Fosterball. That's how.
Over a quarter of North Carolina's yards on Saturday came on the two touchdown plays. Almost half its rushing yards came on a 50-yard TD run by Greg Little. I said the game would come down to big plays and for a while, it looked that would be the case. However, North Carolina hurt itself with penalties and turnovers.
In the first half, the Tar Heels got the ball deep in Tech territory often. Their second, third and fourth drives of the game started at the Tech 33, 42 and 49. However, they came away with only three points out of those three drives.
Key No. 1: Heels waste early opportunities.
In the second half, North Carolina QB TJ Yates left with an injured ankle and wouldn't return. The Tar Heels scored on their first play sans Yates, but it quickly became obvious that Mike Paulus isn't as good at football as his brother is at basketball. And I think Greg Paulus sucks, so that's saying something.
Key No. 2: Yates leaves the game.
Following the 50-yard touchdown run by Little, the Heels final three drives ended in a punt, a fumble and two interceptions. After the touchdown, the Hokie defense returned to its earlier form, shut down the running game and forced Paulus to throw. He couldn't.
Key No. 3: Heels turn the ball over late.
The Tar Heels committed 14 penalties for an obscene 121 yards, including a crucial push out of bounds on a punt return by Macho Harris in the fourth quarter. The ensuing drive resulted in Dustin Keys' game-winning field goal.
Key No. 4: Heels commit costly penalties.
So far, it appears the Hokies won the game because the Heels beat themselves and the Hokies were lucky enough to see Yates leave the game. For the most part, that's true. But the offense did rebound in the second half and after flailing and faltering in the first half, the Hokies were able to pound the ball at the Heels and there was little they could do to stop them.
Key No. 5: Hokies wear down Heels, beat them on the ground.
It was an ugly win, but a win nonetheless. The offense still has a lot of work to do. Fortunately, it's three weeks before the Hokies play another conference game. Losing to ECU eliminates any chance the Hokies had at dreaming of a national title. The focus now has to be on winning the ACC. They now own the tiebreaker over two of their top three challengers in the division. Beating Nebraska and WKU would be nice, but in order to do that, progress has to be made on offense.
Inside the Box Score
- The first thing that jumps out at me - VT First Downs: Rushing 6, Passing 6. That's a huge improvement. We were actually able to get first downs through the air. It's a start.
- VT Third Down Conversions: 3-16. AHHHHHHH! My eyes! They burn!
- Evans averaged 4.4 ypc and Lewis 4.0. That's a huge improvement for Lewis and Evans keeps on trucking. If Evans average ever dips below 4.0 in a game, we'll be in trouble.
- Tyrod Taylor 11-for-21 passing, 6.0 ypa, 0 TD, 2 INT. Until Tyrod gets better through the air, teams will be able to load up in the box against us.
- VT sacks: 4 for 39 yards. This is the kind of pressure we expected all year. All three defensive ends played well.