Virginia Tech run over by UNC

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Virginia Tech run over by UNC

By Joedy McCreary
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Gio Bernard outrushed the entire Virginia Tech team on a single carry -- twice. He had a career day against a traditionally tough Hokies defense that doesn't allow many of those. Yes, this was quite a statement -- not just for himself, but for the future of his North Carolina team. Bernard rushed for a personal-best 262 yards with a key long touchdown to lead the Tar Heels past slumping Virginia Tech 48-34 on Saturday. "People are probably going to say that they're having an off year, but it doesn't matter," Bernard said. "We just wanted to show everybody what we could do, and we knew what we could do." Sean Tapley returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and added a 19-yard scoring catch from Bryn Renner for the Tar Heels (4-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their third straight, rolled up 533 total yards and claimed their first home victory over the Hokies (3-3, 1-1) since 1938. "It's still early in the year, but ... this was a great measuring stick for us," North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said. "This was Virginia Tech. They dominated the Coastal Division, and we needed to go out there and play a complete game against them." A.J. Blue had touchdown runs of 1 and 13 yards, and Renner finished 17 of 30 for 194 yards with a touchdown pass and a 4-yard scoring run. Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas was 26 of 49 for 354 yards with a 13-yard touchdown run and two long touchdown passes, and Demitri Knowles took a kickoff 93 yards for a TD for the young Hokies, who are off to their worst start since opening 2-3-1 in 1992. "I don't think it's time for excuses," coach Frank Beamer said. "I think it's time for results." Bernard surpassed his previous best of 165 yards set last year against Duke, and nobody has rushed for more yards against a Virginia Tech team. "That doesn't happen against Virginia Tech very much," Beamer said. Bernard also became the Tar Heels' first 200-yard rusher since Ronnie McGill rolled up 244 against Wake Forest in 2003. Virginia Tech finished with just 40 yards rushing. Bernard had two rushes that each surpassed that -- a 51-yarder that pushed him past the 200-yard mark and a 62-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-1 on the first play of the second quarter that put the Tar Heels ahead to stay. "He's standing there, and I said, Look, you've got to get six inches here,'" Fedora said. "And he was like, Well, I'll get more than that.'" North Carolina began to pull away midway through the third quarter, going ahead 35-20 on the Renner-to-Tapley touchdown pass before Knowles took the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown. Virginia Tech went for two, trying to make it a one-score game, but Thomas' pass over the middle didn't have a chance, and the Tar Heels scored the next two times they touched the ball. Casey Barth kicked field goals of 44 and 40 yards for North Carolina. Its 48 points were the most scored in the series by either team, and the Tar Heels gained at least 500 total yards for the third time under their new coach. "I came to Virginia Tech because we're known to play great defense," defensive end James Gayle said. "I feel like today we let the team down." Thomas threw an early 49-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Davis and added a 66-yarder to Corey Fuller with 8:55 left for the Hokies, who lost for just the sixth time in 33 ACC road games. The Tar Heels entered outscoring their previous three opponents at Kenan Stadium by a combined 155-6 and hadn't allowed a touchdown at home all season. Thomas didn't need much time to end that streak, bursting through on a 13-yard keeper to make it 7-0 barely 2 minutes in. Tapley then tied it -- and started the Tar Heels' scoring binge -- by taking the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown. That was the first kick return for a score against Tech since 1993, the longest streak in the country. "Sometimes in life you kind of need a little jump -- a little jumper cable, I guess you could say," Bernard said, "and for the most part, Tap was that jumper cable."

College Football Playoff projections: From contender to pretender in just four weeks

College Football Playoff projections: From contender to pretender in just four weeks

There were high hopes for LSU at the start of the season. With the collection of talent the Tigers boast on their roster, there was no reason to think they could not challenge Alabama for SEC supremacy.

Even my preseason College Football Playoff projections at the start of the season had LSU as one of the four teams to make the playoff.

SEE THE NEW COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROJECTION HERE

The Tigers' championship hopes took a hit with an opening loss to Wisconsin. Now just four games into their season, Les Miles been fired and their playoff aspirations appear to be completely dashed after a devastating loss Auburn.

With Alabama looking as dominant as ever and what was believed to be their main rival already looking down and out, who else can challenge the Tide for supremacy of the SEC? Who else joins the Alabama in the projected top four?

Find out here in this week's College Football Playoff projection.

Jerod Evans' 4 touchdowns carry Virginia Tech past East Carolina

Jerod Evans' 4 touchdowns carry Virginia Tech past East Carolina

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Jerod Evans said that he needed to clean up some things during Virginia Tech's upcoming off week.

The Hokies' fan base may be wondering what exactly that is. His play so far has been sparkling.

Evans, the Hokies' starting quarterback, threw three touchdown passes and rushed for one to lift Virginia Tech over East Carolina 54-17 on Saturday.

The Hokies (3-1) scored on their final five possessions of the first half, including all four of their second-quarter possessions, to overwhelm East Carolina (2-2) and snap a two-game losing streak to the Pirates.

Evans completed 13 of 20 passes for a career-best 282 yards and rushed for a career-best 97 more. He has thrown at least three touchdown passes in three of the Hokies' first four games and is completing 67 percent of his passes.

"I missed a couple of things here and there," Evans said. "I have a lot of things that I can get better at for sure."

Evans entered the game with an ACC-best 10 touchdown passes this season. Of more importance to Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, he has thrown just one interception.

"I think he's pretty good," Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said of Evans. "He's been judicious with the ball and he's going to the right place most of the time. He's been pretty efficient."

Following a punt return for a touchdown by Greg Stroman and a touchdown run by Marshawn Williams that gave the Hokies a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Evans threw touchdown passes of 24 yards to Isaiah Ford, 13 yards to Travon McMillian and 55 yards to Cam Phillips. That final score gave the Hokies a 38-0 halftime lead.

ECU quarterback Philip Nelson had 362 yards passing and two touchdown tosses to Jimmy Williams. The Pirates had 443 yards of offense, but committed three special teams mistakes, fumbled once and were sacked six times.

"We studied the film well and they had a lot of keys when they were sliding the protection," said Ken Ekanem, who had two of the Hokies' six sacks. "We had a lot of indicators and we knew when someone was going to be left one-on-one. We look forward to one-on-one matchups and pride ourselves on winning those. We did a good job of that today."

THE TAKEAWAY

EAST CAROLINA: Coming off a 20-15 loss at South Carolina and playing its third consecutive game against a Power 5 opponent, the Pirates looked a step slow and out of sorts from the opening kick. They went three-and-out on five first-half possessions. The Pirates hope to regroup now that they have finished the non-conference portion of their schedule.

"That was clearly the best football team that we have played," ECU coach Scottie Montgomery said. "The most physical. The biggest. The fastest. The strongest. The smartest. I thought they competed well in their scheme. They played great emotional football. They leaned on their crowd. They played a complete football game -- as complete as it gets."

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies dominated on special teams, scoring three touchdowns as a result of those units. Greg Stroman scored on an 87-yard punt return, and Cam Phillips blocked a punt that led to an Evans touchdown pass to Travon McMillian. A sack of ECU punter Worth Gregory in the fourth quarter led to a 1-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Brenden Motley.

UP NEXT

EAST CAROLINA: The Pirates open AAC play next Saturday with a home game against UCF. ECU blasted the Golden Knights 44-7 last season for their first win in Orlando since 2008.

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies are off next week before taking on North Carolina on Oct. 8 and will be looking to avenge last year's 30-27 overtime loss. The Hokies have won nine of the 12 meetings with the Tar Heels since joining the ACC.