw for 363 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for two more before being pulled late in the fourth quarter to give Jacolby Criswell some playing time. Tar Heel fans around the globe held their collective breath earlier in the game when Maye, as he has a tendency to do, leapt over a Hokie defender in pursuit of the end zone. He landed awkwardly, laid on the ground, and removed his helmet. Thankfully, he was able to pop up and jog off moments later, but it emphasized the risk of his acrobatics.
Josh Downs was the main recipient of Maye’s success through the air, racking up 120 yards. He was kept out of the end zone, though, as Bryson Nesbit, Antoine Green, and Kamari Morales had touchdowns through the air. In the non-Maye division of rushing, things were a fairly even split between Omarion Hampton and Caleb Hood. There wasn’t exactly much to speak of there.
Mack Brown was feeling lucky this afternoon, evidently, as he went for it on three different fourth downs. The Tar Heels were successful on all three. The squad was also able to avoid pretty much any and all penalties, even avoiding a targeting call late in the fourth quarter.
While it is pretty wildly accepted that this Virginia Tech game might not be very good, the Tar Heels have just given up so many points to every team they’ve played this year. Holding the Hokies to 10 points and just 273 yards is certainly an accomplishment for this defense. Hopefully it provides them something to build off for the rest of the ACC slate.
It was a game that everyone in Carolina blue can walk away from feeling pretty good. The offense was operating like a well-oiled machine, the defense kept another quarterback from having a career day, and the Heels were able to get back in the win column after last week’s meltdown.
Carolina will travel to Coral Gables next Saturday for a date with the 2-2 Miami Hurricanes coming off their bye week.