Heels stun Hokies
BLACKSBURG, Va. ó North Carolina’s defense is as good as advertised. T.J. Yates, Shaun Draughn and the offense are improving, too.
Casey Barth kicked a 21-yard field goal on the final play and the Tar Heels’ defense, ranked seventh nationally, stopped No. 14 Virginia Tech all night long in a 20-17 victory Thursday night.
One week after blowing an 18-point lead in a 30-27 home loss against Florida State, the Tar Heels put their troubles in the past and handed the Hokies their second loss in a row.
“I’ve never really had this feeling before,” Yates said. “Kicking it at the last second? It just sends chills down your spine.”
The Tar Heels (5-4, 1-3 ACC) got their first conference win after forcing a fumble by Ryan Williams at Virginia Tech’s 24 with 2:02 left.
Barth’s field goal, his second in the final three minutes, just made it official.
“We knew we had to get back to the drawing board,” Draughn said after running for 77 yards. “To come back and play the way we did definitely speaks volumes about out team.”
The reverse may be true of the Hokies (5-3, 3-2). Until losing to No. 11 Georgia Tech 12 days ago, they were in the thick of the national title picture and feeling good.
Now, with their slim ACC championship game chances probably also squandered?
“I think the motivation is to come out here so you don’t feel like this again,” linebacker Cody Grimm said, dismissing a 10-win season as a motivator. “Ten wins is one thing, but I don’t want to feel like this any more, and the only way to do that is to win.”
No one felt worse than Williams, who started the night averaging 119 rushing yards, gained 96 and was hoping to lead the team down the field to a win until he lost the ball.
“As of right now, there probably isn’t really anything they can say to lift me up because, regardless of what anybody says, personally I feel like I kind of took the game away from us today,” Williams said. “It was on the line, it was in my hands and I fumbled.”
The loss was the Hokies’ first in six ACC games against UNC.
Tydreke Powell caused Williams to fumble for just the second time this season ó the first was on a muffed punt in the opener ó and Deunta Williams recovered. After six carries by Ryan Houston, Barth’s chip shot won it.
Associated Press GREEN BAY, Wis. ó The city of Green Bay is renaming Minnesota Avenue in honor of Packers quarterback... read more