Virginia Tech Comes Away With a Much-Needed Win at UNC

Will this be Justin Fuente’s final handshake with Larry Fedora? (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

Sometimes college football happens. It will get after ya when it does. I’ve used that line to describe a few Virginia Tech losses through the years, but I don’t recall ever using it to describe a Hokie victory. It would certainly be an accurate description of last night’s game in Chapel Hill.

The Hokies were outplayed for the majority of the game, with the exception of the beginning and the end. Two key UNC turnovers (a fumble near midfield and a fumble on the goal line) arguably prevented Tar Heel scores, and they led to two Virginia Tech touchdowns. There were a couple of critical Ryan Willis runs in there as well, one being a long touchdown run to open the game, and the other a key fourth down scramble to keep the game-winning drive alive.

We often say that the Hokies don’t have any margin for error because of the youth of the team across nearly every position. The same can be said for UNC, though their issue is more of a talent problem than a youth problem. They don’t have as much talent as they used to, and when presented with an opportunity to beat somebody, they need to take advantage of it. They failed to do that last night, and for all we know, that might be the final nail in Larry Fedora’s coffin.

Leading 19-14 midway through the fourth quarter, the Tar Heels were about to punch the ball into the end zone from the Hokie one-yard line for the game clinching score. Instead, sophomore safety Tyree Rodgers executed a perfect form tackle (one of very few such tackles during the game by Tech) on tailback Michael Carter. The ball popped in the air, and Tech recovered. Jovonn Quillen probably should have returned it for a touchdown, but he couldn’t field it cleanly.