Hokies Struggle, but Pick Up Key ACC Win

North Carolina..........0  3  0  7 - 10
Virginia Tech (17)....  7  0 10  0 - 17

Scoring Summary:

1st Quarter
10:12 VT - Taylor 5 yd run (Dunlevy)

2nd Quarter
09:48 NC - Barth 32 yd FG

3rd Quarter
13:24 VT - Dunlevy 52 yd FG
02:17 VT - Ore 1 yd run (Dunlevy)

4th Quarter
05:34 NC - Elzy 1 yd run (Barth)

Virginia Tech’s offense struggled, but the defense came up with two big turnovers to propel the #17 Hokies to a 17-10 victory over UNC in Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon. With the win, Tech improved to 4-1 overall, with a 1-0 mark in ACC play. The Tar Heels dropped to 1-4, with an 0-2 record in conference play.

The good news for the offense is that Branden Ore had his most productive game of the season. The r-junior tailback carried the ball 19 times for 93 yards and one touchdown. Ore scored one touchdown on the day, averaged 4.9 yards per carry, and was never tackled behind the line of scrimmage.

As a team, Tech ran for 165 yards and averaged 4.6 yards per carry. 60 of those yards belonged to Eddie Royal, who ran 53 yards on a reverse on Virginia Tech’s first offensive play of the game.

The Hokies were better on the ground against the Tar Heels than against previous opponents, but Tech couldn’t establish any sort of a passing game. Tyrod Taylor was just 10-of-19 for 66 yards, and threw the first interception of his college career. Taylor was injured on one play, and Sean Glennon came in and completed a 10 yard pass to Josh Morgan, which led to a Tech field goal.

Taylor was sacked four times, which resulted in a loss of 17 yards. Eddie Royal led the team in receiving with four catches, but only gained 14 yards. Josh Morgan had three receptions for 24 yards, but dropped an easy slant in the fourth quarter on a perfectly thrown ball from Taylor that would have kept a drive alive.

UNC finished with 306 yards of total offense, which seems a bit high, but Tech’s defense was on the field for most of the game. UNC ran 70 plays to Tech’s 56, and had the ball for 34 minutes.

Xavier Adibi led the Hokies with 15 tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, and one interception that he returned 31 yards. Tech’s other linebackers played well also. Vince Hall had 13 tackles, and whip linebacker Cam Martin had 10 tackles and three sacks.

The Hokies posted nine tackles for loss, including six sacks. UNC quarterback T.J. Yates was pressured for much of the game.


UNC got the ball first, and promptly went three and out. The possession was halted by a third down sack by defensive end Chris Ellis. The Tar Heels punted, and the Hokies took over on their own 30 yard line.

On the first play of the drive, Kenny Lewis took the handoff from Tyrod Taylor and ran left, where he pitched the ball on a reverse to Eddie Royal. Royal took it down the right sideline for a gain of 53 yards, all the way to the UNC 17 yard line. It was a good start for Tech offensively.

After the long run by Royal, Tech began to run the ball up the middle out of the shotgun formation, which seemed to be their primary focus of the game. Ore advanced the ball to the one yard line on four runs, but a false start penalty pushed Tech back to the six yard line.

After a one yard gain by Ore, Tyrod Taylor dropped back to pass for the first time, and was pressured. Taylor rolled to his right and decided to keep it himself, running five yards for a touchdown. Jud Dunlevy’s extra point was good, and Tech led 7-0 with 10:12 left in the first quarter.

However, that was the only time Tech scored in the first half. The Hokies threatened again early in the second quarter. They had the ball at the UNC 21 yard line and faced third down and three. Taylor dropped back to pass and had tight end Sam Wheeler wide open over the middle. However Taylor’s pass was too high and bounced off Wheeler’s fingertips to UNC safety Deunta Williams, who returned it to the UNC 49 yard line.

The Tar Heels put together their only scoring drive of the first half following this turnover. Facing third and six from Tech’s 47 yard line, T.J. Yates hit wide receiver Hakeem Nicks for an 18 yard gain. UNC made it as far as the Tech 15 yard line, but were stopped on third down and had to settle for a 32 yard Connor Barth field goal. With 9:48 remaining in the second quarter, the Hokies led 7-3.

Neither team crossed midfield for the remainder of the half, and the Hokies still had that four point advantage at halftime.

Tech received the opening kickoff of the second half. It was a very short kick which Josh Morgan fielded at the 25. Morgan found a crease and returned the kick to the UNC 42 yard line. The Hokies were in business with great field position, but couldn’t manage to pick up a first down.

Tyrod Taylor gained four yards on first down, but was sacked for a seven yard loss on second down. Taylor was injured on the play, and Sean Glennon came in cold from the bench without warming up. On third and 13 from the UNC 45, Glennon found Josh Morgan over the middle for a 10 yard gain, setting up a long field goal attempt for Jud Dunlevy.

Dunlevy nailed the 52 yard attempt, which was a career high for the senior, who is starting for the first time. With 13:24 left in the third quarter, Virginia Tech led 10-3.

UNC put together their most impressive drive of the game on their next possession. They began their drive at their own 20 yard line. At first it appeared that they were going three and out, but after Yates’ third down pass fell incomplete, a flag appeared and Chris Ellis was penalized for roughing the passer, which gave the Tar Heels a first down.

Later in the drive, Cam Martin was also flagged for roughing the passer. The call on Martin was very questionable, but it gave UNC another first down. The Tar Heels took the ball to Tech’s five yard line, where they faced second and goal. Freshman tailback Ryan Houston took a handoff up the middle, but Tech’s Orion Martin knocked the ball loose from behind, and it fell into the end zone, where Kam Chancellor recovered it for a touchback.

Tech’s defense came up big again later in the third quarter. On first down from their own 36 yard line, the Tar Heels elected to pass, and T.J. Yates’ attempt over the middle was picked off by Xavier Adibi and returned to the UNC 12 yard line.

Three plays later Branden Ore found the end zone on a run up the middle, putting the Hokies up 17-3 with 2:37 left in the third quarter. It appeared Tech was safe, but the game was not decided until the fourth quarter.

Taking over with 11:03 left in the game at their own 24 yard line, UNC brought in Anthony Elzy at tailback and proceeded to run right at the winded Tech defense, which had been on the field for most of the game. Many of Elzy’s runs were to the outside, whereas the Tar Heels had used Ryan Houston to pound it up the middle for the first three quarters.

Elzy and quarterback T.J. Yates led UNC on a touchdown drive that got the Tar Heels back in the game. Yates converted a huge fourth and nine with a 13 yard completion to Elzy to the Tech 15 yard line in the biggest play of the drive. Elzy later scored on a one yard run, and UNC cut the lead to 17-10 with 5:34 left in the game.

Tech got the ball back and had a chance to run out the clock. Facing third and four from their own 27 yard line, the Hokies went for the first down through the air. Tyrod Taylor threw a perfectly thrown slant to an open Josh Morgan, but the senior receiver bobbled it, and then dropped it. Tech was forced to punt, and Brent Bowden delivered with a 59 yarder that was downed at the UNC 14 yard line.

UNC once again went to Elzy, whose 25 yard run on third and one took the ball to the Tar Heel 48 yard line. The Tar Heels advanced the ball to the Tech 44, where they called a timeout facing third and two with 1:41 remaining in the game. On the ensuing play, Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster blitzed Cam Martin from the backside, and Martin chased down Yates and came away with a huge sack, making it fourth and seven.

UNC had to go for it, and they made matters worse by committing a false start, making it fourth and 12 from the 46. Yates’ fourth down pass fell incomplete, and the Hokies took over, ran out the clock, and won 17-10.

Virginia Tech will travel to Clemson to take on the Tigers next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 6pm, and the game will be televised by ESPN. Clemson was undefeated headed into today’s matchup with Georgia Tech, but lost to the Yellow Jackets 13-3 in Atlanta.


                          VT         NC
                        ----        ----
First downs               11          18
Rushed-yards          36-165      45-124
Passing yards             76         182
Sacked-yards lost       4-17        6-27
Return yards              69          74
Passes               11-20-1     16-25-1
Punts                 7-43.1      6-47.7
Fumbles-lost             0-0         2-1
Penalties-yards         9-80        5-45
Time of possession     26:00       34:00
Att: 66,233


RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Ore 19-93
Royal 2-60, Taylor 11-11, Lewis 2-3, Team 2-(-2). 
UNC, Elzy 11-74, Houston 18-54, White 2-10
Foster 1-4, Tate 2-3, Yates 11-(-21).

PASSING-Virginia Tech, Taylor 10-19-1-72
Glennon 1-1-10. UNC, Yates 16-25-182-1.

RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Royal 4-14,
Morgan 3-24, Harper 2-38, Weatherford 1-3
Lewis 1-(-3). UNC, Hicks 8-94, Tate 3-31 
Elzy 2-25, Thornton 1-20, White 1-8, Foster 1-4.