Virginia Tech Beats North Carolina 43-41 in Historic Six-Overtime Game

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Blacksburg, VA — On a night where the Marching Virginians revived the “Stick It In” chant, it was only fitting that Quincy Patterson would indeed stick it in from three yards out for the win.

Patterson’s two-point conversion in the sixth overtime gave Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-2 ACC) a 43-41 triumph over North Carolina (3-4, 2-2 ACC) in the longest game in ACC history. It was the first time that a new NCAA rule requiring nothing but two-point conversions after four overtimes took effect in a game.

“It was definitely one for the ages,” said wide receiver Tre Turner, who caught five passes for 106 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown from Hendon Hooker for the Hokies first touchdown of the game. “I’ve never been a part of something like that. I’m just saying the whole time, ‘Just look at Lane. Just look at Lane Stadium.’”

It was one of the most gritty and resilient performances from a Virginia Tech team in recent history in front of a sold-out crowd. The team responded on every occasion, trailing 10-0 right out of the gate, 31-24 late in the fourth quarter, and 41-34 in overtime.

“From a coaching standpoint, I don’t know if I have been more proud of a group than I am of this group tonight,” Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “How they played and how they competed for 60-plus minutes. It’s all about their body of work. That’s the one thing I challenged these guys – it’s going to take everybody practicing like we play because you never know when that opportunity is going to come up.”

Virginia Tech Bud Foster
Bud Foster (Ivan Morozov)

That opportunity certainly did arise on a number of occasions for a short-handed Hokies’ roster. Chamarri Conner and Caleb Farley both left with injuries in the game. So did Hendon Hooker toward the end of the second quarter, and Ryan Willis left a lot to be desired in relief. Lecitus Smith could not give it a go at right guard, and Dalton Keene even took over as the backup running back to Deshawn McClease.

“[Ladler] steps up and makes two huge plays,” Fuente said. “I think about Armani Chatman gets thrown into the game and performs at a high level. I think about Quincy Patterson gets thrown in the game and performs at a high level. Austin Cannon played all or most of the football game. That’s what football teams do. That’s what football teams have to do.”

With the second quarter winding down, Hendon Hooker awkwardly hyperextended his knee (don’t click that link if you’re squeamish) on a quarterback read option. He ran one more play, then exited the game. Ryan Willis completed a third down fade pass to Damon Hazelton for the 11-yard touchdown to give Virginia Tech the 21-17 lead heading into the half.

However, Willis was largely ineffective to start the second half. After a three-and-out on the first drive, he took a sack that knocked the Hokies out of field goal range on the next possession and was instantly given the hook as Fuente decided to hand the reins of the offense to Patterson from that point forward.

Virginia Tech was limited to a run-heavy offense with Patterson behind center, but it was effective for the Hokies. Patterson ran the ball 21 times and only threw it six times, completing three.

“We had our third-team quarterback in the game,” Fuente said. “It’s going to be scaled down. It was definitely scaled down. In the same respect, at no point did I think we were going to put him back there and just run it the whole time.” 

Following a reverse flea flicker where UNC freshman quarterback Sam Howell connected with a wide open Antoine Green for a 68-yard touchdown, Patterson and Co. got the ball back down 31-24 with 5:11 remaining.

Patterson connected with Tayvion Robinson for a 22-yard gain. On the next play, Patterson took the quarterback keeper to the right and burst through the hole untouched for a 53-yard touchdown to tie the game.

Quincy Patterson races away from the North Carolina defense for a 53-yard touchdown. (Ivan Morozov)

“Somehow I kicked in another gear,” said Patterson who ran the ball 22 times for 122 yards while adding 54 yards passing. “They missed and from there it was just clear. I knew it was a touchdown at that point.”

The game remained scoreless for the rest of regulation and called for overtime inside Lane Stadium. After exchanging field goals in the first overtime, Howell found Beau Corrales for an 8-yard touchdown on third down in the second overtime.

Three straight runs and Virginia Tech suddenly faced a fourth-and-3 situation with the game on the line. The Tar Heels stacked the box expecting Patterson to pound it up the middle, but instead he dropped back and threw a dime to Hazelton in stride for an 18-yard TD.

Damon Hazelton hauls in a perfectly thrown 18-yard touchdown pass from Quincy Patterson on 4th and 3 to tie it at 41 in the second overtime. (Ivan Morozov)

“Part of it is because of his threat running the football, you get some advantageous looks to throw it,” Fuente said. “It was a day one installation type play.”

“When they called the play I knew it was a touchdown at that point,” Patterson said. “It’s something we practice all the time. Something coaches see and they were comfortable calling that.”

In overtime No. 3, the Hokies went three-and-out and Brian Johnson promptly missed the 41-yard field goal. North Carolina gained a first down on its drive, but a holding penalty pushed the Tar Heels back. 

Noah Ruggles took the field for a 35-yard field goal attempt, and he was double-iced, first by his own head coach Mack Brown, then by Fuente. Ruggles’ kicked sailed wide right and the game drifted into a fourth overtime.

Virginia Tech’s Jermaine Waller celebrates a missed overtime field goal by UNC’s Noah Ruggles (96) (Ivan Morozov)

“If they would have made one more field goal, I’d still feel the same way about our team,” Fuente said. “If it would have gone the other way, I still would have been up here talking about how proud I am of our guys and their ability to battle.”

Jermaine Waller blocked Ruggles’ field goal attempt in the fourth overtime, setting up the chance for Brian Johnson to be the hero. Instead, Brown iced Johnson, and his 42-yard field goal was wide right to keep the score 41-41.

From that point the kickers were able to hang up their cleats because for the first time this year, the new overtime rules came into effect. In the offseason, a new rule was added where teams rotate two-point conversion attempts from the 3-yard line to determine a winner, beginning with the fifth overtime.

“At that point it was life or death,” Turner said. “It was really a sudden death situation.”

It’s an odd rule that left many of the fans, sportswriters, and even players baffled at what was about to occur.

“No. I had no idea,” Turner said. “I’m confused while I’m running on the field. ‘Why is the ball on the 3-yard line? What are we doing?’ We run one play and we don’t get it and I’m still on the field. If you go back, I’m still on the field confused.”

Virginia Tech’s attempt in the fifth overtime fell incomplete. Howell took the field three yards away from the win. He faked the run up the middle and pitched to Michael Carter on the outside. Khalil Ladler snuffed it out from the get-go, tackling Carter behind the line of scrimmage and forcing overtime No. 6 in the process.

“I knew I had to have the back and I couldn’t let him get outside,” Ladler said. “I knew where my help was, so I just tried to force him back inside to all of my help. Credit to the other guys. I made the play, but it was a team effort.”

On North Carolina’s attempt in the sixth overtime, it was again Ladler to the rescue as he sacked Howell in the backfield while scrambling around trying to find an open receiver. It was another integral play for the whip/nickelback who’s seen his playing time reduced this year with the emergence of Conner.

Khalil Ladler (9) closes in on an overtime sack of Sam Howell. (Ivan Morozov)

“Lad took advantage of that opportunity,” Foster said. “I couldn’t be more proud of a guy. He’s battled some things. He played a lot more last year and he’s got a different role this year. He stepped up big on our football team and that’s a credit to him and his belief in us.”

Four hours and six minutes after the start of the game, Patterson and the offensive line outmuscled the North Carolina front as he plunged forward for the 2-point try to cap a historic game.

“It was really just an outside zone play,” Patterson said. “Quarterback keep all the way. I’ve seen the hole, cut up. It couldn’t really get any easier. I really don’t know how I felt. It’s like an out of body experience.”

Quincy Patterson (4) bulls in for the game-winning touchdown in the sixth overtime. (Ivan Morozov)

The future for Quincy Patterson remains uncertain, but it’s the type of game that fans will recall his heroics and the team’s fortitude for years to come.

“It was just so many overtimes,” McClease said. “What was it, five? Six.”

McClease’s laugh said it all. At the end of a wacky, zany, and historic six-overtime game, it’s all you can do.

Notes and Loose Ends

  • Fuente provided a brief update on the status of quarterback Hendon Hooker postgame. “I thought he was going to play in the second half,” Fuente said. “I don’t think it’s a long term issue. That’s what I think right now. We’re not going to put him out there if he can’t do the things that he can do.”
  • Rayshard Ashby led the Hokies with 17 tackles. Jarrod Hewitt and Norell Pollard had particularly strong games from the defensive tackle spot with 2 ½ and 2 sacks respectively.
  • Sam Howell finished the game 26-of-49 passing for 348 yards and five touchdowns. The true freshman is going to be a thorn in the side of ACC defenses for the next three years.
  • McClease carried the ball 13 times for 72 yards. He also recorded a touchdown for the third straight week. Dalton Keene added seven carries for 25 yards, with a fumble.
  • Virginia Tech’s two-game streak without a turnover was snapped when Hooker mishandled a snap on the first possession.
  • The Hokies have a bye week before traveling to Notre Dame for a November 2nd game (2:30 Eastern, NBC).

— hokiesports.com box score —

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37 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. First time all year I felt a sense of hope was during this game. All other games have been dreadful to watch and left you feeling very uneasy about this program, not just this years team. Even Miami game they were gifted a huge advantage early and had to scratch and claw to survive that one. This one tho….. whew! Harkins back to the games of my youth when Lane was rocking and we block a kick and the defense steps up big! Couple possessions in this game felt like old school defense, esp when we pinned them deep on a punt and got a run stuff, sack, and incompletion on three straight plays. First time the defense had done that in years it seemed like!! Amazing environment and game and even better win for a bunch of young kids who, for the first time, truly responded after losing two turnovers, giving up the lead late in the fourth, and the ups and down of OT found a way to get it done!! Might have just been for this game but if so it was a doozy. Hopefully this is a building block and one of the games we look back at where the program took a step forward (Miami 95’ and WVU 04’).

  2. Now, if they could just get rid of those God-awful dirty looking burgundy practice pants w/ no stripes and black socks! what a sandlot, rag-tag looking uniform!

  3. Does the quote from Tre Turner bother anyone else??? We didn’t make sure that all of the players going out on the field know that it’s just a two-point conversion and that they don’t have four downs???

  4. I had to watch on a iPhone because fox sports south showed vt to be shown but they had tcu I think. my wonderful wife found the game on the iPhone. this is the first time in a long time vt scored on a couple of long plays in the same game, both on a pass and on a run, great run by Patterson. the best thing was we can always say we won the first ot game with the new ot rules, and we did it over unc “cheats”. I look forward to the rest of the season.

  5. As much as I hate it for Willis, QP needs to get all the 2nd team reps from here on. This team and coaching staff needs an athletic QB to win and Willis just doesn’t provide that!

    1. 100%. Willis just doesn’t fit in the offense Fu and Corny want to run. And now he is so scared to make a mistake he is almost incapacitated back there if there is the first sign of pressure. Gotta go with QP as QB2 (barring a more significant injury than anticipated to HH).

  6. I was dreading what would happen in this game and couldn’t watch ilive until I returned home after being out with friends. I watched the very end of regulation and half time on my iPhone with my headphones on while my wife tried to fall asleep. Its been a while since a Virginia Tech game has been that exciting. That they wound up pulling out the win in the end was just icing on the cake. Good for the team!

  7. This was one of the grittiest (most gritty?) performances by the Hokies in recent memory. Guys kept going down and the next man truly stepped up. I would never had expected this depth of effort after the Duke game, but this team has obviously determined that the Duke game would not define them. It wasn’t always pretty but the excitement level was off the charts! This was very different than the Miami game where they got a big lead and had to hold on. This was getting behind and digging down, clawing back each and every time refusing to lose. Awesome effort. Win or lose, these guys have my heart back!

    Ok stat guys, can you ever remember when 3 separate Hokie QBs scored (pass or run) in a game? if it ever happened before it must have been in “mop-up” at the end of a runaway game.

    1. The Florida State game in I believe 2008 had 3 qbs with Glennon and Tyrod going down and Cory Holt played. Not sure if all completed a pass but I remember 3 playing.

  8. Best defensive effort in a game giving up 41 pts that I can recall. I never once felt like the team was playing poorly on D. UNC’s QB is good so hats off to him. I’m still pumped from the end of that game and it’s 2pm on Sunday!

  9. This game had the 2002 Syracuse game written all over it. We missed a couple of FGs that would of won it in regulation and OT during that game we lost. Glad we pulled this one out. Great team effort

  10. Appreciate the highlight packet. Could not get the game in Tennessee. Can you believe it, they showed Kansas State instead?

    1. Here in NY, we got the Astros – Yankees pregame crapola. YES Network had our game listed on the schedule,and then we get that crapfest.

      As a Mets fan I was super pissed off. Which is better than being super pissed on I guess.

  11. A real “classic” for certain. Yesterday I saw what VT football is all about! A true “team effort” if I ever saw one! Huge win for the program and our team. Fans were terrific – Lane was rocking all four-plus hours. This win is one none of us will ever forget. Thank you to the coaches and the players for making this possible.

  12. They really had fight and resilience. Fun game to watch. Great crowd. Great win. Contribution from lots of guys including td throws from 3 qb’s. Is that a first in Lane.

  13. My gut told me our chances were slim coming into the game. I actually cut away from the game when we lost the half time lead…I hate that churning in my stomach. But I checked back in a couple of times to watch one of the most unbelievable efforts ever in Lane. I thought our only chance was Fuente doesn’t like Carolina, and would our guys follow the coaches lead. Boy did they ever. I believe they won this one for Coach Fuente. I believe for sure they have bought what he is selling. After last years disappointing losing record, I feel as good about Hokie football since Beamer retired. Yesterday’s win was classic, vintage old time Lane.

    I said before the season I felt like we’d beat ND. I still can recall our 2016 win at their place, kinda like we staked a claim to their field. The way our guys played for Fuente yesterday I wouldn’t be surprised to see us come away from South Bend a winner.

  14. Classic Bud Foster game…..take a punch early, then over course of the game slowly take over. Wasn’t pretty, but Bud had D in the right spots most of the game, but for a couple of big plays. Missed tackles kept this from ending sooner.

    I hope we can dispense with the “players aren’t buying what Fuentes selling”…..this means you Herbstreit ! (TIC…..sort of). Plenty of areas to improve on, but let’s build on what we have not throw up our collective hands and quit.
    What a game!

  15. Obviously the historic win was unbelievable but my wife and I loved hearing the “Stick it in Cheer” radiate from the TV……if was so loud and clear. What a perfectly timed call by the Marching Virginians if that was their doing. My 15yr old daughter had never heard it and was so impressed and amazed at the cheer. D.C. Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers are somewhere smiling again.

  16. Well written article. The statistics presentation is awesome
    I am really proud of our “never give up football team.” What a gutsy group of guys!!!!!

    1. Can’t wait to watch this team mature, and show their talent next season, and beyond. What a magnificent showcase for all the recruits that were on campus….the team….Lane crowd….homecoming……..I know that would really standout in my mind come decision time……GO HOKIES!!!!!!!

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