Entering this game, most knew that this was one of the biggest mismatches in the ACC this year. The only concern was that Virginia Tech could possibly overlook UNC with better opponents looming.
That clearly wasn't a problem.
#14 Virginia Tech made a statement with a 59-7 rout of North Carolina in the Hokies' biggest margin of victory of the season. VT dominated the Tar Heels as you would expect a top 15 team to beat a 1-6 opponent.
The win means that the Hokies will be playing in a bowl game for the 25th-straight year. As Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times brought up, the Hokies also punished UNC more than the NCAA did.
The Hokies were absolutely dominant outside of their slow offensive start. Virginia Tech had three touchdowns from their defense and special teams in what was throwback to the Beamer Ball era.
The Hokies forced 3 turnovers, returning 2 of them for touchdowns including Ricky Walker's fumble return for a TD and Reggie Floyd's pick 6. The Hokies were dominant in the trenches with 13 tackles for loss and 6 sacks on their way to holding UNC to under 200 yards of offense.
Offensively, the Hokies got off to a slow start but after a couple of non-offensive touchdowns, the Hokies got their offense going and put together some quality drives including a 70+ yard TD drive in the final 90 seconds of the first half. Virginia Tech's offensive yardage was inflated by a strong garbage time performance, but the Hokies' first team was productive for playing only 2.5 quarters.
Josh Jackson struggled early but once he got going, Jackson played well. Jackson finished the game going 10-for-20 for 132 passing yards and 3 touchdowns in what was a solid game overall for him.
Cam Phillips broke into the Hokies' record book for his career with his 5 receptions passing Isaiah Ford for the all-time reception record. Phillips had 49 yards and a touchdown to lead the Hokies in what was another strong game for Phillips.
Eric Kumah had 2 receptions for 23 yards and a TD while James Clark and Sam Denmark both had 3 catches with Denmark having a TD in garbage time. Dalton Keene had a 33-yard reception and Sean Savoy had a 23-yard reception in the first half.
Travon McMillian had 41 yards on 11 carries and a 4-yard TD reception while Sean Savoy had 19 rushing yards and Jalen Holston had 15 yards and a TD. Coleman Fox dominated garbage time once again with 7 carries for 58 yards and a 20-yard reception.
Defensively, the Hokies were led by a great performance from their defensive line especially their defensive tackles. Tim Settle was a nightmare for UNC with 5 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 1 sack while Ricky Walker had 4 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a fumble return for a TD. The Hokies have arguably the best defensive tackle pair in the ACC, and they've shown it the past two weeks.
Trevon Hill looked like one of the ACC's best DEs with 6 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. Andrew Motuapuaka led the Hokies with 9 tackles plus 1.5 tackles for loss and an interception. Tremaine Edmunds had 8 tackles and 1 tackle for loss while Terrell Edmunds has 8 tackles and 0.5 sacks.
Oscar Bradburn wore the #25 jersey averaging 44.3 yards per punt with all 4 punts landing inside the 20. Joey Slye struggled missing one of his two field goals in what has been the worst season of his career.
Virginia Tech stomped North Carolina in a game that was quite enjoyable after UNC constantly blaming the weather on last year's loss (which was ridiculous by the way). This year, Virginia Tech won a perfectly sunny day where the reason for the win was exactly the same as last year, the Hokies were the much-better team.
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