Everyone shares in this loss. From Bryan Stinespring to Bud Foster to even Frank Beamer for allowing the chop talk to permeate through the week, there isn't a single Hokie player or coach that doesn't share the blame for losing to North Carolina.
The offensive line didn't give Tyrod Taylor enough time to throw. Taylor missed open receivers when he had the chance. Team MVP Ryan Williams fumbled deep in his own territory late in a tied game. The defense couldn't get a third-down stop to save its families. The middle of the field was open all day for T.J. Yates. The list is never ending after a stunning and heartbreaking loss like that.
As CGB has said on last week's Gobbler Balls Podcast with VT beat writer Kyle Tucker, our fan base loves a scapegoat. But there isn't one this time. This loss was a team effort. But hey, at least we've starting losing as a team instead of being able to blame one unit or coach or player. Now, on to the links after the jump.
National Media and Bloggers
Tar Heels stun Hokies (Annette)
"The only thing left for Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams to do was sit on the Hokies' bench and bury his face in his hands. Unlike a week ago, when North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates threw a costly interception, this time it was Virginia Tech with the untimely turnover, as Williams' fourth-quarter fumble led to UNC's game-winning field goal for the 20-17 upset in Lane Stadium."
And that happened (EDSBS)
"With five minutes and change left and trailing 17-14, Davis changed the code against Virginia Tech and went for it on 4th and 7 from the VT 36. Yates, 19 yard completion to Greg Little, and the game-tying field goal. Butch Davis is a machine that learns, and after a forced fumble on Hokie RB Ryan Williams UNC took their leisurely time in running down the clock (SHOOP!) and kicking the winning field goal to beat VT by the default ACC score of 20-17. Williams looked in need of specific electronic diversion on the sidelines after the fumble."
Hokies are alpha dogs no more (Dr. Saturday)
"Virginia Tech is as close as this league has had to a sure thing from the moment it entered in 2004 -- four division titles in five years, three conference titles and the highest final poll finish in the conference five years in a row. Right now, though, the Hokies are just one of the rabble, a half-game ahead of Miami for fourth place in the Coastal Division, sitting behind Virginia and Duke going into the weekend (and since Virginia and Duke play Saturday, coming out of the weekend, too)."
Heels Egg Hokies’ House Before Halloween (Joe Ovies)
"It’s amazing what successful offensive drives can do for the defense. There is a direct correlation to having 3 drives of nearly 80 yards, which took up serious time, and a fresh Heels’ defense that vexed the likes of Ryan Williams and Tyrod Taylor. The Hokies were held to 246 yards, 6-of-16 on third down, and two turnovers. Taylor, who had completed nearly 75% of his passes in the last three games, was a pedestrian 11 for 23 against North Carolina. Williams had 6 carries from inside the 1-yard-line and zero touchdowns to show for it."
Virginia Tech Beat Writers and Columnists
No excuses for Hokies' latest loss (Aaron McFarling)
"So now North Carolina has done it. This wasn't Alabama. This wasn't Georgia Tech. This didn't happen on the road, or even at a neutral site. This happened in Blacksburg, on a Thursday night, against a team that arrived here winless in the ACC. Excuses? There aren't any. There can't be. No need to send any game tapes to the league offices after this one. No need to wonder what might change when the team gains some experience."
Williams now moving on after costly fumble (Randy King)
"Nobody's perfect. Just ask Virginia Tech standout tailback Ryan Williams. Williams, who was beating himself up severely after losing a late-game fumble that led to UNC's 20-17 upset of Virginia Tech last Thursday at Lane Stadium, said Sunday that he's moving forward in the wake of the miscue."
Field goal after costly fumble all but dashes Hokies’ title hopes (Kyle Tucker)
"Virginia Tech said there would be no Georgia Tech hangover, but it certainly looked like it Thursday night as the Hokies stumbled, fumbled and fell flat against North Carolina. The headache will be far worse this morning for the No. 14 Hokies – national title contenders two weeks ago – when they ponder a 20-17 loss to the Tar Heels, who had yet to win an ACC game."
Tech play breakdown and play-calling in UNC game (Norm Wood)
"It certainly wouldn't be stunning for any offensive coordinator to lean on a player producing at such a consistently high level. Of course, much of this conversation goes back to UNC's pass rush, which made it difficult for Taylor to get comfortable in the pocket early on many drives."
Hokies shift goals (Mark Viera)
"After Virginia Tech defeated Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl in January, it was clear to see the Hokies’ potential in the 2009 season. With the core of the team intact, the Hokies were a top-10 team in the preseason poll and expectations ran high in Blacksburg. Oh, how the outlook has changed. With their national title hopes dashed and their chance at an Atlantic Coast Conference championship slim, the Hokies are playing for pride."
Gibson replaces Johnson in starting lineup (Darryl Slater)
"The move isn’t exactly surprising, because Rivers has been getting more snaps of late. Johnson, who is in his first season as a starter, played mostly on special teams last year. The Hokies had two senior linebackers, Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdivant, who they needed to replace coming into this season. In addition to Johnson, Foster, who also coaches inside linebackers, turned to sophomore Barquell Rivers at the other spot."
Tar Heels' defense plays up to Beamer's hype (Nathan Warters)
"The Tar Heels’ front seven caused all kinds of problems for Tech in the first half of Thursday night’s nationally televised game at Lane Stadium. UNC sacked Hokies quarterback Tyrod Taylor three times before the break. Because of that pressure, the Heels were able to neutralize Tech’s offense, holding it to 108 yards and only four first downs."
Virginia Tech Bloggers
Tar Heels Upset Hokies in Blacksburg (Tech Sideline)
"Virginia Tech led this game 17-14 in the fourth quarter, but UNC established their dominance at the line of scrimmage over the final minutes. Trailing by three, they went on 16 play, 78 yard drive that took 8:59 off the clock and resulted in a field goal to tie the game. UNC was aided by a pass interference call on cornerback Rashad Carmichael, and they also converted a fourth and seven play with a 19 yard pass to wide receiver Greg Little."
Thoughts on the North Carolina Loss (College Game Balls)
"What really miffs me is our lack of focus. We still had an outside chance at the ACC Championship, a respectable bowl game, another ten win season, etc, etc. We were playing a team, at night, at home, who had very little to play for, who had their hearts ripped out a week ago and they were flat out hungrier and wanted it more. We could have had Urban Meyer relaying plays to Bill Walsh and we would have still lost."
Ruh-Roh (Beer Control Offense)
"That sucks but having seen the D get shredded all season, not that surprised. That sorta sucks, not being surprised. This actually diminishes GiT a lil. If UNC can run on tech..."
Welcome Back 2003 Hokies (Fight for Old DC)
"As mentioned before, this looks like the '03 squad that choked on their own jockstraps (and media clippings) en route to a 2-5 finish. A few big wins, but a team that's still a little immature in important spots. If they can't take an average UNC team seriously at home, I don't see a bright future against Maryland, ECU and UVA on the road. All of those teams will have a shot at taking down the former champs. If we see an effort/coaching level like tonight, this team that's been sub-par on the road will lose 1-2 more games. Right now, I'm writing out of frustration, but it wasn't pretty at all. Here's hoping Beamer and Co. can stop the bleeding in Greenville."
That Just Happened (The North End Zone)
"Some might say that it is our defense that failed us again (just like last game), but I submit a different culprit. How about our offense? We have now scored a mind boggling 3 whole points TOTAL in the first half of each of the last two games. THREE FUCKING POINTS! In each case, had we scored any more points in either of those halves, we would have won the game. One of them being AT HOME ON A THURDAY NIGHT."
North Carolina Bloggers
UNC 20, Virginia Tech 17 (Carolina March)
"I fully expect most of the coverage of this game to be similar to last week, where all the focus is on FSU and the only reference to UNC is in the fact that by definition, there was another team on the field. There will be articles about what it means for Tech, and the other Tech, and the ACC, and I'm sure the word roulette will be tossed around tonight. But right now, this is Carolina's win, not Virginia Tech's loss. And it's a great feeling."
UNC 20, Virginia Tech 17 (Tar Heel Fan)
"This game was perfect redemption after the way the Heels fell last week. Of course now last week’s loss sticks in the craw a bit but given that FSU was winnable and this was considered a sure loss, UNC is exactly where they would have been anyway had it come according to expectation. Now the Heels only need to get two more wins to qualify for a bowl game."
UNC 20, Virginia Tech 17 (Tar Heel Mania)
"Frankly, Virginia Tech, we’re just as surprised as you are. After the horrible month that the Heels had, there was almost nothing to indicate that we would be able to execute well enough to beat perhaps our toughest opponent of the season on the road. There were only three indications that we stood a chance."