“We’ve been a very humble team on the offensive side of the ball and we’re one of the best offenses, if not the best offenses in the nation. I feel like we should carry ourselves like that more often.”
That’s what Tar Heel running back Michael Carter said after they defeated 19th ranked Virginia Tech 56-45.
Maybe it’s because many consider UNC a basketball school, or because they haven’t been getting the attention a 8th ranked football team usually gets, but the Tar Heels came into Saturday’s matchup against Virginia Tech with a chip on their shoulder.
UNC set the tone early with the offense scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions, while the defense held the Hokies scoreless in the first quarter. Virginia Tech scored two second quarter touchdowns before the Heels answered with two of their own – heading to the locker room with a 35-14 lead.
The Hokies would make things interesting in the 3rd – outscoring UNC 23-7, but the Tar Heels’ eight touchdown performance would be too much for Virginia Tech.
UNC finished with 656 total yards, including 399 yards rushing – their highest total against an ACC opponent since 1988 against Duke (408) and most in any game since 1993 versus Ohio (432).
“We saw the offense that we can be today when you can run the ball as well as we did,” Mack Brown said after the game.
“We really just wanted to come out here and make a statement,” Sam Howell said. “I feel like we heard a lot of negative things throughout the week. We just want to show people who we are.”
And show people they did. The Tar Heels put the rest of college football on notice. They’re legit and coming for the respect they feel they deserve.
- Carolina improves to 3-0 for the first time since 2011. That’s the second time since 1997 UNC has officially started a season with three wins (also in 2009 but those wins were later vacated).
- The 101 combined points are the third most in any UNC football game and the second-most ever at Kenan Stadium. Today was just the fourth time UNC played in a game in which 100 points were scored and it’s the most combined points in any Tar Heel victory.
- Sam Howell passed for 257 yards and three touchdowns, Michael Carter rushed 17 times for a career-high 214 yards and two scores and JaVonte Williams rushed 20 times for a career-high 169 yards and two touchdowns.
- This was UNC’s first win against a ranked team in its last eight tries. The previous victory against a ranked opponent was a 20-13 win at Miami in 2016.
- Carolina’s 656 yards are the second most ever against Virginia Tech by any opponent (Alabama gained 833 in 1973).
- Carter and Williams are the first pair of Tar Heels to both rush for 160 or more yards in the same game, the second with at least 150 and the second in which one player gained 200 or more and another rushed for 150. The other time one player gained 200 and another gained 150 was in 1981 vs. Wake Forest when Tyrone Anthony rushed for 224 yards and Bobby Ratliff rushed for 158.
- Mack Brown is now 254-128-1 all-time and 79-52-1 as Carolina’s head coach.
- Carolina has won its last six games, its longest win streak since an 11-game streak in 2015.