The No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the No. 19 Virginia Tech Hokies 56-45 on Saturday in Chapel Hill.
The Tar Heels blitzed the Hokies early, jumping out to a 21-0 lead, while the Hokies went three-and-out on both of their first two possessions.
Tech finally got something going, scoring two consecutive touchdowns to pull within seven points at 21-14.
However, the defense had no answer.
UNC scored again to make it 28-14. Next, the Hokies get the ball back and after a failed wide receiver screen to Tayvion Robinson, Tech calls a timeout and goes for it on fourth-and-three.
Braxton Burmeister throws a slant to Tre Turner into a double team and the pass is incomplete. North Carolina gets the ball and Sam Howell finds Dyami Brown for a deep touchdown pass with 22 seconds left in the first half to make it 35-14 Tar Heels.
Burmeister played all but one series in the first half. He struggled passing the football, leading to Hooker finally taking over in the second half.
The offense was much better in the second half. Hooker led the Hokies back, cutting the score to 42-37. Again, Tech’s defense could not stop the Tar Heels.
Virginia Tech kicker Brian Johnson crushed a 55-yard field goal and then executed the most perfect onside kick you will ever see to secure an extra Virginia Tech possession.
On the day, UNC rushed for 399 yards and five touchdowns. Both Michael Carter and Javonte Williams scored two touchdowns as Carter led the Heels with 214 yards, while Johnson chipped in with 169 on the ground.
Howell was good, too. He completed 18 of 23 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns.
This UNC offense is among the best in the country.
That doesn’t excuse a poor performance by Virginia Tech’s defense. The Hokies were missing 15 players this week, including Divine Deablo, but were mostly healthy on defense.
The Hokies could not tackle anyone and there’s lots of work for defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton to clean up moving forward.
The Hokies host Boston College in Blacksburg next week.