Sunday column: Virginia Tech’s Coles lines up as playmaker, mentor.
FINAL: Virginia Tech 27, North Carolina 17.
VT—Knowles 45 pass from Thomas (Journell kick), 4:17. Drive: Five plays, 77 yards, 2:13. Key play: Byrn 17 pass from Thomas to UNC 45. Virginia Tech 7, North Carolina 0.
VT—Coles 9 pass from Thomas (Journell kick), 12:56. Drive: 12 plays, 73 yards, 4:33. Key play: Stanford 21 pass from Thomas to UNC 39. Virginia Tech 14, North Carolina 0.
UNC—Ebron 6 pass from Williams (Moore kick), 9:09. Drive: 10 plays, 75 yards, 3:39. Key play: Davis 40 pass from Williams to VT 35. Virginia Tech 14, North Carolina 7.
VT—Coles 5 pass from Thomas (Journell kick), 2:44. Drive: Four plays, 98 yards, 1:46. Key play: Byrn 83 pass from Thomas to UNC 15. Virginia Tech 21, North Carolina 7.
UNC—FG Moore 36, 3:38. Drive: Nine plays, 58 yards, 3:05. Key play: Ebron 25 pass from Williams to VT 21. Virginia Tech 21, North Carolina 10.
VT—Edmunds 1 run (kick blocked), 4:06. Drive: Six plays, 17 yards, 2:20. Key play: Williams fumble recovery at UNC 17. Virginia Tech 27, North Carolina 10.
UNC—Davis 24 pass from Williams (Moore kick), 1:09. Drive: 13 plays, 89 yards, 2:53. Key play: Ebron 18 pass from Williams to UNC 30. Virginia Tech 27, North Carolina 17.
North Carolina, Schoettmer 5-8-.5, Martin 2-6-.5, Price 5-2-0, Lipford 3-3-0, Scott 4-0-0, Jackson 2-2-.5, Otis 0-4-.5, Simmons 1-2-0, Shankle 0-2-0, Tabb 0-2-0, Rankin 0-2-0, Albright 1-0-0, Hollins 1-0-0, Walker 1-0-0, Green 1-0-0, Blue 1-0-0, Brown 0-1-0, Ellerbe 0-1-0, Jackson 0-1-0, Underwood 0-1-0, Hughes 0-1-0, Thomason 0-1-0, Rogers 0-1-0, Gnonkonde 0-1-0, Boston 0-1-0, Davis 0-1-0, Ebron 0-1-0, Totals 27-44-2.
Virginia Tech, Edwards 7-4-0, Tyler 2-9-0, Jarrett 6-3-0, Bonner 5-1-0, Ky. Fuller 4-2-0, Maddy 2-4-1, Ke. Fuller 2-3-0, Gayle 1-4-0, Facyson 3-1-0, Hopkins 2-1-0, Baron 2-0-0, Collins 1-1-0, Wilson 1-1-1, Clarke 1-0-0, N. Williams 1-0-0, Nicolas 1-0-0, C. Williams 0-1-0, Rogers 0-1-0, Dyer 0-1-0, Frye 0-1-0, Totals 41-38-2.
Tech leads 21-10 after three but you can sense UNC’s offense starting to pick up some momentum. The Heels drove to the VT 5 late in the quarter before big stops by Luther Maddy and J.R. Collins forced a 36-yard field goal. Thomas Moore hit it, but the bigger thrust was parried.
After looking good in the first half, Tech’s offense has stalled. All four Hokies possessions in the third ended in punts. Better than turnovers, I suppose.
The Heels have just driven into Tech territory as the fourth quarter begins. Tech’s controlled this one pretty much from the outset, but it’s far from over.
Tech leads 21-7 as the teams head to the locker room. Impressive display by the Hokies’ offense after a bit of a slow start.
Willie Byrn is working on achieving cult status in Blacksburg. With the Hokies backed up at their own 2 following a masterful punt by UNC’s Tommy Hibbard, Byrn made a 83-yard catch set up Tech’s third touchdown. Making the grab over the middle about 20 yards from the line of scrimmage, Byrn slalomed downfield, using the official as a screen at one point.
Thomas has thrown three touchdown passes, included two to D.J. Coles. He’s 13-for-20 with for 230 yards.
Thomas started the game 10 for his first 14 for 128 yards and two touchdowns. The second one was a 9-yard strike to Coles in the back of the end zone that gave the the Hokies a 14-0 lead with 12:56 left in the half.
Williams began to find his passing rhythm for UNC, though, and drove the Tar Heels 75 yards in 10 plays to cut the Tech lead in half with 9:09 left. Nice leaping catch in the end zone by Eric Ebron on the 6-yard touchdown, and nice poise shown by Williams releasing the ball a split-second he was slammed to the turf by an unidentified (at least by me) Hokie defender.
Cornerback Brandon Facyson had two big hits on that touchdown drive, including one that appeared to knock the wind out of him and temporarily took him out of the game. The kid can do a little bit of everything.
Kyshoen Jarrett has an interception for the Tech defense, which has held UNC to 147 total yards.
The Tar Heels will get the ball to start the second half.
Hokies lead 7-0 and are driving as the period ends. Tech got on the board with 4:17 remaining on a perfect 45-yard touchdown pass from Logan Thomas to Demitri Knowles, who got behind the UNC defense and simply had to run underneath the ball in the end zone.
No Bryn Renner (at least so far) today for UNC. His foot injury has thrust dual-threat sophomore QB Marquise Williams into action. So far, Tech’s defense has done a nice job containing everything the Heels want to do.
Tech facing a third down in UNC territory to start the second…
Hokies favored by a touchdown. Thoughts after each of the first three quarters coming your way, followed by some wrap-up thoughts once the print column’s done. Enjoy the game!
Saturday Virginia Tech column: Five underpinnings of an overachieving defense.
BLACKSBURG — The leading tackler on the nation’s fourth-ranked defense remembers sitting in the Lane Stadium stands many years ago, pondering all the glorious possibilities.
What if he could run out of the tunnel as a part of the team? What if, as a senior, he could elbow his way onto the kickoff-coverage unit? What if he even went so far as to make a tackle in an actual game? Wouldn’t that be so great?
“I remember joking with Dad that if I ever got to be the longsnapper on the field goal team, I would be happy,” Virginia Tech linebacker Jack Tyler says. “Obviously now, the expectations have all changed.”
Tyler’s story is that of a walk-on living his dream, a wonderful tale that should be told and retold no matter how trite it might become to the cynic. But look around this defense that’s allowing a paltry 241 yards per game. The stories of overachievement are everywhere. (Read the whole thing here.)
Kickoff at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Drop by and join in all the revelry.