BLACKSBURG, Va. — Whether dud or thud, it turned resounding all the very same for North Carolina.
Star quarterback Sam Howell was swarmed and the ninth-ranked Tar Heels confront-planted, falling 17-10 to Virginia Tech on Friday evening in the period opener between the Atlantic Coast Convention soccer groups beneath a packed property at Lane Stadium.
A rocking sea of 65,632 mainly orange-clad admirers greeted North Carolina right here, the going to Tar Heels arriving amid superior anticipations for the third yr of coach Mack Brown’s second stint in charge of the method — tagged with their greatest preseason national position considering the fact that 1997, their selection as the preseason beloved to win the ACC’s Coastal Division, and Howell’s position as a single of the most obvious players in school soccer.
The Hokies had been obtaining none of it, lessening the junior Howell to one of his worst performances. He threw three interceptions for the initial time as North Carolina’s quarterback — Friday evening marked his 26th straight start — and was dropped for 6 sacks.
The night ended with a selection of admirers pouring out of the stands and storming the industry in celebration, after Virginia Tech defensive back Chamarri Conner picked off Howell with 37 seconds remaining to properly cement the end result.
“Obviously the shine’s off and the rating guaranteed does not subject tonight,” Brown stated afterward.
Here are much more takeaways from the Tar Heels’ time-opening decline to Virginia Tech:
Hokies humble Howell
Inspite of trailing 14- at halftime and 17-7 in the fourth quarter, North Carolina had an prospect to possibly pressure additional time, after getting in excess of with 3:17 remaining whilst in will need of a touchdown to pull even with the Hokies.
That travel reached Virginia Tech’s aspect of midfield but went poof in the game’s remaining minute, when Hokies defensive lineman Jordan Williams bought his paws on the scrambling Howell, spinning him all over and virtually producing one more sack. Howell momentarily had his back again to the area he at some point threw towards when Conner grabbed the clinching interception.
That marked the initially-ever interception in the fourth quarter of a school sport for Howell, he of the sturdy arm and confident deal with directly related to the preseason hype heaped on the Tar Heels.
So significantly for his prospective Heisman Trophy candidacy. Howell, the ACC’s Preseason Participant of the Yr, concluded 17 of 32 passing for 208 yards. He threw just one touchdown move, whilst on a regular basis hounded into issues — six sacks, three interceptions, two fumbles — by the Virginia Tech defensive fronton ESPN’s spotlighted nationwide stage.
Hokies in the finish zone quickly
Not substantially resistence from the Tar Heels defense on their first possession of the time. Virginia Tech QB Braxton Burmeister scored on a 4-lawn keeper and the Hokies required fewer than five minutes to get on the board (officially the push lasted 4:59).
North Carolina’s protection opened the time by allowing for an 8-engage in, 75-property scoring travel.
North Carolina faced an uphill climb by halftime, with Virginia Tech primary 14-. The Hokies converted six straight third-down likelihood to commence the evening, powering Burmeister (7 of 8 passing for 126 yards in the very first fifty percent).
The Heisman Trophy candidacy wasn’t off to a flying start out for Howell. He went 4 of 8 passing for 58 yards in the first fifty percent, was sacked four periods and fumbled when.
Josh Downs received free on 37-yard TD capture and run in the second 50 %. It took much more than 2½ quarters, but UNC finally was on the board. The Hokies led 14-7 in the 3rd quarter.
The TD pass was the 69th of Howell’s UNC job, making him the school’s all-time chief.
No. again-to-back again
Back again-to-back major plays by men putting on No. for UNC transpired in the 1st 50 percent.
Defensive again Ja’Qurious Conley picked up a fumble recovery to derail a Virginia Tech generate inside the North Carolina 10-yard line. Then, UNC receiver Emery Simmons hauled in a 22-yard catch.
Sack snuffs out UNC drive
Virginia Tech defensive lineman Mario Kendricks drops Howell for a 13-property loss on third-and-7 at the Hokies’ 26, snuffing out what had been a promising UNC push. The Tar Heels had marched from their have 9-property line with Howell and functioning back Ty Chandler receiving them relocating.
Adam Smith is a sports reporter for the Burlington Situations-Information and United states of america Nowadays Network. You can achieve him by e-mail at [email protected] or @adam_smithTN on Twitter.