North Carolina ....... 0 7 7 6 - 20 Virginia Tech (13).... 0 0 7 10 - 17 Scoring Summary: 2nd Quarter 02:44 NC - Boyd 13 yd pass from Yates (Barth kick) 3rd Quarter 06:44 VT - Taylor 1 yd run (Waldron kick) 01:51 NC - Little 15 yd pass from Yates (Barth) 4th Quarter 13:27 VT - Waldron 36 yd FG 11:51 VT - Taylor 1 yd run (Waldron) 02:52 NC - Barth 19 yd FG 00:00 NC - Barth 21 yd FG
A late fumble by Ryan Williams gave North Carolina good field position, and the Tar Heels converted it into a last second field goal to walk out of Lane Stadium with a 20-17 win on Thursday night. The loss drops the Hokies to 5-3 overall, and 3-2 in the ACC. UNC is now 5-3 overall, and they have a 1-3 mark in conference play.
For the second week in a row, it was a game of missed opportunities for Virginia Tech. They had the ball in North Carolina territory five times in the first half, yet failed to score a single point. They went into halftime trailing 7-0.
Tyrod Taylor was harassed by UNC’s impressive front seven for most of the night. He was 11-of-23 for 161 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked three times and pressured on countless other drop backs. Taylor scored both of Virginia Tech’s touchdowns on one yard runs.
Taylor’s favorite target was sophomore receiver Dyrell Roberts, who had his best game of the season. Roberts caught five passes for 73 yards. Jarrett Boykin added two catches for 36 yards, and Xavier Boyce had two for 34.
Ryan Williams had 23 carries for 96 yard, a good day at the office, except for that late fumble that set up UNC’s game winning field goal. The play call was questionable, as the Hokies faced third and six from their own 28 and Williams took the handoff to run off right tackle. He was stripped of the football by defensive tackle Tydreke Powell and recovered at the Virginia Tech 30.
While the offense didn’t take advantage of their opportunities in the first half, and they had a late fumble, they certainly don’t deserve all the blame. The defense was whipped at the line of scrimmage by a UNC offensive line that, until Thursday night, hadn’t played very well against decent competition.
However, they stepped up in this game. UNC ran for 181 yards and averaged 4.3 yards per carry. After giving up a sack on each of their first two drives, the Tar Heel offensive line buckled down and didn’t allow penetration for the rest of the game. Virginia Tech’s defensive linemen were consistently driven off the line of scrimmage by North Carolina’s offensive linemen.
Thanks to UNC controlling the line of scrimmage on offense and defense, they dominated time of possession. The Tar Heels controlled the ball for 36:14, while VT had the ball for just 23:46. The Hokies had the ball for only 3:45 in the critical fourth quarter.
Virginia Tech led this game 17-14 in the fourth quarter, but UNC established their dominance at the line of scrimmage over the final minutes. Trailing by three, they went on 16 play, 78 yard drive that took 8:59 off the clock and resulted in a field goal to tie the game. UNC was aided by a pass interference call on cornerback Rashad Carmichael, and they also converted a fourth and seven play with a 19 yard pass to wide receiver Greg Little.
Virginia Tech got the ball back on their own 24 with 2:46 remaining and the game tied at 17. Williams ran for four yards on first down, and Tyrod Taylor threw an incompletion on second down. On third and six, Williams took the handoff and ran off right tackle, but he fumbled the ball away and UNC recovered at the Tech 24.
The Hokies had two timeouts left, and they used them both, but they couldn’t stop the Tar Heel running game right up the middle. They advanced the ball to the Tech four, and Casey Barth nailed the game-winning 21 yard field goal from the right hash as time expired.
The first half of this game was very similar to the first half of the Georgia Tech game. The Hokies ventured into North Carolina territory five times in the opening 30 minutes and came away with 0 points. In last week’s loss to Georgia Tech, VT had the ball in Yellow Jacket territory three times in the first half and came away with no points. That’s eight empty offensive possessions in the first half of the last two games.
Virginia Tech received the opening kickoff, and their offense looked impressive to start the game. Ryan Williams took the first carry and jetted around the right side for a 25 yard gain to the North Carolina 47. It was early, and the Hokies were already threatening.
That threat didn’t last. On the next play from scrimmage, Tyrod Taylor hit Jarrett Boykin on a deep crossing pattern for a gain of 20 yards to the UNC 27. However, Boykin was stripped by Charles Brown, and Kendric Burney fell on the football on the UNC 27. Virginia Tech’s first threat was averted by UNC.
The Tech defense played very well early in the game. Nekos Brown sacked T.J. Yates on third down, and the Tar Heels punted it away. The Hokies started their next possession on their own 38, and Tyrod Taylor connected with Xavier Boyce for a 19 yard gain on a crossing pattern to put the ball at the UNC 40. Unfortunately for the Hokies, they couldn’t convert on third down and they had to rely on a Brent Bowden punt.
UNC’s next drive was a three and out, and it was killed by a third down sack by Jason Worilds and Nekos Brown. Tech’s defense was dominating the Tar Heels early in this game, but that didn’t last.
A short punt and an eight yard return by Jayron Hosley gave the Hokies the ball at the UNC 41 to start their next drive. Ryan Williams gained a total of seven yards on first and second down, and Tyrod Taylor’s third down pass was incomplete. Yet again, the Hokies couldn’t convert the field position into points.
The Hokies had another chance early in the second quarter. A 17 yard punt return by Jayron Hosley gave Tech the ball at the UNC 37. It was a great opportunity to score. Tyrod Taylor’s first down pass to David Wilson was incomplete, and then Taylor lost yardage on a running play on second down. Facing third and 15 from the UNC 42, Taylor was sacked for an eight yard loss. Brent Bowden came on to punt yet again.
North Carolina finally got on the scoreboard late in the second quarter. They began their drive at their own 16, and drove all the way to the Tech 13 where they faced third and seven. Yates dropped back and found true freshman Jheranie Boyd in the endzone for the 13 yard touchdown strike. Casey Barth’s extra point was good, and UNC led 7-0 with 2:44 remaining in the first half.
Tyrod Taylor and Dyrell Roberts got things rolling in Tech’s next drive. Taylor and Roberts hooked up three times for 38 yards on this drive, and the Hokies drove the ball all the way to the UNC 35. The drive ended on the 35 however, when Tyrod Taylor’s third and fourth down passes fell incomplete. UNC took their 7-0 lead into halftime.
Virginia Tech’s offense finally got rolling in their first possession of the second half. They drove 82 yards for the touchdown in 13 plays. The big play of the drive came on third and 17 from the Tech 11. Tyrod Taylor stepped up into the pocket under pressure and hit Dyrell Roberts for a 22 yard gain for a big first down.
The Hokies kept driving, with Taylor finding Danny Coale for 16 yards on the very next play, and then connecting with Xavier Boyce for 15 yards on the next snap. The next seven plays were all runs by Ryan Williams, and he took Tech down to the UNC 1 where they faced fourth down. Tyrod Taylor took it in on a run to the outside, and Matt Waldron’s extra point tied the game at 7 with 6:44 left in the third quarter.
UNC was quick to answer with a touchdown of their own. The key play of the drive was a 44 yard run around the right end by tailback Shaun Draughn to the Virginia Tech 17. Three plays later, Yates hit Greg Little in the endzone for a 15 yard touchdown pass on third and 8. The score was now 14-7 UNC with 1:51 remaining in the third quarter.
David Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards to the Virginia Tech 46, and the Hokies were able to drive down the field for more points. The drive stalled at the UNC 19, but Waldron’s 36 yard field goal cut the lead to four points. With 13:27 remaining in the game, UNC led 14-10.
The Hokies caught a break on their next possession. On first down, UNC tried a quick flat pass to a wide receiver. Quarterback T.J. Yates was wrapped up by Cordarrow Thompson, but he threw the ball anyway, and it was deflected and intercepted by Rashad Carmichael on the UNC 5.
That set up the go-ahead Virginia Tech touchdown. Ryan Williams took it down to the one, and Tyrod Taylor ran it in from there. Waldron’s extra point put Tech up 17-14 with 11:51 in the game, and it looked like more Thursday night magic in Lane Stadium.
UNC went on their 16 play, 78 yard drive on their next possession. It looked like the drive would be a three and out early, but Rashad Carmichael was flagged for pass interference on third and four, right in front of the Virginia Tech sideline. The Tar Heels got a free first down.
UNC was clutch for the rest of the drive. Zack Pianalto converted a third and 7 with a 17 yard reception, and later Greg Little hauled in a 19 yard reception on fourth and 7. The drive stalled at the Tech two, but Barth’s 19 yard field goal tied the game at 17.
The Tar Heels got the ball back quickly. Ryan Williams fumbled the football on his third and six run on Tech’s ensuing possession, and UNC got the ball on the VT 24 with 2:02 left. From there, six straight Ryan Houston runs advanced the ball to the Tech four. Casey Barth came on for the game winner, which was not much more than an extra point. The 21 yard field goal was good as time expired, and the UNC players had a wild celebration at midfield.
Virginia Tech returns to action next Thursday night at East Carolina. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm on ESPN.
STATISTICS NC VT ---- ---- First downs 17 11 Rushed-yards 42-181 33-95 Passing yards 131 161 Sacked-yards lost 2-10 3-26 Return yards 65 111 Passes 18-28-1 11-23-0 Punts 5-39.6 4-43.3 Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-2 Penalties-yards 6-30 5-50 Time of possession 36:14 23:46 Att: 66,233 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Williams 23-96, Oglesby 1-8, Taylor 9-(-8). NC, Draughn 12-77, Houston 18-66, Little 6-38, Boyd 2-10, TEAM 1-(-1), Yates 3-(-9). PASSING-Virginia Tech, Taylor 11-23-161-0. NC, Yates 18-28-131-1. RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Roberts 5-73, Boykin 2-36, Boyce 2-34, Coale 1-16, Williams 1-2. NC, Pianalto 6-34, Little 4-58, Highsmith 3-9, Boyd 1-13, Barham 1-7, Ramsay 1-6, Draughn 1-5, Elzy 1-(-1).