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The Roanoke Times | File August
Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas warms up prior to the start of the Hokies’ season-opening game with Alabama in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
OFFENSE: EDGE TAR HEELS
UNC isn't quite the same offense it was last year, with several players in the NFL, but it's still capable. Bryn Renner (1,117 yards, 7 TD, 3 INT) has got it going to WR Quinshad Davis (13 catches, 204 yards, 3 TD) and TE Eric Ebron (17 catches, 263 yards, TD). The running game has lagged, however, ranked last in the ACC. Tech's stats are still not great (its 328.6 ypg is 109th nationally), but the Hokies have done enough to win. QB Logan Thomas had the second-most accurate passing day of his career last week, going 19 for 25. He's been beat up, with an ab strain and foot sprain.
DEFENSE: EDGE HOKIES
Tech comes in playing at an extremely high level, with the nation's fourth-ranked defense overall. The Hokies thought they'd be getting CB Antone Exum back, but he didn't feel comfortable that his surgically repaired knee was ready, so he won't dress. Freshman Brandon Facyson, who is tied for the national lead with four interceptions, was going to start in his place anyway. If it ain't broke, don't fix it: Tech is tied for the national lead with 11 picks, with 10 in the last four games. UNC is giving up an ACC-worst 459.5 yards and 32.5 points per game. The Tar Heels gave up 603 yards, the second most in school history at home, in a 55-31 loss last week to East Carolina.
SPECIAL TEAMS: EDGE TAR HEELS
Hokies kicker Cody Journell still hasn't ironed out all of his issues. He missed a 25-yarder last week and has missed three of his last four field goal attempts. Tech's return game has produced next to nothing lately. The kick return game is ranked 115th nationally. UNC has some return threats. Heels kicker Thomas Moore is a perfect 4 for 4 this year.
INTANGIBLES: EDGE HOKIES
The Tar Heels hit rock bottom last week, getting blown out at home against a team they hadn't lost to there since 1975. They should have a do-or-die mentality this week. But the Hokies aren't without motivation. UNC's 48-34 thrashing of them last year is fresh in everyone's minds, especially the defense, which gave up 339 rushing yards.
PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 27, North Carolina 16
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