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Virginia Tech takes down No. 10 North Carolina, 17-10

What a start to the season for the Hokies.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Virginia Tech Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies took down the No. 10 North Carolina Tar Heels, 17-10, on Friday at Lane Stadium to move to 1-0 on the season.

It was an electric atmosphere in Blacksburg that showed just how much we missed fans in 2020.

It was a tale of two halves for Virginia Tech’s offense. Quarterback Braxton Burmeister completed seven of eight passes for 126 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He also ran for a score. However, the Hokies were far too conservative on offense in the second half, and Burmeister missed some easy throws, allowing UNC to hang around.

The story of this game was the defense. Not only did Justin Hamilton’s group hold the Tar Heels to 10 points, but the Hokies’ defense sacked Heisman-hopeful Sam Howell at least six times and picked him off three times. The defensive line controlled the game for four quarters as all four of Virginia Tech’s starting defensive linemen had big games.

The secondary played a terrific game, too.

Chamarri Conner’s interception of Howell with under one minute remaining in the game sealed the win for the Hokies. A major assist goes to defensive tackle Jordan Williams, who chased Howell down in space to force the errant throw.

Burmeister completed 12 of 19 passes for 169 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Hokies rushed for 127 yards, with Jalen Holston leading the way with 49 yards.

Raheem Blackshear caught three passes for 66 yards. Tight end James Mitchell had two huge catches for the Hokies, one of which accounted for Virginia Tech’s second touchdown.

The other went for a key first down late in the fourth quarter.

One game doesn’t make a season. But you have to credit the Hokies for winning a game it has lost in recent years. When they kept failing to score on offense, there was this sense of dread. Fortunately, the defense gave an effort that’s sure to make Bud Foster smile.

Now, the Hokies need this type of effort weekly, with a more consistent effort from the offense.

The Hokies host Middle Tennessee in Blacksburg next week.

Kudos to the fans at Lane Stadium. What an unbelievable environment.