Today, the Tar Heels face Virginia Tech in their conference opener and one of the biggest home games Carolina has had in a long time. Yes, Carolina still has 9 games to play after this game. But 3-0 is an important milestone for this team, and a win would put the Heels one game ahead of their main rival in the Coastal division. Now let’s get to the preview.
UNC offense vs. VT defense: This is probably the best offense that the Hokie defense has played yet. Carolina’s offensive strength obviously lies in the passing games. T.J. Yates has thrown for 442 yards, five touchdowns, and only one interception in two games. Unfortunately for us, Virginia Tech’s strength lies in the pass defense. Macho Harris, Stephon Virgil, and Kam Chancellor help to form one of the best secondaries in the ACC. Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate may have a hard time getting open for Yates.
As we’ve said for, well, every game this decade, the Tar Heels will need an effective running game to keep the defense honest. Greg Little did have 74 yards against Rutgers, helping to wear down the defense before the Knights imploded in the third quarter. If he isn’t effective early, Shaun Draughn may have to get significant time in the first half.
UNC defense vs. VT offense: The Hokies have lost their top running backs and receivers from 2007. That means the offense begins and ends with Tyrod Taylor. The stats show that the Hokies have 460 yards rushing and only 116 yards passing in the two games they have played with Taylor at QB. UNC defensive coordinator Everett Withers has all but dared Virginia Tech to throw the football, which means you can expect eight or nine players in the box until Taylor makes a few big throws to keep Carolina;s secondary honest. For this purpose Macho Harris is likely to see a lot of time at receiver.
Special Teams: Beamer Ball. Brandon Tate. That’s all you really need to know.
And with that, I’ll soon be off to Kenan Stadium. Enjoy the game, everyone.