UNC vs. #17 Virginia Tech Live Blog

Today UNC faces another road game, going back into the ACC schedule against the 17th ranked Hokies. For what you need to know for this game, see my preview.

Yates is probably going to need a big game, but Xavier Adibi and VT’s linebackers are going to keep him under pressure all day.

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12:11 pm: A perfect day for football today. UNC will get the ball to start the game, which means they’ll finally have a chance to try and play from ahead.

12:12 pm: Johnny White is still starting at tailback, but I’m hoping that Ryan Houston will get a lot of carries early.

Brooks Foster gets the ball to start the game. He gets 4 yards.

12:13 pm: A great play action fake for UNC, but Yates misfires to a wide open Brandon Tate. Third down.

12:14 pm: Sack! UNC tries another playaction, but Chris Ellis gets past the left tackle, bringing down Yates and forcing a punt. Now UNC’s defense has to have a decent start (and by decent start, I mean no touchdown on the opening drive).

12:16 pm: I guess that was too much to ask for. The defense completely commits to one side, and then the Hokies run the revers to Eddie Royal, who makes a huge run all the way to the UNC 17.

12:18 pm: Kendrick Williams is injured on third and short. Hokies get a first down, but more importantly, Williams has to be taken out of the game. The last thing we need is for our defensive depth to get even thinner.

12:21 pm: TOUCHDOWN! Tyrod Taylor scrambles for the touchdown. UNC had him trapped in the pocket, but Taylor slips away from the grasp of Kentwan Balmer, and he beats the secondary to the pylon. Virginia Tech leads 7-0, and this is exactly what the Tar Heels didn’t want to happen: having to play from behind early.

12:25 pm: Tate takes the kickoff to the 31, and UNC will start with decent field position. I will say that a basic run play on first down is WAY too predictable.

12:26 pm: Houston gets his first carry of the day, gaining 3 yards.

12:27 pm: Yates is under pressure again, and he fires a bullet into double coverage, which Hakeem Nicks almost catches. But he drops it, and UNC faces another third and long. Yates calls a timeout.

12:30 pm: A great pass from Yates to an open Nicks, who gets past midfield for a first down.

12:31 pm: Tate gets the ball quickly and gets another first down. More importantly, UNC might be able to keep the defense honest.

12:32 pm: What was Yates thinking on that throw? Adibi should have picked that off.

12:32 pm: After a short run, the Heels run another quick pass to Tate, but he goes nowhere. It’s 4th and 3.

12:33 pm: The Heels go for it on fourth down. Yates gets under pressure, but his pass to the left is incomplete, as his receivers stopped moving.

I’m okay with the decision to go for it on fourth down, and I might even be somewhat okay with the play call. But the execution was horrible, and it will only serve to give the Hokies more momentum.

12:39 pm: UNC holds their own on defense to force a punt, but someone needs to check if Tyrod Taylor has oil on his jersey. No one on our D-line seems to be able to tackle him.

12:41 pm: The Heels fake the end-around, and Houston runs up the middle. A great first step, a seven yard gain, and UNC is close to a first down.

12:42 pm: Houston gets the call on 3rd and 1, but Vince Hall and the VT linebackers stuff him in the backfield. Another 3-and-out for Carolina.

12:45 pm: Brandon Ore isn’t having the kind of day that UVA’s Peerman had against our defense two weeks ago, but he’s getting some nice runs.

12:46 pm: Even when we put pressure on Tyrod Taylor, he manages to create a lto fo time to throw for himself. Only a great play by Deunta Williams (and a VT penalty) prevents a great play.

12:48 pm: A great screen play for VT, but I’m sure that I saw a hold downfield. The refs saw it too, and it’s 2nd and 16.

12:49 pm: Another holding call. Looks like the UNC defensive line is flustering the Tech O-line. 2nd and 26.

12:52 pm: A HUGE mistake by Hilee Taylor. They were going a force another VT punt, but Taylor roughs the quarter back, and the Hokies have an automatic first down. It’s these kinds of plays that can cost UNC the ball game.

The first quarter ends, with VT leading 7-0. They have a chance to extend the lead thanks to a big mistake by the Tar Heels.

Seriously, all that great work that the Heels built up on defense, and that one lapse of judgement brings all the momentum back to Tech.

12:58 pm: INTERCEPTION! After Taylor overthrows the ball, it’s tipped by a receiver and into the hands of Deunta Williams, who returns the ball all the way to midfield. After that penalty, a turnover is exactly what we needed.

12:59 pm: Yates fires a great pass on third down, getting out of the pocket and finding Hakeem Nicks, who takes it inside the 30. Already the Heels are in field goal range.

1:00 pm: Ryan Houston runs up the middle, busting through a hole and getting another first down at the 18 yard line.

1:02 pm: Yates is forced into a third and long after the first two plays go nowhere.

1:03 pm: Yates complete the pass to Nicks, but he can’t get yardage after the catch. Still, UNC gets the field goal off of the turnover, and now trail only 7-3. If they didn’t go for it on fourth down earlier, this might be a 1-point game.

1:06 pm: Wow, VT girls are ugly. They look like 60 year old women. Wait…they were 60 year old women? Nevermind, then.

1:09 pm: Tech needs to continue running the ball. Taylor doesn’t look very comfortable throwing it.

1:07 pm: After USF’s upset of West Virginia, holding them to 13 points and forcing 6 turnovers, our performance against the Bulls suddenly doesn’t look as bad.

1:09 pm: Carolina forces another punt. UNC’s defensive line has really stepped up so far in this game.

1:11 pm: #8 of VT is a lucky, lucky man. That’s all I have to say.

1:14 pm: Hall and Adibi wrap up Yates for the sack, as Yates may have dropped back too far on that play.

1:15 pm: Johnny White takes the screen pass to the 38. 3rd and 6.

1:16 pm: Yates fires a bullet low, and Tate is there for the catch and a first down.

1;17 pm: Flea-flicker! But Yates is hit as he threw it, and the pass is too short for the receiver.

1:18 pm: Houston;s run to the left doesn’t get far, and UNC must convert on 3rd down again. Yates is back to throw, but he’s sacked again. Carolina is forced to punt again, as the Virginia Tech defense continues to harass Yates in the pocket. This game is starting to look like a defensive battle between these two teams. I’m just glad that our defense is playing well enough for me to say that.

1:22 pm: Uh-oh. Some nice blocking by Taylor, who fires it to an open receiver at the 40 yard line, and suddenly the Hokies are in business.

1:23 pm: Tyrod Taylor gets a sack from a linebacker, and its our freshman standout with perhaps the best name in college football: Quantavius Sturdivant (but you may know him as “Quan”). Tech punts again, and UNC has the ball with less than two minutes in the first half.

1:25 pm: Way for Yates to throw it away. The last thing we need is a turnover.

1:26 pm: White takes the ball, and surprisingly he gets seven yards.

1:27 pm: Just when UNC has a favorable 3rd and short, a false start.

1:28 pm: A QB draw on 3rd and 8, what the hell is wrong with you, John Shoop? UNC will punt with 35 seconds left.

1:30 pm: A nice punt by Brown, and UNC downs it at the 11 yard line with 23 seconds to go in the half.

1:31 pm: Tech takes a knee, and Virginia Tech leads 7-3 at halftime. UNC’s defense has kept it close, which is about all that we could ask from them. We actually have a chance to win this game, but the offense is going to have to find a way to take the pressure off of T. J. Yates and keep Tech’s linebackers honest.

If UNC’s defense keeps the pressure up on defense and if UNC’s receivers can make some big plays in the second half, the Tar Heels could actually win this.

Do you know when was the last time that the Heels beat a ranked team on the road? October 2001, when UNC embarrassed Clemson in Death Valley and ended Woody Dantzler’s Heisman hopes.

1:52 pm: The second half begins, and Tech will get the ball to resume.

1:53 pm: The short kick backfires, and Morgan takes the kick all the way to the UNC 42. Not a good way to start this half.

1:54 pm: Taylor falls, but we’ll give the sack to Marvin Austin.

Bad news for Tech. Taylor is hurt, and Sean Glennon has to come into the game.

1:55 pm: Glennon completes the pass, but Josh Morgan is short of the first down.

Unbelievably, Tech goes for the 52 yard kick, and it’s good! Tech leads, 10-3, but a good job by UNC to force a 3-and-out. It will be interesting to see how the offensive and defensive schemes will change with Glennon in at Quarterback. Tyrod Taylor has headed to the locker room, which means he’s unlikely to return.

2:01 pm: Houston gets the call on first and second down, but he goes nowhere.

2:02 pm: Interception! Or at least we think. The refs say it’s incomplete. Worse is that Chris Ellis delivers a late hit on Yates and give the Tar Heels a first down.

2:03 pm: Nicks gets the pass and fights his way through the entire secondary for another first down.

2:04 pm: A holding and an illegal shift by the Heels on the same play? That is the kind of stuff that will give Butch Davis gray hairs.

2:05 pm: Yates rolls to the left and fires the ball along the sidelines where only Tate can catch it. He gets the ball for a 19 yard gain. UNC gets a run up the middle the next play for a first down, and they’re inside the VT 42.

2:07 pm: Quinn nearly makes a spectacular catch, but VT is called for another running the passer. I question that call by the refs, but UNC needs all the yards that they can get.

2:08 pm: Houston gets the ball on first and second down again, This time he sets up a 3rd and short in the red zone.

2:09 pm: What a catch by Elzy! The play action plays off, and it’s first and goal at the 7.

2:10 pm: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Houston gets the ball on second down, but the ball comes flying ount of his hands, and Virginia Tech recovers in the endzone. Is there was one opportune moment for UNC to finally strike and get in position to win that was it. That was the absolute worst possible moment to turn the ball over.

2:16 pm: Taylor is back in the game. Tech is advancing the ball quickly after that fumble.

2:17 pm: How Taylor still manages to get big gains on the ground after his groin injury is beyond me.

2;19 pm: Taylor makes a great play and pass, but the catch is out of bounds. VT punts, but the Hokies down it inside the UNC 5 yard line.

2:22 pm: Nicks makes a nice catch, getting the first down and taking the Heels out of the shadow of their own end zone.

2:24 pm: Yates finds Nicks again on the left sidelines, and he takes it to the UNC 36.

2:24 pm: INTERCEPTION! The tight end tips the ball in the air, and Adibi picks it off and takes it inside the UNC 15. Again, two turnovers may cost them 14 points (7 that we didn’t get on one end, and 7 that Tech is about to get now).

2:27 pm: TOUCHDOWN! Ore pounds it into the endzone from the 1 yard line. Virginia Tech leads 17-3, and that tipped interception and subsequent touchdown may be what finally breaks the Tar Heels today. Even worse, the crowd is back in this game.

2:32 pm: The Heels get another 3-and-out. Our offense hasn’t been able to get anything done today.

2:34 pm: The third quarter ends, and Virginia Tech leads 17-3, and time is running out for the Tar Heels to make a move. The Defense needs to force a turnover or make a big play to compensate for the Heels’ fumble and interception.

2:38 pm: The Heels force a punt again, and a bad punt means that they’ll start at the 40.

2:39 pm: After a sack on first down, Nicks catches a short pass. He goes nowhere, as the VT secondary close in fast.

2:40 pm: Brandon Tate is open for a first down, but Yates, yet again under pressure, overthrows it. Fourth down. At this point, look for the Tech offense to run the clock down.

2:45 pm: A big loss on the screen pass is followed by a nice gain for Brandon Ore, but Tech faces third and 8.

2:49 pm: Another three and out for Virginia Tech. UNC’s defense played well; now the offense must atone for their earlier transgressions.

2:50 pm: A great run for the first down, but do our hopes for coming back in this game really rest on the legs of Anthony Elzy?

2:52 pm: After a quick pass to Nicks, Houston runs up the middle for another first down.

2:53 pm: A nice pass by Yates to Thornton up the middle, and suddenly, and the Heels are driving efficiently down the field. This game might not be over yet.

2:55 pm: Tech forced a fourth and 9 to possibly end the ball game, but Yates makes a nice pass to Elzy, who gets past the marker and keeps the game alive. But there’s less than 7 minutes left in this game.

2:56 pm: Elzy takes the run and gets a big gain, going down at the 1.

2:57 pm: TOUCHDOWN CAROLINA! Elzy finishes off drive, diving it in for the score. UNC now only trails 17-10, but there’s only 5:34 left in the game. UNC needs another big defensive stop, and give the UNC offense enough time to go for the tie. What gnaws at my brain is that, if not for the two turnovers in the third quarter, it would be 17-10 UNC right now, and we’d be on the verge of the upset.

3:02 pm: Okay, here we go. 3rd and 4, and we need to make this stop.

3:04 pm: UNC gets a big gift, as a wide open Josh Morgan drops the pass. 3-and out, and UNC will gets the ball with just over four minutes left. At the beginning of the game, I doubt that we could ask for a much better situation than this, but I cannot emphasize those turnovers enough.

3:06 pm: Elzy gets the ball and gains 8 yards on the right side. UNC is at the 22.

Why is UNC running the ball right now? They need big yards, and suddenly Shoop is going conservative.

3:07 pm: I stand corrected. Elzy takes it and gets HUGE yardage, taking it all the way to the UNC 47.

3:08 pm: The clock is running down to inside 2:00. But we still haven;t even considered throwing the ball.

3:10 pm: NO! Yates is sacked from behind, as Cam Martin storms through the backfield.

3:11 pm: Fourth and long, and we need this pass.

3;12 pm: Yates is under pressure yet again, but Hakeem Nicks very nearly come up with the pass. Tech breaks it up, and Virginia tech will win this game.

3:13 pm: The game ends, and Virginia Tech wins 17-10.  UNC did a good job of stayng in the game throughout. In particular, the defense completely shut down the Tech offense. But, for the third time this year, costly turnovers in the second half cost UNC the opportunity to win a game well within reach. Right now we’re a 1-4 team, but if not for turnovers at key moments in the game, we could be 4-1 just as easily.

 

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