UNC Monday Thoughts: Players Step Up for Hokies

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Week by week, things just keep getting better and better. The Hokies pulled
away in the third quarter of this one and cruised home, forcing six Tar Heel
turnovers and leaving the home team down in the dumps in front of empty stands
by game’s end. UNC isn’t supposed to beat Virginia Tech in football, and
Saturday’s 26-10 win in Chapel Hill restored the universe to order. One more win
puts the Hokies in the ACC Championship Game.

Confession Time: I came into last week thinking the Hokies were going to lose
this one. I didn’t think the Hokies could run The Gauntlet undefeated, and of
the three big games (GT-UNC-Miami), Georgia Tech and UNC were the worst
matchups. I have become convinced that the Hokies will beat Miami and Virginia,
so once VT downed GT … it was looking more and more likely, to me anyway, that
UNC would be Tech’s one loss in November.

I was also still suffering the aftershocks from watching the Heels just mow
the Hokies down last year in Lane Stadium. I said at the time that UNC was
bigger, faster and stronger than the Hokies that night, and UNC’s overall
athleticism — the best players money can buy, and that tutors can keep eligible
— is still very impressive. Bruce Carter, for example, is a complete freak.

So even with UNC’s roster depleted by “scandal” and injury, I
wasn’t liking the Hokies’ chances. After all, VT was also going to be missing
players: experienced wide receiver Dyrell Roberts, defensive end Chris Drager
from an already thin defensive line, and difference maker David Wilson, without
whom the Hokies might have lost in Raleigh and against the Yellow Jackets.

Not a good setup. I told Chris Coleman I was picking the L.

So what changed? After reading Chris’s breakdown of UNC in the game preview,
I found myself thinking about how unremarkable UNC’s defensive line is this
year. Outside of defensive tackle Quinton Coples, the Heels’ D-line

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