North Carolina Crushes Virginia Tech In Chapel Hill, 41-10

Drake Maye and North Carolina thumped Virginia Tech on Saturday. (Ivan Morozov)

Though Virginia Tech struck first in Chapel Hill on Saturday afternoon, North Carolina crushed the Hokies in a dreary atmosphere in Kenan Stadium, 41-10.

True freshman quarterback Drake Maye accounted for 436 yards of total offense for the Tar Heels, the sixth-most all-time in Tech history by an opponent. That mark is also the highest ever by a freshman against the Hokies. Moreover, the Huntersville, N.C. native made it look easy.

North Carolina (4-1, 1-0 ACC) took a 24-10 lead into intermission and stepped on the gas in the second half. Mack Brown’s squad scored three times and finished with 527 yards of total offense in an ACC Coastal Division thrashing, and the Hokies didn’t put up a fight. Converting third and fourth downs (9-of-18 combined) played a big part for UNC.

“I think he was as advertised,” Pry said of Maye. “We’ve got to do a better job corralling him. I was disappointed, knowing going into the game that we had to keep him caged up, we didn’t do a very good job of that.”

“There was a critical drive in that third quarter where they converted third-and-5, then they converted third-and-10, then they converted third-and-10. That’s not just on the players; that’s on me as the defensive play-caller. … We’ve got to be better on the edges. We’ve got to be hard to block, and I just feel like we’re not – I don’t see our color enough on edges in our rush game.”

At the same time, the Virginia Tech (2-3, 1-1 ACC) offense was non-existent, posting just 273 yards of total offense. Through four games against FBS opponents, that unit is averaging 279.5 yards and 16 points per game.

Keshawn King and Kaleb Smith were impactful when they touched the ball, but that didn’t happen enough. (Ivan Morozov)

The lack of explosive plays has limited the Hokies all season, as has the lack of playmakers. They have just 16 total plays of 20 yards or more in 2022, half of which are from Kaleb Smith and Keshawn King.

Against UNC, the two combined for just 12 touches for 83 yards (30% of the total output). What’s more, King had just one play in the second half, which came on a kickoff return.

“There were some tackles that I think I’d like to see him get out of, and I think that when he’s 100 percent, he can,” Pry said of King. “They’re making some shoestring plays on him that can lead to some true explosives, because we know he’s capable of that. He’s one of those guys that when you look at our offense, he needs to have three, four, five explosives a game. We’ve got to make sure he’s getting enough touches.”

Regardless, someone has to take advantage of opportunities. Smith had a chance deep down the sideline on a ball Grant Wells underthrew in the second quarter, but North Carolina cornerback Tony Grimes stripped the ball away.

“We’ve got to create more opportunities for explosive plays,” Pry said. I thought for a while there we were throwing the ball down the field. We really didn’t do that enough today and when we did, we didn’t connect. We’ve got to have receivers continue to step up.

“Sometimes you just a chuck a ball up and a guy makes a play. We’ve got to be able to make more plays.”

The Hokies were held to 10 points again this week. (Ivan Morozov)

For the first time since 1989, Tech scored ten or fewer points in back-to-back games. But entering Saturday, the Tar Heels were 126th out of the 131 FBS teams in total defense. It’s not like the Hokies faced the vaunted ’85 Bears.

Against one of the worst defensive units in the country, Virginia Tech had no answers or tricks up their sleeve. Tech punted seven times, including on five consecutive possessions in the second half, and were 2-of-8 on third down conversions in the latter stages (8-of-18 for the game).

“We’re not presenting enough challenges,” Pry said of the offense. “We’ve got to get into the toolbox and create some opportunities, find ways to create and garner explosive plays, some game-changers.”

The bright spots were few and far between, though a few true freshmen saw game action for the first time. Tight end Dae’Quan Wright led Tech in receptions (four for 31 yards) while cornerbacks Mansoor Delane and Cam Johnson were thrown to the fire. In fact, Delane, a Silver Springs, Md. native, made tackles on back-to-back plays in the second quarter, including a tackle for loss.

Dorian Strong, the team’s best cornerback, did not play due to a hand injury. His timetable for return is unknown. On top of that, Brion Murray was beat a few times and Armani Chatman missed a series or two due to an injury. Pry said depth at that spot was a concern from day one, but the true freshmen did a nice job considering the circumstances.

“Those guys, they come to work every day,” Dax Hollifield said of Delane and Johnson. “They’re going to be the next guys up, so [I’m] happy for them, really trying to build them up, build their confidence up and I’m really proud of them. It was a great play [by Mansoor] and we’re going to need that.”

Do Brent Pry and Virginia Tech have any tricks up their sleeve to make a game more unique? (Ivan Morozov)

Yet, a uniqueness is lacking with Virginia Tech. It may be too early to judge player development, but there doesn’t appear to be improvement as a cohesive unit. The team is easy to gameplan for, and in cases like Saturday night where North Carolina delivered the knockout punch early in the third quarter, opponents aren’t afraid of the Hokies at all.

Maye and the UNC offense attacked the Tech secondary all afternoon. They had nine passing plays of 20 or more yards, eight of which came in the second half. Three times they opted to go for it on fourth down, too, and converted each against distances of one, three and seven yards.

The Hokies only crossed midfield three times. The first two drives led to 10 points, while the third occurred when the game was already decided.

After the loss, Pry said he feels like team is closer than the players realize. He referenced 100-level concepts that Tech executes in practice but fails to in-game. Most of all, all three phases have struggled.

“It’s not going to be an overnight process,” Pry said. “It’s going to take time. We’re going to do it the right way. We’ve got to recruit better, we’ve got to create better practice habits and we’ve got to keep working on our culture.

“We’re making progress in all three areas. Sometimes it’s hard to see. But we are. And that’s what leads me to tell this football team that we’re closer than they think.”

But are the Hokies that close? They experienced their second-largest loss to North Carolina in program history on Saturday in Chapel Hill, and the schedule only gets more challenging. Improvement is paramount, especially when it comes to complementary football, and it starts at the top.

“We’ve been in a lot of adversity already and our practice habits have stayed true to what we believe in,” Hollifield said. “I’m going to give my best each and every day, a lot of the older guys are going to give their best each and every day, try to put their best on film. If you’ve got leaders like that, some good will come out of that, I truly believe that. Just got to go back to work, that’s all you can do.”

Box Score: Link 

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  1. Correction .Not a big deal but I believe Maye is a redshirt freshman not a true freshman

  2. Right……Whit seems to an elite get for us. He has made:
    2 great mens BB hires back 2 back,
    a great mens baseball coach hire
    a great womens softball coach hire
    a great womens volleyball coach hire

    As for football…….hiring the
    heir apparent to Coach Beamer while keeping the D Coordinator and then 5 years later having to flush Fuente after contract extensions was two difficult scenarios to maneuver. Whits Hands were tied tight in both cases. Whit seems to generally shine in his 1st hires from scratch and if he does miss once I doubt he missing the same target twice. I hope the Coach Pry hire doesnt prove us wrong.

  3. I don’t any hope for next year using either Wells or Brown and bringing in another QB from the pool just puts us just about where we were the past few years. Tech needs one who has 3 or 4 years to play. Other schools seem to be able to use Freshmen and Soph QBs. I thought that Tahj Bullock was supposed to have the tools yet, you never hear about him. If he is any good let him get some QB game time now . I don’t see bowl game possibility this year and maybe let him start next year. Not much to loose.

  4. Things will get better. We have the remainder of the season to try some things, maybe starting with giving other QB’s more playing time. As TV color guy Hasselbeck pointed out, Wells did not see a number of wide-open receivers. We need to get better as this season progresses, and maybe win a game or 2.

    1. This helps me…look at Wisconsin’s offensive line with their new O-Line coach. They ran for 2 yards yesterday against Illinois. 2 yards! (adjusted for sacks). Look at Oklahoma with a new defensive-minded head coach and a new defensive coordinator give up 41 points in the first half to TCU. Guys, be patient.

      1. This will take some time for sure
        A lot has to improve from player recruiting, system, training, coaching et. al.

        I am telling myself over and over…….three years

  5. Hollifield looked like he was having cover an awful lot. Our secondary hardly engaged their receivers. Almost as if they didn’t want to risk a penalty.

  6. Also, several receivers missed catches. If a college receiver can’t catch a ball with some heat on it then they shouldn’t be playing college ball.

    1. Coaches can not go on the field to pull down passes. Our receivers drop to many passes ,our offensive
      line needs finish plays not just sometimes but all of the time. You can not say the coaches are not coaching. Open your eyes
      people there is VERY little talent on this team. It will take time to build this team back. The old staff before
      took this team to the bottom of the pit.Suck it up and support this new staff.

      1. I get really tired of people like you constantly blaming Fuente for the problems of this team when our football program was well on its way to going downhill in Beamers last few years so as much as I love FRANK and Virginia tech football put the blame where it actually started with a coach that stayed way too long and administration and AD that didn’t keep up with the trend of college football and facilities and money needed to pay top coaches and coaching staff that’s not all on Fuente but yet we never really look at the problems that were occurring before 2016 when Fuente got here. I understand It was time for Fuente to go but this ain’t all on him and if you believe it is your freaking blind.

        1. I’m with you on this being a long term problem that started during Frank Beamer’s last years. Nobody is denying what coach Beamer did for this program, but there were a lot of questionable or down-right bad decisions that he made. I posted yesterday to a post asking when did the downhill slide start and I said that I thought it was when coach Beamer removed coach Cav and Billy Hite from recruiting and on-field coaching. It seemed to me that we started losing impact players at key positions and it has not recovered since. I am not going to go into some in-game decisions which seemed not to be in the best interest of our game results.

      2. will do

        it is tough but needs to happen

        trashing our guys five games into a total rebuild does not help

  7. A few things. Yes, we’re short on talent. But that didn’t stop Frank and Bud from putting a competitive team on the field. We are a 3star school. Second, we better take recruiting more seriously than anything else because now we’ve got JMU in D1 in the Sun Belt and they are very good. JMU legitimately has a chance to out recruit VT and UVA in Virginia very very soon. There is more competition. JMU will get a lot if not all Northern Va talent. We’re in more trouble than we even know.

    1. Doesn’t seem to be stopping Duke, either. They seem to be doing just fine with a new staff and little talent.

    2. Liberty as well as JMU

      We can’t even beat ODU at their place

      Lots of work to be done in recruiting and coaching

  8. Take a deep breath everyone. Tech tradition will get us back to national provenance in football. It will take some times Stick together. AH

  9. No talent whatsoever on Offense. How many times did we have 3rd and 8 and we complete a 6 yard pass play and get stopped short. newsThe play calling seems to be terribly lacking.
    UNC totally disrespected us on the 4th down plays; They went for it several times and VT did not stop them once.

    Now the good news; GT beat Pitt last night so obviously they are pretty decent with their new interim Head Coach. And Pitt will be in a foul mood this Saturday;
    Liberty soundly beat ODU in Norfolk yesterday; Another loss for VT;
    Duke looks like a pretty well coached team and beat UVA pretty good;

    I believe the only game we have a realistic shot at winning is UVA, maybe Liberty;
    If we can’t move the ball on that rag tag UNC defense, how in the world do we expect to win games this year. Texas pounded WVU last night and it wasn’t as close as the score.

    If you watched Clemson/NC State last night, you saw some real Defense being played w/ playmakers. You did not see any of that yesterday in Chapel Hill.

    Still don’t understand our inability to run the football.
    3-9 or 4-8 in the cards this year; I would like to see some offensive improvement this year;

    1. There is plenty if talent. Lofton has talent, King, Wright, Moss, Blue is a 1000 yd receiver, Gallo is an above avg TE, Wells threw for tons of yds w/ Marshall talent around him (and we have only played 2 P5 teams in 5 gms..1 being the worst def). There is enough talent to do much much better than this. Anyone saying otherwise is making excuses because the new coaches aren’t getting anything done.

      Even our HC is full of excuses. Very little accountability, other than to continue to find new ways to say his OC is to vanilla abd predictable. Someone needs to let Pry know he is the Hc now and the buck stops w/ him. All of the things that he says they need to develop are on him…how to practice, that isn’t something that comes later, you instill that day 1…he has lost that opportunity. Recruiting, that is on him…and I think we are aiming at the first time in over 20 yrs without having a 4* recruit (but it seems like every aspect of this team is reaching new 20, 30 and 40 yr lows every week). Culture? That is established by a leader the first day they take over a company/business/team. We are in serious long term trouble.

    2. A few points ….
      1. I think the scheme is flawed and not totally a talent issue. Syracuse recruiting ranking has not been good at all for several years. If you look at Syracuse this year versus last year, the hired a very good offensive coordinator in Robert Anae and QB coach in Jason Beck. Virginia is mess this year despite having Armstrong at QB who was coached by Anae & Beck.

      2. Totally support the new staff. I have to wonder, if Tech kept Fuente and brought in the Anae & Beck or another high profile offensive coordinator what would the record look like. We could have dumped a bunch of money into those positions and saved the buy out $.

    3. Yeah, not sure why Wells keeps throwing passes short of first down. Can’t count on several YAC. Seems he is just looking for a completion.

  10. We haven’t had an offense for decades. Defense is now joined the ranks of the offense. There are high school teams in this state we would struggle beating.

  11. VT & UVA football is gonna struggle this year. But, misery loves company, so I continue to root for VT and everyone playing against UVA. When it comes to VT and UVA football this year, it’s like the old Timex commercial stated: “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”

    1. Aim High. When UVA football is the program against which you compare yourself then perhaps you need to raise the bar. I get the desire to outdo our biggest rival but at some point you need to look at other programs that are kicking your ass and say “I’d like to get to that level”. Complacency has gotten us to the point we are now; steeped in tradition, yet lacking any insight for the future. Wandering aimlessly through uncharted territory leads you to the dark place we are now.

      1. I agree totally. Just gotta keep a sense of humor through the process. We are gonna take a lotta lickings this year and probably next year too. I do hope our new staff has built a strategy to get us out of the desert…but we shall see.

  12. I am not going to give up on Coach Pry. In last two weeks he, Roth, and Burnop have all said we need playmakers …. Meaning we have very little talent . Play the freshman corners because Chapman and Murray were exposed all day but realize UNC has playmakers. When they went down the field in 28 seconds to get a FG then game was over. Look at stats -Garbutt, Pollard, Chapman no tackles-zero. Total rebuild and need to find qb for next year

    1. I would like to see Pry win 6 games and go to a bowl game, but mainly for the extra practices and their benefit for player development. Pry didn’t inherit much, and I am mainly concerned with him building the program, improving talent, developing players and getting a little better each year.

    2. Murray got beat several times? I’m shocked! Why is that dude even on the team anymore? All I’ve ever seen is that guy get beat. How in the hell is he even close to the two deep? Our bench must be a dumpster fire. And I thought Lofton was our savior this year? Where is he? Apparently our practices are perfect and our games are a wreck. What’s that about. Looking forward to the UVA game. Between now and then is going to be simply awful.

    3. The game wasn’t over until Pry punted on 4th and 1 in the 3rd quarter. He just didn’t get the message from the 28 second score to end the half. That message being that UNC was going to score no matter where they got the ball and Pry was still playing field position. The only chance of winning was to go for and pick up 4th and 1s and keep UNC offense off the field. When he punted on 4th and 1 he effectively conceded the game.

  13. Is it just me or do our players consistently look smaller than our opponents? Look at the photos in the article. It almost looks like eighth grade playing varsity in high school.

    1. consistently look smaller than our opponents? >>>>

      Small – but slow(er) too? Not a great combo. Add in lack of discipline. Hmmm.

  14. Would wins over Liberty and Wofford both count towards bowl eligibility? If not, I don’t see how we get there. 5 qualifying wins seems like an optimistic, but plausible, outcome now.

    1. Uh yeah they count toward bowl eligibility. Why wouldn’t they? Join 2022…Liberty has been FBS for like 4 or 5 years now, and has already played in bowl games

  15. Oh, I long for the days of Bob Schweickert, Sonny Utz and Club Ce’ciles…when all was well in the world…except for Viet Nam of course!

    1. 3 or 4; probably 50 yds worth AT LEAST; the first drop had a chance to go a long way maybe even ALL the way

      1. I am not sure which drop it was, but Wells hit him in the hands on a slant over the middle and he dropped it. That was a play that should have been used many times in previous games as well and we showed why no defenses fear our passing game.

        Well, maybe our defense fears our passing game.

  16. Ah now I understand, here is our offense explained “Sometimes you just a chuck a ball up and a guy makes a play.”

    1. I know what you are saying. But, he is right. You can’t count on too many, but sometimes the receiver should win jump balls. And we aren’t even catching all the decent throws when we aren’t covered.

      1. Turner, Robenson, and Mitchell could all go up and make a play. Who do we have that can do that this year?

    2. It’s EXACTLY what Josh Downs did on that 4th down conversion on the sideline. He went up and made a play to help his QB who basically threw it up there.

  17. We kept letting their QB run for 1st downs, which kept multiple scoring drives alive for UNC. Frustrating to watch

  18. I agree it’s a long haul to right the ship…as in years. The problem is the fanbase doesn’t have the patience and I don’t think Whit will give Pry that kind of time.

    The more I think about it, Pry is in an impossible situation. How can he lure upper-tier guys to the program while he struggles to post wins.

    1. Exactly. Losses … bad losses … do not make it easier to recruit. Oh to be Wake Forest!

    2. NIL $$$ and lots of it can lure good players here. And the obvious chance for early playing time should also help.

    1. Dumb, dumb and dumber.
      Whit is one of the best AD’s nationally.
      He’s going nowhere.

      1. We’re possibly getting left out of the major conference realignment and he hired Fuente and early returns aren’t good on Pry. He’s got to go.

      2. Whit is one of the best AD’s nationally.>>>>

        Based on the scuttle – whenever there is a major opening (like UFL) – he’s at the top of a school’s wish list.

        BTW – hiring Fuente was the #1 hire that year.

        1. You are correct. Thanks for countering these strange calls to fire one of the best ADs around.

        1. $$$ or a lack of it and the inability to get support from the school before it was too late. Fuente looking at Baylor could be the best thing he did for this football program.

      1. The program has diminished under his watch from respectable to laughable. We are arguably now the 5th best team in Virginia behind ODU, Liberty, UVA, and JMU.

        1. So … uh … guess you haven’t watched VT basketball in last several seasons there Peewee?!? Guess Whit lucked into that hire and EVERY other sports hire in the AD?!?!? Baseball, wrestling, track and field are all slaying competition. Yes, football is king but Dr. Tim Sands – like rational humans should – looks at the whole body of work — and Whit’s is a powerhouse body of work. Get a clue and move on to the matters at hand in football and things that make a difference now.

  19. Everyone needs to just take a deep breath. Improvement may be hard to see at this point. The rebuild will take at least four years. In year three we need to start seeing improvement but everyone needs to accept that it is going to take that long. We have G5 talent. We have a losing culture. We have a first-time head coach. Four year minimum before we see results that feel like the VT football we expect. I didn’t realize how bad things were.

    1. The same talent went 6-6 last year and was in position to win 3 other games in the fourth quarter. From what I see our players are as good as most of the teams on our schedule.

      1. No, we don’t have the same talent. On offense, we are missing Tavion Robinson, James Mitchell, Rasheed Blackshear, Trey Turner, Malachi Thomas…all playmakers…not to mention, Burmeister at QB who had some pretty good wheels himself. Also missing two good O-lineman who are now in the NFL. The defense is missing Amari Barno who was a disrupter.

        This team has been depleted of talent.

      2. I respectfully disagree. Some good talent transferred or declared pro. T Robinson would make a huge difference at WR. The RB who transferred from Rutgers is missed as he declared pro. Those two alone could provide some explosive help on this offense from the WR and RB position. The offensive line is worst this year than last or at least they are playing worst than last year unit. To me, this team looks more like the team that showed up at the Pinstripe Bowl against Maryland. Now, maybe the talent is there but it’s sorely inexperienced and needs to be developed.

      3. This was NOT THE SAME TALENT. This talent coughed up a large hairball against Maryland. Almost none of THIS talent was 1st string. Dax and a couple others….that is all. Did it occur to you that perhaps we aren’t doing more complex things because we cant. Our players aren’t as good as most teams on the schedule. Our cupboard on offense is flat empty of anything useful. The defense has some decent guys, but not decent enough to play on the field the whole game. Fu has left us in far worse shape than he found us. Most of Fu’s top players graduated, went pro, or hit the transfer portal. Also consider, this staff isn’t treating the players the same way as the old staff. While not a complete and utter rebuild, it is a lot closer to it than we would like. We may win 5, but I really do doubt it.

        1. I personally think it’s a complete rebuild when you take into account a new coach, new staff and a depleted squad where some of the best talent left the staples via transfer or declaring for the NFL. We were hoping for Pry to make bricks with straws. I won’t say that this team doesn’t have potential or the talent that can’t be developed over time, but they are not seasoned to step on the field and play at a high level when they are learning a new system and are going through a new culture indoctrination. Now Fu was able to have success his first year because Beaner left him some good players on both side of the ball and a few of those players are getting paid well on Sunday….

          1. Fuente had more than 1 good year. VT went to bowls every year but one, great records against UNC and UVA, 3 close losses last year.
            So far, it looks like Pry will not do as well.

      1. +1. And there will not be a following or financial support. He better have a plan to transition to better recruiting as you don’t get $4M+ to wait for any success It’s JuCO and portal for the next two years for 10 or so players each year. Were back to we are “young” again and with less If these coaches have connections and or ability to recruit then it’s the JUCO / portal world they need to be recruiting we need some mature players to fill the gap of youth talent (if it ever comes).

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