Virginia Tech (14).... 7 7 7 14 - 35 North Carolina ...... 3 0 0 7 - 10 Scoring Summary: 1st Quarter 09:59 NC - Barth 46 yd FG 00:31 VT - Ore 1 yd run (Pace kick) 2nd Quarter 02:06 VT - Ore 4 yd run (Pace kick) 3rd Quarter 05:00 VT - Ore 3 run (Pace kick) 4th Quarter 06:43 VT - Hill 69 yd int. return (Pace kick) 04:49 VT - Boone 41 yd pass from Whitaker (Pace kick) 01:25 NC - Foster 18 yd pass from Sexton (Barth kick)
During the entire offseason, coaches, fans and analysts speculated that Virginia Tech’s offense would struggle, while the defense and special teams would carry the load. That’s exactly what we saw on Saturday in Chapel Hill, as Tech’s defense smothered the UNC offense, while the special teams came up with a big play in the Hokies’ 35-10 victory.
The Virginia Tech defense intercepted four passes, including one returned for a touchdown by Brenden Hill, and the special teams blocked a UNC punt that led to a touchdown, as Beamerball continued its much-hyped comeback for the 2006 season.
Tech tailback Branden Ore played an outstanding game, and he was the Hokies’ only viable offensive threat during the game. Ore gained 111 yards on 22 carries, an average of five yards per carry, and had three rushing touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 37 yards.
As expected, Sean Glennon wasn’t asked to do much. Most of his passes were short attempts to wide receivers on screen passes and outs. He finished the game 10 of 17 for 66 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Glennon did have one turnover, a fumbled snap.
Only five Tech players caught passes during the game. David Clowney caught four passes for 18 yards, and Josh Hyman had three receptions for 12 yards. Greg Boone had one catch for a 41 yard touchdown from backup quarterback Ike Whitaker, and Sean Glennon caught one of his own passes that was deflected by a UNC defender. Ore caught the other two passes.
The Tech defense was outstanding, allowing just 268 yards of total offense. UNC gained 88 yards against Tech’s second and third string defenders in the final two drives of the game.
Xavier Adibi, Brenden Hill, Aaron Rouse and Kam Chancellor all recorded interceptions for the Hokies. Backup defensive tackle Cordarrow Thompson had Tech’s only sack of the game.
Xavier Adibi had eight tackles for Tech, a team high. He also had an interception, which he returned 40 yards to the UNC one yard line. Noland Burchette, Aaron Rouse and Vince Hall each had six tackles, and each had a tackle for loss as well. The Hokies made eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage during the game. Defensive tackle Carlton Powell had two tackles for loss.
One other defender that deserves mention is cornerback Brandon Flowers. Flowers had three tackles, a tackle for loss and two pass breakups. He was all over the UNC wide receivers, and he played an exceptional game.
Tech’s offense gained just 224 yards during the game, 41 of which came on Greg Boone’s touchdown reception. Starting whip linebacker Brenden Hill recorded 69 all purpose yards during the game with his interception return for a touchdown, and that was second on the team, including offensive players.
Tech’s offense got off to a rough start from the very beginning. After Branden Ore picked up a first down on an 11 yard run, the Hokies threw three consecutive passes, all incomplete. The second pass, a wide receiver screen, was dropped by Josh Morgan. The third pass was a deep corner route to Justin Harper, who was hit early on the play by a UNC’s Jacoby Watkins, but no flag was thrown.
Nic Schmitt got off a 41 yard punt to the UNC 28 yard line, but Brandon Tate broke off a 34 yard return to the Tech 38 yard line. The Tar Heels managed to pick up one first down, but the Hokie defense held, forcing UNC to settle for a 46 yard field goal from Conner Barth. The field goal was the second longest of his career, and it made the score 3-0 North Carolina with 9:59 remaining in the first quarter.
Tech’s second offensive possession was even worse. After two straight short completions to David Clowney, Sean Glennon fumbled the snap on third down, and UNC linebacker Larry Edwards picked up the ball and returned it to the Tech 35 yard line.
The Hokie defense did its job however, as UNC went backwards on the ensuing possession. A holding penalty pushed the Tar Heels back, and they were forced to punt. Tech’s offense managed to pick up 33 yards on their next possession, but they were eventually forced to punt.
The first game breaking play from the Tech defense came on the next UNC possession. On third and seven from the Tar Heel 37 yard line, UNC quarterback Joe Dailey fired a pass over the middle that was intercepted by Xavier Adibi. Adibi returned it to the one yard line, and Branden Ore punched it in for a touchdown on the next play. The Hokies led 7-3 with 31 seconds left in the first quarter.
The defense came up big again early in the second quarter. After UNC recovered a George Bell fumble on the Tech 29 yard line, the Tar Heels quickly moved the ball to the 15 yard line. On first down, Joe Dailey threw a pass over the middle to a seemingly open receiver, but he never saw Aaron Rouse. The senior rover picked off the pass and returned it to Tech’s 28 yard line. An illegal block forced the Hokies to start their drive from their own 18.
Both teams then traded three and outs, and UNC faced fourth down on their own 28 yard line. David Wooldridge lined up to punt, but Josh Morgan knifed through the middle of the Tar Heels’ punt protection and blocked the kick. True freshman defensive end Jason Adjepong picked up the ball and took it all the way to the UNC four yard line before he was tackled. One play later, Branden Ore scored his second touchdown of the game to put Tech up 14-3. That score would stand up for the remainder of the first half.
The Hokies got the field position advantage at the beginning of the second half, and took full advantage. Tech’s defense did not allow a UNC first down in the first two drives of the third quarter, and Josh Morgan fair caught the second Tar Heel punt on the Virginia Tech 45 yard line. With a short field, the Hokies were able to generate their first scoring drive of the game.
Tech went on a 55 yard scoring drive, and Branden Ore was responsible for all but six yards of the drive. His first two runs went for 10 yards and 19 yards respectively, and he later caught a 22 yard screen pass that he took to the UNC three yard line. On the next play he finished the job that he started, scoring on a three yard touchdown run off the right side of the offensive line. After the extra point by Brandon Pace, Tech led 21-3 with exactly five minutes left in the third quarter.
The teams then combined for four punts over the next four possessions. A little over halfway through the fourth quarter, the Tech defense put the final nail in the coffin. On third and 10 from the Tech 39 yard line, UNC quarterback Cam Sexton (now playing in place of Joe Dailey) threw an interception to Brenden Hill over the middle of the field, and Hill following his blockers perfectly and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown. Tech led 28-3, and the game was no longer in doubt.
The Tech defense wasn’t quite done, however. True freshman cornerback Kam Chancellor came up with an interception on UNC’s next possession, and the Hokies took over on the Tar Heels’ 42 yard line. Two plays later, backup quarterback Ike Whitaker found tight end Greg Boone all alone in the UNC secondary for a 41 yard touchdown. The Hokies led 35-3 with 4:49 left in the game.
The UNC offense would finally find the end zone on their next possession, when Sexton hit Brooks Foster on a corner route for an 18 yard touchdown to make the score 35-10.
Next up for the Hokies are the Duke Blue Devis, who lost a heartbreaker to Wake Forest on Saturday by the final score of 14-13. The game will kickoff at noon, and it will be televised by Lincoln Financial Sports. Check your local listings for availability.
STATISTICS VT UNC ---- ---- First downs 9 16 Rushed-yards 30-117 31-89 Passing yards 107 189 Sacked-yards lost 1-8 1-2 Return yards 70 88 Passes 11-18-0 19-38-4 Punts 6-44.7 6-31.0 Fumbles-lost 5-3 1-1 Penalties-yards 7-55 1-10 Time of possession 25:31 34:29 Att: 57,000 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Ore 22-111, Bell 3-8, Lewis 3-2, Glennon 2-(-4). UNC, Warren 3-24, Edwards 11-24, Dailey 3-18, McGill 10-15, Sexton 4-8. PASSING-Virginia Tech, Glennon 10-17-66, Whitaker 1-1-41. UNC, Sexton 9-21-124-2, Dailey 10-17-55-2 RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Clowney 4-18, Hyman 3-12, Ore 2-37, Boone 1-41, Glennon 1-(-1). UNC, Hicks 5-35, Holley 4-60, Foster 3-40 Tate 2-30, Edwards 2-6, Wells 1-7, Hamlett 1-7 McGill 1-(-3).