There are just no two ways about it. Every single game for the remainder of the season is a significant contest. The Tar Heels come to Blacksburg prone to messing up game plans, and often nabbing an annoying win. This season they have a new quarterback, a very veteran coach trying to rescue the program, and a new attitude.
First let’s cover a bit of football news:
The game is sold out, but before anyone gets all hyped up about this little $$$ nugget, remember we are close to Carolina territory and those tickets have probably gone to Carolina Blue wearing Heel fans. So... let’s not get full of ourselves.
It’s Homecoming and Maroon Effect. Make sure that you are wearing the right color, we wouldn’t want to be declasse... As we noted above the Tar Heel fans will probably be here in abundance.
There are lots of things going on downtown and on campus for the Special Homecoming. The Grand Marshall
And the Grand Marshall for Homecoming is Terrell Edmunds:
The Beamerball Award of the Week goes to Rayshard Ashby
Other Awards and Reconitions
Caleb Farley was honored as a member of the All-ACC Midseason Team.
And now, the Gobbler Country Staff, plus one (Jay Johnson makes an appearance) stick out their necks and make predictions.
I do believe there are some reasons to be optimistic. One, being the recent play of Hendon Hooker. The offensive coaches must call the game around Hooker’s strengths while still allowing him to attack downfield. I think the offense will have success in this game. Defensively, I am not so sure. Sam Howell and the UNC WRs present a challenge to the Hokies and Bud Foster’s group hasn’t been able to consistently generate pressure. If they can pressure Howell, perhaps they can avoid some of the big plays that have killed them, but if they can’t, it could be another tough day for the defense.
UNC 34 Hokies 27
The North Carolina Tar Heels are a dangerous team. All three of their losses were single-score defeats to teams that are either ranked (No. 3 AP / No. 2 Coaches Clemson and No. 24 AP/Coaches Appalachian State) or Wake Forest who just fell out of the Top 25 this past week after a close shoot-out with Louisville. UNC freshmen QB, Sam Howell is doing a great job leading the Tar Heels’ offense. With VT’s penchant for allowing big plays he represents a clear and present danger. Hooker seems to be benefiting from the increased reps with the starters. His running ability adds a dimension to the offense that reminds me of Logan Thomas, in the days of yore. He can keep drives alive and put the team in a winning position when there otherwise wouldn’t be one. I’ve been disappointed with the offensive play calling and the seeming inability to make effective second-half adjustments. As per usual, the lack of a middle-passing game is hurting the Hokies. The Hokies have seemed regularly at a loss with third and middling, which is something I hope Keene’s increased role in the passing game can help rectify. For Virginia Tech to be in this game we are going to need to see improvement in adjustments, defensive play, and a middle passing game. North Carolina has done a fantastic job keeping matches close and limiting prolific offenses like Clemson and Wake. With the Hokies at 1-2 conference and 4-2 overall this is something of a must-win game if our boys are to have any hope of remaining in the Coastal hunt and preserving the longest active bowl streak. My fear is that VT could lay another egg like they did against Duke, and without the above improvements that could be a very real possibility. I think Hooker’s dynamic ability keeps the game closer and the Carolina offense off the field, but I haven’t seen enough to indicate that VT will remedy the big play and adjustment woes still plaguing this young team. I hope I am horribly wrong, but North Carolina wins.
This one is so tough to call. Carolina is an “ok” team except for their decent receiving corps and their surprise star true freshman quarterback. Against a team of nearly no Seniors and Juniors I suppose that is about a push. The one thing that most of the Hokie D has is a good deal of experience in the secondary. It’s going to look a bit odd without Reggie Floyd for the first half. Frankly, I’d like to just go run and hide for this prediction. We need the win. Three in a row would be tonic. Evening up the ACC record would be a really good thing going into another bye week before the Notre Dame game.
Something tells me that this team has enough North Carolina raised players that they just might put forth the extra effort. Who knows maybe someone will actually design and call a decent game?
The Hokies have found a renewed offensive life with Hendon Hooker and should find success against an injured UNC secondary. However, the Tar Heels currently have the same attacking strength. A new, promising quarterback and a talented set of wide receivers. Expect VT to give up a number of big passes, but pressure Sam Howell enough to force a few errors. If the Hokies can get the running game going early and keep the sold-out crowd for Homecoming invested the day should go their way. However, UNC has only allowed one 100+ yard rusher so far this season from six games. If UNC get up early and force Hooker into needing to make big plays the game could start to slip away. UNC will enter Lane Stadium as the favorites. Both QBs put up solid displays, but Bud Foster’s defensive pressure on the UNC freshman QB and Deshawn McClease take the day.
28-20 Virginia Tech
So, it’s your turn pick a scenario or tell us in the comments.
This poll is closed
The Heels come out fired up. They have a big visiting crowd scattered around Lane. They come out slinging it around and the Hokie D just never finds the QB. Heel’s by a lot.
The Hokies come out flat on Offense with tepid play calling but the Defense makes the Heel’s turnover nightmares come true. UNC and Tech battle to a low intensity Hokie win.
Hendon Hooker is finding the magic. Tre Turner comes back, Hazelton starts running under some, and it’s bombs away. Hokies take the game moving away.
No magic. The rain starts early. Everything bogs down. Even the Carolina fans start leaving but the Tar Heels leave with a one score win, too.