Photo Credit: ACC Media
Virginia Tech fought back after a rough first half that had them down 35-14 with Hendon Hooker coming in and helping turn around the Hokies' offense. However, UNC's offense, especially their rushing attack, was even better against a Hokies' defense that had a nightmare performance on their way to disaster.
#19 Virginia Tech fell to #8 North Carolina 56-45 with the Tar Heels improving to 3-0 and the Hokies falling to 2-1.
Tech's defense was a disaster as they gave up 656 yards on offense including 404 rushing yards. On top of that North Carolina averaged 9.94 yards per play as Tech had arguably their worst defensive performance in program history. Tech's pass rush had a rough day with only one sack as they struggled mightily with the defensive line having their first bad game of the season.
Tech's offense struggled with Braxton Burmeister taking most of the snaps in the first half, but Hendon Hooker took over in the second half and Tech's offense took off with an impressive 23-point third quarter.
The offense finished with 495 total yards with an average of 6.43 yards per play while also having 260 rushing yards with an average of over 5 yards per carry. That type of offensive production should be more than enough to get the job done but on this day, it left the Hokies coming up short.
Khalil Herbert was once again impressive with 18 carries for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns with his 7.7 yards per carry being his lowest game average to date, another sign of how impressive him and the Tech rushing attack has been.
Hendon Hooker had a very good first game of his season going 7-13 for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns while also running for 29 yards and a TD on 8 carries plus a 2-point conversion. James Mitchell led Tech's receivers with 4 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown along with a 1-yard rushing touchdown early on.
Braxton Burmeister did put up some solid numbers going 7-15 for 79 yards and running for 51 yards on 11 carries, but Tech's offense was limited with him in. Meanwhile, Tayvion Robinson played well with 4 catches for 45 yards and a touchdown while Tre Turner had 2 catches for 51 yards.
Jermaine Waller made his season debut and had 8 tackles including 1 for loss and a pass breakup as he showed some rust but also was arguably the best defensive player for the Hokies on this day. Amare Barno had his third sack of the season while Tyler Matheny had 10 tackles, Dax Hollifield had 9 tackles, Alan Tisdale had 8 tackles, and Rayshard Ashby had 6 tackles but a lot of those tackles came farther down the field than wanted to say the least.
Brian Johnson made all of his extra points along with a career-long 55-yard field goal. He also recovered his own onside kick attempt early in the third quarter that gave Tech tons of momentum and helped them cut the UNC lead to 42-37 before the Tar Heels opened it up on the ground.
We will have more as this story develops.