The Virginia Tech Hokies get back to action next week with a trip to defending ACC Coastal Division champion North Carolina.
In case you missed it, the Tar Heels won their fourth in a row on Saturday, with an impressive 37-35 win at No. 12 Florida State. UNC’s upset win ended the nation’s longest home winning streak.
The win improved North Carolina to 4-1 on the season, including a 2-0 mark in ACC play.
So, what does this mean for Virginia Tech?
Well, next Saturday just got a lot bigger for the Hokies and the Heels.
UNC is sure to be the prohibitive favorite. With a win at FSU, the national media will likely fall in love the Tar Heels over the next seven days.
But the Hokies are coming off a bye week, while the Heels are coming off an emotional win against one of the nation’s top programs. If we go by history, this should favor the Hokies.
Will Carolina have exhausted every bit of energy and emotion in the win at Florida State? And will the Tar Heels be able to get up for this game the same way they did against the ‘Noles?
Last season, the Hokies gave UNC all it could handle before falling in overtime, 30-27. UNC rushed for 240 yards, while also passing for 205 yards. Bud Foster’s defense did a good job against Carolina’s receivers in 2015.
The Heels’ top receiver, Ryan Switzer, is off to a blazing start in 2016. Switzer caught 14 passes for 158 yards in the win at FSU and for the season has 33 catches for 429 yards and two scores. Switzer is a slot receiver and will present quite the challenge for Tech’s No. 6 ranked pass defense.
Carolina quarterback Mitch Tribusky is better than former starter Marquise Williams. Williams gave the Hokies some issues in recent seasons, passing for 205 yards and rushing for another 74 last fall. However, Tribusky is a much better passer and takes UNC’s passing game to another level. In addition to that, Tribusky is a capable runner, too.
Going to Chapel Hill and winning will be a tough chore for the Hokies. There are just so many reasons to believe they can pull off a big win, though. The week off helps Tech, especially with North Carolina coming off such an emotional win. Tech shouldn’t have any major injury concerns next week either.
Next week’s game won’t determine the Coastal Division champion. It’s just the second week in October. However, it will go a long way in determining who wins the division. If Virginia Tech can pull off the win, it still must take care of business against good teams like Pittsburgh and Miami. But, it’s just one week at a time and North Carolina is the most important game on Tech’s schedule right now.
Win or lose, how amazing is it we are already talking about the Hokies being a Coastal contender just one month into new head coach Justin Fuente’s tenure?