Historic loss for the Hokies today, as Giovani Bernard runs for 262 yards — a record for a Tech opponent — to fuel a 48-34 North Carolina victory.
Three and three. I never thought this team was going to be one of Beamer’s best, but I also didn’t think we’d see 3-3. Neither did any of those guys in the Tech locker room.
“It’s tough,” linebacker Bruce Taylor said. “I’ve never been on a losing team before. Right now we’re at .500, and it’s definitely tough…We’ve just got to try to fix it before it’s too late.”
I think what makes the first half of this season so problematic is you just don’t know which unit is going to break down in a given week. The offense, defense and special teams are all capable of killing this team right now. Today, defense obviously took the lead role.
“We’ve just got to get back to being sound fundamentally,” defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “That’s where we’re not very good right now, and that’s where we pride ourselves…I’m really disappointed in our tackling right now. That’s been one of our trademarks and been a big part of our success. We’ve been a fundamentally sound defense and a fundamentally sound group. Right now we’re just inconsistent.”
I asked Foster if that meant they’d go back to the drills a lot of us remember from high school.
“It’s not high school drills,” he said. “Go to high school, college or the NFL – it’s the same stuff. We’ve got to get back to proper leverage, breaking down when the ball carrier breaks down, taking good angles, wrapping up, running your feet, keeping your head up, those type of things. Keeping leverage. Taking the proper angle to the ball, knowing where your help is. Those are things we’ve done since Day One in camp. I think, too, we’re probably playing not enough people. But we don’t have any depth at some spots, too…We’ve got to eliminate the big plays. That’s what’s killing us right now. And every one of those big plays comes down to technique and fundamentals. Those things can be corrected, but we’ve got to get ‘em right.”
Logan Thomas finished 26-of-49 passing for 354 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Once again the running game did next to nothing, as Tech averaged 1.6 yards per rushing attempt.
Andy will have all the “first time Tech did so-and-so since” items in his game story. There’s a pretty long list of those things. My column is on the big picture — the fact that the down year has arrived. I’ll link ‘em when they’re up.
See you next week from Lane Stadium, where the Hokies will face Duke, which as I type this is thumping UVa just up the road in Durham. As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
FINAL: NORTH CAROLINA 48, VIRGINIA TECH 34. Back with more later.
It’s outta whack now, as UNC leads 45-26 and has the ball as the period ends. UNC has 437 yards of total offense to Tech’s 264. Giovani Bernard has 221 yards on 16 carries.
The only question now is how bad does it get. This game, this season. The down year is here. It was overdue.
The Hokies head to the locker room trailing 28-20, certainly a manageable deficit, but the defense isn’t inspiring much confidence right now. The Tar Heels scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives in the period and looked good doing it.
To me, the offense has been fine. Decent drives that end in points typically are enough for this team to win, and that’s what the Hokie have been getting. But Giovani Bernard has gashed the Tech defense for 101 yards and the Hokies are on pace to give up 478 yards.
There’s no formula for victory right now when one unit or another seems to break down each week.
Hokies have struggled to run effectively, gaining only 45 yards on 17 carries. Thomas is the leading rusher with 27 yards and a touchdown. Michael Holmes has 16 on four and Martin Scales has eight on two.
Tech will get the ball to start the second half. We’ll see what adjustments Tech’s defensive coaches have soon enough.
Looks like we have ourselves a shootout, folks, as the period ends with the Hokies and Tar Heels tied 14-14. Terrific opening drive by Tech, going 57 yards on only four plays and getting a 13-yard touchdown run by Logan Thomas.
UNC came right back with a 94-yard kick return for a touchdown.
Good to see Marcus Davis getting involved early. He caught a 49-yard touchdown pass to tie it up late in the period.
The Hokies stagnated a bit offensively after that first drive, but the numbers are a bit deceiving. Roberts dropped a deep third-down pass that would have picked up at least 40 yards and maybe would have been a touchdown.
Thomas is the leading rusher with 18 yards and two totes. Michael Holmes has three carries for 10 yards; J.C. Coleman has six yards on two totes.
Tech holds the time of possession lead by a minute and a half.
VT—Thomas 13 run (Journell kick), 12:55. Drive: Four plays, 57 yards, 1:32. Key play: Roberts 19 pass from Thomas plus 12 personal-foul penalty to UNC 13. Virginia Tech 7, North Carolina 0.
UNC—Tapley 94 kickoff return (Barth kick), 12:41. Virginia Tech 7, North Carolina 7.
UNC—Renner 4 run (Barth kick), 4:41. Drive: Eight plays, 59 yards, 1:31. Key play: Collins 5 offsides penalty on fourth-and-5 to VT 21. North Carolina 14, Virginia Tech 7.
VT—Davis 49 pass from Thomas (Journell kick), 2:15. Drive: Four plays, 68 yards, 2:18. Key play: Holmes 8 run to VT 40. Virginia Tech 14, North Carolina 14.
UNC—Bernard 62 run (Barth kick), 14:53. Drive: Seven plays, 86 yards, 2:16. Key play: Ebron 9 pass from Renner to UNC 31. North Carolina 21, Virginia Tech 14.
VT—FG Journell 40, 7:41. Drive: 14 plays, 52 yards, 7:12. Key play: Knowles 15 pass on third-and-13 to UNC 26. North Carolina 21, Virginia Tech 17.
UNC—Blue 1 run (Barth kick), 4:09. Drive: 10 plays, 76 yards, 3:26. Key play: Ebron 26 pass from Renner to VT 1. North Carolina 28, Virginia Tech 17.
VT—FG Journell 35, :41. Drive: Seven plays, 39 yards, 1:53. Key play: Fuller 19 pass from Thomas to UNC 20. North Carolina 28, Virginia Tech 20.
UNC—Tapley 19 pass from Renner (Barth kick), 7:49. Drive: Four plays, 45 yards, 1:12. Key play: Hughes 8 fumble return to VT 45. North Carolina 35, Virginia Tech 20.
VT—Knowles 93 kick return (pass failed), 7:36. North Carolina 35, Virginia Tech 26.
UNC—FG Barth 44, 3:56. Drive: 10 plays, 53 yards, 3:34. Key play: Bernard 18 run to UNC 38. North Carolina 38, Virginia Tech 26.
UNC—Blue 13 run (Barth kick), 1:19. Drive: Two plays, 64 yards, :21. Key play: Bernard 51 run to VT 13. North Carolina 45, Virginia Tech 26.
VT—Fuller 66 pass from Thomas (Fuller pass from Thomas), 8:55. Drive: Five plays, 90 yards, 2:04. Key play: Malleck 21 pass from Thomas to VT 33. North Carolina 45, Virginia Tech 34.
UNC—Barth FG 40, 5:34. Drive: Seven plays, 47 yards, 3:17. Key play: Blue 34 run to VT 36. North Carolina 48, Virginia Tech 34.
Greetings from Chapel Hill, where we’re about two hours from kickoff of Virginia Tech-North Carolina. We’ll go with the usual plan today: thoughts on each of the first three quarters, and then a wrap-up post after the print stuff is finished.
The Hokies opened as 2-point underdogs but that’s been bet up to 5.5. This marks the first time in four years that the Tar Heels have been favored in this matchup (Tech won the 2008 game here).
Carolina is a second half team. The Tar Heels have outscored their opponents 99-10 after intermission this year, including a 66-0 mark in the third quarter.
When UNC wins, it wins big. The Heels have won three games by a combined 149 points. Their two losses (to Louisville and Wake Forest) came by a combined six points.
The Hokies are 13-0 in ACC games in this state, including a 4-0 mark at Kenan Stadium.
Tech has won 23 straight road conference openers.