Posted by Chip Patterson
VIRGINIA TECH WON. The Hokies fought through two early turnovers and fought off a late push from North Carolina to pull out a 24-21 victory over the Tar Heels on Senior Night in Blacksburg. North Carolina lost leading rusher Gio Bernard to a concussion in the second quarter, and never fully regained its composure offensively until the final 10 minutes of the game. Mistakes, short punts, and missed field goals plagued the Tar Heels as Virginia Tech slowly pulled away in the second half.
HOW VIRGINIA TECH WON: The Tar Heels did plenty to hurt themselves, but also credit quarterback Logan Thomas for finding opportunities against an impressive North Carolina defense. The Hokies were not able to move around the defensive line quite like they would have liked, but Thomas was able to use quick screens to Danny Coale, DJ Coles, and Jarrett Boykin to keep drives alive and set up short third downs. Few teams in the conference have been as impressive as Virginia Tech on third and short, with too many power rushing options thanks to that strong backfield with Thomas and David Wilson.
WHEN VIRGINIA TECH WON: North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner orchestrated two fast touchdown drives for the Tar Heels in the fourth quarter to cut the Hokies lead to 24-21 with less than three minutes remaining. But when North Carolina's defense needed to get a quick stop, running back David Wilson pounded the ball to milk the clock down to under 10 seconds to put the game away.
WHAT VIRGINIA TECH WON: A much more comfortable position heading into their regular season finale against Virginia. The Hokies are now a win OR Virginia loss away from clinching their fifth ACC Coastal Division title in seven years. The good news for Virginia Tech fans is the Cavaliers have to face Florida State this weekend, with the Seminoles riding a five-game winning streak. The Cavaliers' only chance to jump the Hokies is to defeat Florida State in Tallahassee AND their in-state rivals next weekend. Needless to say, things look good for a rematch with Clemson for the ACC Championship.
WHAT NORTH CAROLINA LOST: Opportunities, and plenty of them. Nothing went North Carolina's way on Thursday night. There were two reviewable calls that went Virginia Tech's way, two missed field goals, and a poor punting performance that continued to put the Tar Heels defense in terrible field position. The woes date back to Ryan Houston's first quarter fumble, just five yards away from making the game 14-0 and silencing the Lane Stadium.
THAT WAS CRAZY. Bryn Renner's family has had season tickets to Virginia Tech games for 44 years. The father of the North Carolina quarterback was a punter at Virginia Tech from 1979-1982. Renner finished the game completing 14 of 25 passes for 224 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions.
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