BLACKSBURG, VA – UNC played better, but the results were painfully similar as the Tar Heels fell to the Virginia Tech Hokies 27-17 Saturday in an ACC clash at Lane Stadium.
Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas tossed three touchdown passes, all in the first half, helping his team build a 21-7 lead it wouldn’t relinquish in improving to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in ACC play.
The Tar Heels drew within 14-7 in the second quarter as sophomore quarterback Marquise Williams hit Eric Ebron for a 6 yard scoring strike at the 9:09 mark. Williams started in place of Bryn Renner, who sat after suffering an undisclosed injury in last Saturday’s drubbing to ECU in Chapel Hill.
Despite a solid effort in which he completed 23 of 35 passes for 277 yards with two scores and two interceptions, Williams couldn’t help the Tar Heels from falling to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the ACC.
Williams was also the team’s leading rusher, not necessarily a good thing, in collecting 57 yards on 18 carries. The Hokies defense, ranked among the nation’s best in several categories coming into the contest, was as good as advertised in holding the Tar Heels to 100 yards rushing at just 2.6 yards per attempt.
Virginia’s Tech’s offense did enough to win the contest, with Demitri Knowles snaring the first touchdown grab and D.J. Coles collecting his second on a 5 yard reception with 2:44 remaining in the opening half as the Hokies took a 21-7 lead into the break.
The Tar Heels put together an impressive drive in the third quarter but settled for Thomas Moore’s 36 yard field goal to cut Virginia Tech’s lead to 21-10. The drive was thwarted when the Heels got a bit fancy on a reverse attempt the Hokies snuffed out for a loss.
Troy Edmunds sealed the contest for the Hokies with a 1 yard scoring run with just 4:06 remaining, making Quinshad Davis’ 24 yard touchdown catch with 1:09 left academic.
Trailing 27-17, the Tar Heels attempted an onsides kick that was gathered in by Virginia Tech. UNC committed 11 penalties, continuing their “flag football” Saturday theme for the season but enjoyed a bright spot defensively in holding the Hokies to just 48 yards rushing on 34 attempts.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/hokies-passing-offense-downs-tar-heels-27-17/
CHAPEL HILL– The Tar Heels have now concluded a week of spirited practices following the head-scratching loss to East Carolina Saturday. And now, it’s off to Blacksburg for a critical Coastal Division battle against the revitalized Virginia Tech Hokies.
And Head Coach Larry Fedora says he’s been encouraged by the way practice has been going this week.
“We’ve had two really good days of practice. Today was better than yesterday as it should be. The game plan is in so guys felt better about it. We had some good energy today with good competition,” Coach Fedora says.
With the lack of enthusiasm last week, Coach Fedora says he needs the Tar Heels to embrace the moment, just “turn it loose” and enjoy their time out on the field during game days.
“We just need to play. Just go out there and play. Turn it loose and play. We work hard Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. You better enjoy Saturday. You better go out there and turn it loose, and have a good time,” Coach Fedora says.
Defensive Coordinator Vic Koenning was still fuming at practice over the horrific play of his defense. He says the Tar Heels made the Pirates look like the Green Bay Packers last Saturday.
“All the credit needs to go to them. They looked like the Green Bay Packers, and we made that running back look like Walter Payton. There‘s probably a lot of reasons. But reasons are excuses. […] They kicked our butt on every level,” Coach Koenning says.
Koenning says this week’s preparations for Virginia Tech have been more physical than usual, saying he’s even been having his players tackle to the ground, a rarity in today’s game. Koenning says he equates his current role to an epic fist fight.
“It’s like I’m in a fist fight with whomever the heavy weight champion is every day just trying to get these guys to do the right things and do it as fast and hard as they can,” Coach Koenning says.
Senior safety Tre Boston has been tossing in a few missed tackles himself in the last couple contests. However, Boston says he’s motivated to correct those mistakes and wants everyone to know that the season is not yet over for the Tar Heels.
“I guess people tend to think that this is over for us. The Coastal [division race] is all in front of us. It’s what we make out of it. We had to change that mentality around Sunday. You can’t let a team beat you twice,” Boston says.
We’ll begin to see if Boston and the Tar Heels have turned the corner this weekend.
UNC kick things off in Blacksburg Saturday at 12:30 p.m. And WCHL will get your game day morning started off right with Countdown to Kickoff beginning at 9 a.m.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-will-try-to-turn-it-loose-versus-vt/
CHAPEL HILL– Perusing the ECU game film didn’t make Head Coach Larry Fedora feel any better about Carolina’s performance on Saturday. Coach Fedora says he may have proved an old adage wrong in the process.
“You all know the old saying that it’s never as bad or good as you think it is? Well, it was as bad as I thought it was. I proved that wrong. The film didn’t show us anything to make us feel any better about it I can tell you that,” Coach Fedora says.
However, Coach Fedora says he’s still supremely confident in his coaching philosophy despite the utter lack of execution in all phases of the game.
“Our philosophy is very sound and is proven. That’s not going to change. It’s not going to waver,” Coach Fedora says.
The most disheartening aspect of Saturday to most observers was the fact that it appeared the Tar Heels were unprepared or unwilling to match the intensity and passion of the Pirates. The game seemed to not be worth fighting for on their home turf for the majority of the contest. And Coach Fedora says he takes responsibility for the letdown.
Sunday’s practice time was spent correcting the laundry list of mistakes made in the game. Coach Fedora says that now it’s about putting the past behind them and making a mental decision to turn the corner.
“Now make a choice and make a conscious choice what you want to do from this point on. And when you come out on Tuesday, let’s go,” Coach Fedora says.
With a tough road trip up to Blacksburg to face a resurgent Virginia Tech team on deck, Coach Fedora says he knows his Tar Heel offense can’t be sputtering against the Bud Foster-coached defense that has its “mojo” back.
“It’s the same guys. They got the mojo back. They’re playing really well together, and they believe in themselves. They’ve got that mojo right now,” Coach Fedora says.
Kickoff at Virginia Tech is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Saturday. And WCHL will have your game day covered beginning with Countdown to Kickoff at 9 a.m.