Virginia Tech returns to action against reeling Tar Heels
North Carolina (1-6, 0-4 ACC) at No. 14 Virginia Tech (5-1, 1-1), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Line: Virginia Tech by 21 ½.
Series record: Virginia Tech leads 21-12-6.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Virginia Tech, coming off a bye week, needs to keep winning to stay in the hunt for the Coastal Division title and a return trip to the ACC championship game. North Carolina needs to win all of its remaining games to have a shot at a bowl invitation.
North Carolina’s offense vs. Virginia Tech’s defense. The Tar Heels need to get something going to have any hope of pulling an upset. They have averaged just 14 points during their four-game losing streak. The Hokies have the seventh-stingiest scoring defense in the bowl subdivision, allowing just 13.7 points per game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
North Carolina: RB Michael Carter. Carter ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opening loss to California, then hadn’t cracked 70 yards before last weekend’s 157-yard, two-TD effort against Virginia. The Tar Heels could use another performance like that to get their offense untracked.
Virginia Tech: QB Josh Jackson has been a huge part of the Hokies’ offensive efficiency. He leads all freshmen at the FBS level with 1,700 passing yards and has thrown 13 touchdown passes with just four interceptions. If he can remain mistake free, the defense will usually take care of the rest.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Hokies won last year at North Carolina 34-3 in a game played with Hurricane Matthew beating down. ... Virginia Tech has two shutouts at home this season and has outscored its opponents 82-31 at home. ... WR Cam Phillips needs four receptions to pass Isaiah Ford (210) as the Hokies’ career leader. ... North Carolina won its last visit to Lane Stadium, 30-27 in overtime in 2016, but its only consecutive wins on the Hokies’ home field came 26 years apart, in 1904 and 1930.
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