No. 14 Virginia Tech Schools North Carolina With Commanding 59-7 Win

Virginia Tech football
Greg Stroman’s punt return helped ignite Virginia Tech’s dominating win over North Carolina. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech’s win over North Carolina in 2016 was viewed as tainted by some, due to the hurricane weather conditions. On Saturday, No. 14 Virginia Tech left little doubt on who the better team was, thanks to a 59-7 drubbing of North Carolina.

“We found a way to get this done and get it behind us, and we’re ready to move forward,” said Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente. “I was proud of our guys. I know North Carolina has a lot of things going on over there, and I feel for Coach (Larry) Fedora and the things that they’re going through. I’m just really proud of our effort in all three phases of the game.”

It was a total domination. Virginia Tech scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams, the first time since the Purdue game in 2015 that the Hokies scored in all three phases. Greg Stroman returned his fourth career punt for a touchdown, and Ricky Walker and Reggie Floyd scored defensive touchdowns. All of these touchdowns occurred in the first half, which is the first time Tech has scored three non-offensive touchdowns in the first half since 2007.

While Saturday wasn’t a complete game by any stretch — the offense finished with just 383 total yards — Virginia Tech thoroughly dominated an inept North Carolina team.

“It was nice. We made big plays on defense, we scored two touchdowns, we returned a punt for a touchdown,” Fuente said. “At times we played well on offense and at times, it was a struggle. I think that’s going to be us, quite honestly. We have a veteran defense, some young guys out there offensively, and we’ll take some of the good with the bad.”

The Hokies’ offense didn’t ace their test on Saturday, but they definitely passed. Josh Jackson finished the day 10-20 for 132 yards and three touchdowns. Coleman Fox led the Hokies in rushing with 58 yards, while Travon McMillian totaled 45 rushing yards and a receiving touchdown. Tech’s offense was slow in the first half, but picked things up in the second.

“They didn’t do much, it was mainly man,” Jackson said. “It was man coverage, we just didn’t execute well. We had a couple drops, I had a couple bad balls, which happens. Once we got that out of our system, we started to execute pretty well.”

Tech’s defense took North Carolina to school. The Tar Heels finished with only 172 yards of total offense and didn’t score until the fourth quarter. North Carolina turned the ball over three times and was just 3-17 on third down conversion attempts. The Hokies also registered six sacks and 13 total tackles for loss, making it a long day for Carolina quarterbacks Chazz Surratt and Brandon Harris. Tim Settle led the way up front, finishing with a sack and 3.5 tackles for loss.

Virginia Tech football
Virginia Tech’s defensive line harassed North Carolina quarterbacks Chazz Surratt (12) and Brandon Harris all game long. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

“I was really proud of our kids and how hard they fought from that opening kickoff until the final whistle,” said defensive coordinator Bud Foster. “That’s all you can ask, but we challenged our guys. Charley (Wiles) and myself, we challenge those guys to, we needed to up our game and put more pressure on the quarterback, just with our front four, and not have to do it by bringing a fifth or sixth guy.”

“I’m not sure why it worked so well, but I know Coach Foster challenged us, and challenged the D-line,” said linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka, who had 1.5 tackles for loss and an interception. “Just to have a great day and get a certain amount of sacks. They definitely showed up and rose to the challenge.”

While the Virginia Tech offense sputtered in the early going, Tech’s special teams and defense issued quite the punishment in the first half. Tech brought the Tar Heels to a halt offensively, holding North Carolina to just 31 yards of offense in the first quarter and 67 yards in the second. Add on Walker’s fumble return and Stroman’s punt return, and the Hokies held a comfortable 14-0 lead after the first quarter.

“That’s always nice when the defense and special teams can help out and score points,” Jackson said. “I’d say it was very relieving. It’s also just awesome to be a part of, so getting that head start really helped us out.”

The fumble recovery was actually Walker’s first career touchdown. Not just in college, but in his entire life.

“I was lucky enough to get the ‘Sunday Hop’ right in my hands, and I just knew they were going to blow it incomplete, but I just ran to the endzone and the next thing you know, my teammates are celebrating with me,” Walker said.

It was almost like North Carolina didn’t show up for the end of the half. Motuapuaka batted a pass at the line of scrimmage, and it was returned 69 yards by Reggie Floyd for a score with under two minutes to play. Tech got the ball back again before halftime, and added on an 8-yard touchdown reception by Eric Kumah. The Hokies held a whopping 35-0 lead on the Tar Heels heading into the break.

The second half was much of the same. While the North Carolina offense continued to look fraudulent, Virginia Tech poured on another 17 points in the third quarter. Jackson tossed a touchdown pass to Cam Phillips to kick off the second half, while AJ Bush helped Samuel Denmark get his first career touchdown reception with a 16-yard pass. North Carolina scored early in the fourth quarter, but allowed a 1-yard touchdown run from Jalen Holston to widen the gap once again.

Virginia Tech is now 6-1 on the season, and 2-1 in the ACC. The Hokies host Duke next weekend on Oct. 28, before a critical two-game road trip vs. Miami and Georgia Tech. If Tech takes care of business vs. the Blue Devils next weekend, that road trip will be the determining factor in Tech’s season. But for now, the Hokies are happy with the win.

“It feels a little gratifying,” said Phillips, who also set the school record for receptions with 212, passing Isaiah Ford with 210. “As you’ve heard, the game last year with the hurricane, the weather today was what, 65-70 degrees? So, just to go out there and win like we did, play a complete game — offense, defense and special teams — it was just really fun to see and just fun to be a part of it.”

— box score —


29 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Tuberville had to be the worst color guy I have ever listened to, and I agreed with his assessment that VT needs to work on the running game….the first time. By the 38th time, I was tired of his relentless approach. It made me think he thought he was a better coach than either of the guys on the sidelines. There is a reason he is now a color guy. Dude was completely anal about the whole thing. When one team beats the other by 52, the color guy should be able to find at least a little something positive to talk about…….

  2. Who considers last year’s blow out tainted? The fans (?) of UNCheat? I could have sworn I got just as wet sitting in that rain as the hand full of UNCheat fans on the other side. And the ball we were playing with was just as wet as the ball UNCheat was playing with.

    Unless through some miracle, or divine intervention, it was only raining on UNCheat players and not VT players, and and the field was always dry when we were on D and O, but the field was only wet when they were on O and D.

  3. To “former” coach “Tub” and some Hokie fans – Please quit criticizing the lack of a dominant running game. It’s the result of years of sub par OL recruiting. Please give CJF and staff time to do their own recruiting. He is making the best with what he’s got……….and doing a darn good job of it! Does anyone object to the amazing turnaround in just 1 year, now 2?

  4. why was last year beat down “tainted” again? it was at their stadium and both teams played on the same field. our guys didn’t cheat. they just executed better.

    1. I second that, though the dude got a bit repetitive. But he’s right. To be a great team, a league-winning team, a potential playoff team, you have to be able to work yourself out of ANY jam. This will eventually require running the ball/stopping the run at some point. Even if your (productive) system is spread passing, a strong plan B is necessary in order to relentlessly submerge all competition.

      1. A “little” repetitive….talk about understatement! Hearing about how non-existent the VT running game may or may not be is tiresome. I am sure that the everyone would like to see us gashing the defenses for 9-10 yard gains on every play, but it isn’t realistic, not with this team and not the way defenses are playing us. I am sure that with the inexperience we have at wideout and at QB every team we play is going to “Bud Foster” us, and make us beat them with some form of pass.
        When I heard Tuberville talk about running for TD’s in the red zone, I thought to myself, ” Hey here’s an idea…..LET”S SCORE A TD”. Who gives a rat’s butt how……

  5. I’d like to see Coleman Fox get some first team reps. He seems like the only one of our guys that hits the hole with abandon. It seems like everyone else goes in there afraid to get hit.

    1. I have to admit…regardless of the competition (second string or no), the guy gets yards and seems QUICK to the hole…I’ve been impressed with everything I’ve seen out of him.

    2. mcmillian needs to run lower in crowded area. instead of plowing through tacklers, he got stood up a lot.

    3. He seems to spot openings better than any other back. He’s the second best back on the team, and I don’t understand why he only gets cleanup duty.

  6. Tell us more Cam Phillips! 😁😂🤣😁
    “Every player, every coach has a certain team that really gets under their skin and they really, really want to beat more than everybody else,” said Phillips. “I know for Coach Fu, this is probably that team.”

    Go Hokies!

  7. For those of us watching on TV — how disappointing was Tommy Tuberville as the color analyst? And by disappointing I’m being kind. Wow. Love me some Coach Beamer dropping in but that went too long. HOWEVER, Tubs is right about one thing. VT HAS to be able to run the ball and force its will on an opponent at some point. I really thought they’d hammer the Heels on the ground in the 2nd half b/c their guys were spent in the first half. Again, it’s not a complaint with a 50-point win, it’s an observation moving forward as the competition gets better marching toward an ACC championship.

      1. I did as well after recording the game while out of town then watching it later. He made among many good points one of which and especially aimed at Mook Reynolds and our tackling and it drives me crazy! Wrap up and stop this impact tackling where the runner bounces off or regains their balance and kills us for YAC for first downs or additional yardage in critical situations! We have got to tackle better or some of these down the stretch games with it taking our offense so long to get going are going to cost us, especially against GT and Miami! He is also right about our offense and not being able to run the ball, especially between the tackles and goal line situations if we really want to compete against some of the more physical teams we are going to face. You might not like Tuberville but he was right on in his assessment about our team and some of our players piss poor tackling. I am sure Bud is not happy about it not does he teach that kind of tackling although his defense helped our average looking offense yesterday have short fields and along with our special teams put a lot of points on the board of those 59! I love beating UNC in anything but once again Fuente knows with our youth on offense we are going to struggle but we can all hope the just keep improving each week! You can fix poor tackling but not being able to run the ball and finding some depth at key positions is still a big question mark?

    1. Tuberville was “debbie downer.” It was like he was hungover. Very few compliments and lots of critiques. The Espn2 people are not as prepared, mispronounce players names and wow, room for improvement.

      1. That where duely deserved as far as the critics if you take your O&M glasses off and are being honest with all due respect. No real fan of Tuberville and most of the people calling these games but he announced the game with insight of being a head coach and having knowledge from that perspective and being dead on about several issues with our team going into the meat of our schedule.

  8. UNC offense was poor today. The Heels defense looked like they were a few non-injuries away from being good. Hokies fans know what it is like to lose alarming amounts of starters to injury’s few years back. Now we have to beat a feisty Duke team with a good running game.

  9. Hokie Justice Served.

    Excellent read and what a fun game as nothing says NC2VT than a Butt Whoppin’ like 52+ on the powder blue.

    Let’s Go…Hokies!!!
    Beat Duke!

  10. Well played Ricky. How transparent of you, unlike uncheat of course. Too bad the tarheel faithful won’t read this gem. I liked how you put “schools” in the title and it appeared again later too. Tech delivered quite the “punishment” unlike the NCAA. Nice touch. North Carolina “didn’t show up” at the end of the half. Of course the icing on this cake was the offense looking “fradulent.” Let me add this. I was at the game sitting near the UNC band. At the 14:05 mark of the fourth quarter with a score of 52-7 they played a song called “sledge hammer”. Perfect!

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