With a dominating performance from the offensive line and a record setting performance from Gio Bernard, the Tar Heels sent the Hokies into a Coastal Division early season spiral which has not happened since VT entered the ACC in 2004. Like most Carolina fans, I thought this was going to be a grind-it-out, last minute type of win, but with a gutsy 4th and inches call to start the 2nd quarter from Coach Fedora, the Tar Heels were off to the races. Did you see TE Jack Tabb’s seal block off the left edge on Gio’s 62 yard scamper to pay dirt? Nothing makes a former player like me happier than seeing VT defensive coordinator Bud Foster looking befuddled as one of our guys gallops past him on the way to the go ahead touchdown. And we weren’t done there. Both offensive and defensive units continued to bring the hammer and the excitement grew.
With great efforts from many and a break out performance from Sean Tapley (His first of two touchdowns was a 94 yard kickoff return…And as a heads up, VT had not given up a kickoff return for a TD since 1993) as well as a stingy run defense that held Virginia Tech to a measly 40 yards on the ground, the Tar Heels had the perfect recipe for a big win. This will go a long way in helping us forget the nightmares of Mike Imoh and his 243 yard rushing performance the last time the Turkeys came to Kenan.
The atmosphere in the “The Pit” was electric on Saturday especially for an early kickoff (noon snoozer as they are referred to) and the men on the field truly delievered a great product for us to watch and be a part of. They came out and played for 60 minutes with heart, determination and a goal of taking the fight to Virginia Tech. Before the game, Carolina was a 6 point favorite set by Vegas. Many times in the past, we have seen situations where expectations are high leading up to a big game in Chapel Hill and the Heels were not able to deliver the goods for whatever reason. Not this time.
I am fully chest deep in the Fedora kool aid and believed that this team could take care of business against VT and start to change the culture of Carolina Football. And if you don’t think a win against a Frank Beamer Virgina Tech team is not a program changer, then you aren’t paying attention to the big picture. It should no longer be acceptable for fans to hope to be competive with the likes of perenial conference favorites Virginia Tech, Miami or Georgia Tech; we should see ourselves as the program moving forward while those others and sliding back or staying stagnant. This win also helps us with our sales pitch to recruits in the fertile recruiting grounds of Virginia in general and the Tidewater area specifically. This was more than just a “W” on Saturday — it was another huge building block in the re-birth of Carolina Football.
Smart. Fast. Physical.