After its second bye week of the season, UNC football returns home to Kenan Stadium to face Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels enter with a 1-3 record and the possibility of making a bowl game slowly slipping away. Can UNC pull off the upset over the struggling Virginia Tech Hokies, or will this further sink UNC’s chances of making it to the postseason this year?
How to Watch/Listen
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET
Before the game, 97.9 The Hill WCHL will be live from Southern Season at University Place with our pregame show. Inside Carolina kicks off the show at 4:00 p.m. and Countdown to Kickoff, presented by UNC Health Care, airs at 5:00 p.m.
If you’re waiting for a shuttle to the game, or just interested in stopping by to see the live broadcast, Southern Season will be selling pulled pork sliders, hamburgers and more from the Big Green Egg.
97.9 The Hill WCHL will be broadcasting every UNC football game this season. Find the broadcast on 97.9 FM, 1360 AM or streaming online at chapelboro.com. ESPNU will be broadcasting the game and it will be available on the WatchESPN app as well.
Two weeks ago, the Tar Heels went down to Miami and were handed a 47-10 beat down by the Hurricanes. The game was never close and three defensive touchdowns by Miami allowed the Hurricanes to coast to an easy victory. Overall, UNC turned the ball over six times (three fumbles, three interceptions) and looked completely lost on offense.
With two weeks of rest in the books, UNC is looking to hit a hard reset on the rest of the season.
Virginia Tech comes to Kenan Stadium this weekend looking for a change of pace themselves. The Hokies lost starting quarterback Josh Jackson to a fractured fibula and have suffered loses to Old Dominion and Notre Dame in the past three weeks.
With Jackson down, Virginia Tech has turned to Ryan Willis at quarterback. A transfer from Kansas, Willis has completed 58 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and one interception this season. Damon Hazelton, another transfer from Bowling Green, is the top target at wide receiver and has five touchdown catches so far this season.
Despite having longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster still on staff, Virginia Tech’s defense, normally a strength of the team, has not been able to live up to the standards it has set for itself. Through five games, S&P+ rankings have the Hokies’ defense at 59th in the country.
However, that does not mean Carolina can take this matchup lightly. Players like defensive tackle Ricky Walker and defensive back Khalil Ladler are talented enough to create havoc for the Tar Heels.
Expect the Tar Heels to lean on the running game in this game. Antonio Williams and Michael Carter are each averaging over six-yards per carry on the season and have been the face of Carolina’s offense so far.
With Chazz Surratt out for the remainder of the season following wrist surgery, the responsibility falls with Nathan Elliott to lead UNC’s offense. Elliott has completed 58 percent of his passes this season with more interceptions than touchdowns. If Elliott cannot get the job done, look for true freshmen Cade Fortin and Jace Ruder to get snaps at quarterback.
Currently, Virginia Tech is a 6-point favorite in this matchup and S&P+ has the Hokies with a 71 percent win probability. A win in this game would be massive for the Heels’ chances of reaching a bowl game this season.
As always, visit Inside Carolina for a complete breakdown of UNC football and recruiting.
A full guide to game-day parking around Kenan Stadium (along with shuttles and bus routes) can be found here, but when it comes to parking in downtown Chapel Hill, you’ve got a few extra choices. Of course, you can always chance it on finding a street spot to parallel park into, but visiting Park on The Hill could help you find a spot that’s a sure bet. The site clearly maps out different parking lots and locations for the smoothest downtown parking experience possible. Keep in mind that parking procedures around Chapel Hill have changed in some areas, so be on the lookout for new meters, and keep the Tar Heel Express in mind as a quick and efficient public transportation option.
Where to Watch
For Tar Heels far out of town, there are Carolina Clubs set up worldwide that provide a familiar atmosphere for UNC fans to meet up and catch the game together. Of course, if you’re closer to home, there are a great deal of options around town.
Kenan Stadium may have new 22-inch wide seats, complete with armrests, but if you’re not attending a Tar Heel football game in-person – or if you’d rather not deal with parking close to Kenan on game day – Franklin Street is the place to be.
Downtown Chapel Hill has plenty of places for fans looking for food, drinks and football action, whether you’re looking for a local legend, a storied sandwich or just as large a television as possible.
- Might as Well is a sports bar in Chapel Hill with a sister location in Wilmington, and offers something of a rarity in Chapel Hill: dedicated parking. There’s free parking available in the lot behind the bar on Rosemary Street, where you can store your wheels free of charge after 5 p.m. during the week and all through the weekend. The bar also plays games from NFL’s Sunday Ticket broadcast, so it isn’t just college ball you’ll find playing on the big screens!
- Linda’s is home to everything from loaded tater tots to salmon cakes, but it’s the legendary pulled pot roast sandwich — called “The Murph” — that’s fueled countless Franklin Street expeditions.
- Four Corners, named for the famous Tar Heel offensive strategy, is naturally a fit for basketball – but the bar is no slouch when it comes to football season, either! With well-placed TVs all across the establishment and a well-stocked bar with plenty of draft beer, Four Corners is a perfect place to post up. If you come hungry, blackened chicken Cajun alfredo is decidedly the way to go.
- If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, the Dead Mule Club – affectionately termed as “the best half-assed bar in Chapel Hill” – is the place to be. The Dead Mule is a local institution, hosting patrons since 1994 and serving over 70 varieties of whisky and 50 different beers. The little white house boasts a porch along with an indoor lounge, and offers a great location to not only watch the game, but also have a conversation and grab a bite from a small kitchen with some fantastic daily specials heavily focused on local food.
- Goodfellows isn’t just home to Picklebacks and “perfect pints,” but also plenty of seats with strategically positioned TVs above. The underground bar also allows patrons to bring in food, so you can take your to-go order or pre-game meal downstairs and get situated. Free popcorn, friendly bartenders and a raucous atmosphere all add up to a great place to be on game day.
- A relative newcomer to Franklin, Sup Dogs has expanded out from Greenville with its signature — and reasonably priced — offerings of ridiculously topped hot dogs and all the fried sides that accompany them. Conveniently placed in the middle of the main drag of Franklin Street, Sup Dogs can act either as a place to watch the entire game or a way station between bar-hopping destinations. As far as drinks go, the “Orange Sup Crush” comes particularly highly recommended — mostly because of the full orange that’s freshly squeezed into it!
- Of course, no list of potential places to watch Tar Heels sports would be complete without Top of the Hill. Views looking down on Franklin’s liveliest intersection and great food and drinks pair up for a high-class experience that takes the best Chapel Hill has to offer and puts it on a rooftop. Reservations aren’t accepted on game days, however, so you’ll have to show up appropriately early to secure a spot.