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.
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.
Williams ran for two scores in the quarter.
Tech’s defense forced a pair of three-and-outs in the second quarter — Dorian Strong broke up a third down pass to force UNC’s first punt of the game and Amare Barno came up with a third down sack — but the Tar Heels weren’t done.
Howell connected again with Brown right before the end of the first half on a 43-yard throw to push North Carolina’s lead back up to 21 points.
Tech’s already short-handed secondary suffered a blow in the first quarter when nickel Chamarri Conner was ejected for targeting. The Hokies’ starting safeties Divine Deablo and Keonta Jenkins were among the 15 players that didn’t travel to the game. Nadir Thompson, who started last week at cornerback, came in for Conner.