What happened and what mattered in the Virginia Tech 22-19 win over North Carolina?
Virginia Tech 22, North Carolina 19
North Carolina couldn’t stop screwing up, left the door open, and Virginia Tech took advantage. The Tar Heels turned it over twice, blew it on a few key plays that could’ve put the game away, On the plus side, the Tar Heel offense was fantastic, rolling up 522 yards with a balance that kept the Hokies on their heels all night. Nathan Elliott and Cade Fortin combined forces at quarterback, Michael Carter ran for 165 yards – but he lost a key fumble late – and the O worked … but couldn’t put the game away.
About that fumble …
Ryan Willis threw two picks, but he ran for a team-high 88 yards and a touchdown for the Hokies, and he threw two touchdown passes including the game-winner to Dalton Keene from one-yard out in the final seconds. This appears to be the 2018 normal now for Virginia Tech. The pass defense is lousy, the O line is just okay, and it’s going to be a fight game-in-and-game-out. But they didn’t play well and got the win.
For all of the problems North Carolina had late, overall, the pass rush was impressive. Malik Carney and Jason Strowbridge each cam up with two sacks, the pressure was constant, and the D did enough to get the win. The O couldn’t cash in all of the opportunities.
North Carolina had two weeks to get ready, but after the blowout loss to Miami, and with three of the next four games on the road, it’s going to be a big, big problem to come close to being bowl eligible. Lose to Syracuse next week and/or Virginia the week after, and this loss will stand out even more.