New coordinator Justin Hamilton, who finally got to call a game in his new job Saturday, will need to figure out some answers before Tech’s next game, against an offensively-rejuvenated Boston College team.
2) The offense is better with Hooker: Last year’s starting quarterback, Hendon Hooker finally got on the field in 2020 and he showed what he brings to the offense. Going into the game, Braxton Burmeister, Tech’s starter in the first two wins, had a completion percentage under 45% and the Hokies were just 10 for 33 on third-down.
Last season, Hooker completed over 60% of his throws and Saturday, after Hooker took over, Tech went 2 for 4 on third downs in the second half.
Hooker finished 7 for 13 for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
3) Herbert is the Hokies identity: For reasons that are hard to explain, Virginia Tech’s play calling largely ignored the ACC’s
With both starting safeties among 15 players sitting out in the first game for defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton, Virginia Tech surrendered its most points since 2002 and the second-most total yards (656) in program history.
“I hurt for our players,” said Coach Justin Fuente, who revealed that he used offensive players to practice in the secondary this week because of depleted numbers. “They battled through adverse conditions the last three weeks and showed tremendous resiliency and toughness. The last thing I am is upset at our guys.”
The offense, behind running back Khalil Herbert and quarterback Hendon Hooker, did its part to keep the proceedings competitive into the fourth quarter after the Hokies trailed by 25 points early in the second half.
Virginia Tech (2-1) scored the most points by a losing team in series history. It closed within 42-37 with 15 seconds left in the third quarter on Hooker’s
Running back Khalil Herbert made his presence felt in the quarter as well with a 52-yard touchdown run. Herbert converted the third and eight by weaving his way through the secondary to go over 100-yards for the third straight game.
Support Local Journalism
Your subscription makes our reporting possible.
The Hokies held onto the ball for nearly 11 minutes in the third quarter, but still couldn’t overcome the 21 points they spotted UNC in the first quarter.
North Carolina went straight down the field on their first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead while averaging 9.7 yards per play.
Howell was near perfect in the quarter going 10 of 12 for 123 yards with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Brown. Brown, who beat Tech cornerback Armani Chatman down the field, was able to get one foot down at the back of the end zone for the score.
The No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels will host the No. 19 Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday at noon ET in an ACC battle at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Both programs are off to 2-0 starts on the season by are 1-1 against the spread in those two games. This is the 42nd all-time meeting between the two teams and Virginia Tech has a comfortable 24-11-6 edge in the series.
However, the Tar Heels appear to be turning the corner in their second season under Mack Brown and these teams put on a show in 2019 with Virginia Tech winning a 43-41 shootout. This time around, the Tar Heels are four-point favorites with the over-under for total points at 58.5 in the latest North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech odds from William Hill. Before making any Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina picks, check out the college football predictions from the SportsLine Projection