UNC vs. Virginia Tech prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Tar Heels and Hokies on Saturday in Chapel Hill, NC.
UNC vs. Virginia Tech Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 8 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
TV Broadcast: ABC/ESPN2
The Tar Heels (4-1, 2-0 ACC) are coming off of an emotional 37-35 road win at FSU after connecting on a 54-yard field goal as time expired. The victory snapped the Seminoles’ 22-game home winning streak and marked the second straight week that the Tar Heels have won in the final seconds. Pittsburgh was a victim the previous week when Mitch Trubisky threw a touchdown pass with two seconds remaining to give the Tar Heels the victory.
Meanwhile, the Hokies (3-1, 1-0 ACC) had last weekend off but may still be enjoying their 54-17 win over East Carolina, which gave up 462 total yards to Justin Fuente’s squad. Jerod Evans passed for 282 yards and three touchdowns, and he added 97 yards on the ground in the win.
In last season’s meeting, Marquise Williams connected with Quinshad Davis on a five-yard pass in overtime to help the Tar Heels spoil Frank Beamer’s final home game in Blacksburg.
What To Know About UNC
One week after Trubisky threw for career highs of 453 yards and five touchdowns in a wild one-point win over Pitt, the Tar Heel completed 31 of 38 passes for 405 yards and three touchdowns in the win over the Seminoles. Ryan Switzer had another huge day, hauling in 14 receptions for 158 yards and once again proving to be a valued commodity for his quarterback. While the defense has certainly undergone its share of struggles, including giving up 595 yards to the ‘Noles, this offense helps mask some of those issues.
What to Know About Virginia Tech
Before the season began Fuente tabbed junior-college import Evans as his starting quarterback over fifth-year senior Brenden Motley and true freshman Josh Jackson, and the Hokies haven’t looked back. Fuente said last week that the team is still developing its drop-back passing game and has been more reliant on the play-action game thus far, so the offense is still nowhere near what it will look like as Evans continues to pile up the reps. But, so far, it appears that VT will be able to keep up with some of its higher-scoring opponents.
Offense: UNC. Evans looks like a special player, and Fuente’s system works. But it’s tough not to give the edge to Trubisky and the UNC offense under head coach Larry Fedora.
Defense: Virginia Tech. It says a lot about Bud Foster that he was retained when Fuente came aboard.
Special Teams: UNC. Switzer has seven career punt returns for touchdowns. So he can affect a game both as a very good receiver and a great return man.
Coaching: UNC. Fuente is a stud, but Fedora is coming off of a signature win over FSU.
Intangibles: UNC. The home crowd should be rabid following the team’s victory in Tallahassee.
Matchup To Watch
Switzer vs. Virginia Tech punt return coverage
Switzer, who has 30 catches and 366 yards over his last two games, owns the UNC and ACC records for career punt return yards and touchdowns, and he’s just one score shy of tying the FBS record held by Texas Tech’s Wes Welker and Oklahoma’s Antonio Perkins. He has been beastly and is on pace to shatter all of his season highs as a receiver, but one return can make a big difference in a close game.
Spread: UNC -2.5
UNC vs. Virginia Tech Prediction
The Hokies finally have a capable offense after so many below-average performances in the latter years of the Beamer era. With Foster still doing his thing with the Hokies, Fuente is having success right away in his new gig. Even with their defensive mishaps, the Tar Heels have the mojo after back-to-back wild victories. The train keeps chugging along at home for UNC, which pulls out a victory and remains unbeaten in conference play.
UNC vs. Virginia Tech Score Prediction: UNC 27, Virginia Tech 24