Virginia Tech run over by UNC


Virginia Tech run over by UNC

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."

Worth accounts for 5 TDs as No. 24 Navy beats Memphis

USA Today Sports

Worth accounts for 5 TDs as No. 24 Navy beats Memphis

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Will Worth and No. 24 Navy played keep-away with Memphis while running the Tigers into the ground.

Worth rushed for a career-high 201 yards and three touchdowns, and the Midshipmen put on a dazzling display of ball control in a 42-28 victory Saturday.

In addition to operating the triple option in near-flawless fashion, Worth completed three of four passes for 85 yards and two scores.

"We take what we can get, and today, the quarterback run game was there," Worth said. "We could manage that and set up a couple of pass plays to be able to score through the air. It's just executing the game plan."

The last Navy player to reach the 200-yard mark on the ground was Keenan Reynolds in 2014.

Worth carried 31 times and orchestrated an attack that held the ball for nearly 40 minutes. That left high-scoring Memphis little time to counter-punch.

"It was kind of hard because we weren't doing a great job of getting off the field defensively," Tigers coach Mike Norvell said. "Offensively, it's hard to be in rhythm, it's hard to stay in rhythm."

The Midshipmen (5-1, 4-0 American Athletic Conference) gained a season-high 447 yards on the ground, averaging 6 yards per carry.

The victory put Navy in sole possession of first place in the AAC West and served as a suitable encore for its 46-40 upset of defending league champion Houston two weeks ago.

Navy's 14-game home winning streak is its longest at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium since the facility opened in 1959.

Tony Pollard returned a kickoff 100 yards and Riley Ferguson completed 25 of 40 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns for Memphis (5-2, 2-1). But the Tigers simply couldn't score enough to offset the damage inflicted by Navy's sensational running attack.

"They kind of got after us up front and we had a couple of assignment issues," Norvell said. "But I just thought they did a great job executing."

Worth's second touchdown run put Navy ahead 28-14 early in the third quarter. Memphis responded with a 9-yard TD pass from Furguson to Daniel Hurd.

As the clock wound down in the third quarter, Navy faced a fourth-and-4 at the Memphis 18. Norvell called a timeout, forcing the Midshipmen to deal with the possibility of a field goal try into a stiff wind. Instead, Navy sent its offense on the field and went up 35-21 on a touchdown pass from Worth to Tyler Carmona .

After Memphis again got within a touchdown, a 52-yard completion by Worth led to a 32-yard field goal try by Bennett Moehring. The kick clanged off the left upright with 5:40 to go.

But a fumble by Tigers wide receiver Roderick Proctor was recovered by Navy with 3:39 remaining, and Worth clinched it with a 1-yard plunge.

Worth, a 6-foot-1 senior, started the season as a second-string quarterback but was elevated to starting status after Tago Smith injured his right knee in the opener.

"Here's a kid who was a backup, kept his mouth quiet," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "Now he's doing great things."


Memphis forced 18 turnovers in its first six games, but the only one it got Saturday was when Worth hit the pylon trying to score a touchdown and lost control of the ball. The result was a touchback for the Tigers, whose lone turnover -- Proctor's fumble -- was far most costly.


Memphis: The Tigers came in as a slight favorite because their offense hadn't scored fewer than 24 points in any game. But the defense wasn't up for the challenge of Navy's running attack, and now Memphis needs help to get to the AAC title game.

Navy: The Midshipmen have proven they don't need Reynolds at quarterback to make the triple option sing. Navy's running game is tricky, shifty and just about unstoppable for teams not accustomed to chasing the quarterback, fullback and slotback all over the field.


Memphis: The Tigers host Tulsa next Saturday night at the Liberty Bowl.

Navy: The Midshipmen face AAC East Division co-leader South Florida (6-2, 3-1) on the road Friday night.

UVa falls to No. 22 North Carolina at home, 35-14

USA Today Sports

UVa falls to No. 22 North Carolina at home, 35-14

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- The last time Mitch Trubisky threw a pass in Virginia's Scott Stadium, two years ago, it was his only play of the game and he hit T.J. Thorpe with less than a minute to play to give North Carolina a victory.

He needed no such dramatics Saturday, throwing three touchdown passes as the No. 22 Tar Heels rode his accurate arm and a strong performance by their defense to a 35-14 victory, their seventh in a row in the series and ninth consecutive in true road games.

"The defense played lights out," Trubisky said after throwing for 310 yards. "They played a really great game. The second half we had a little bit better tempo and we were moving them. We converted some more third downs and we got some more rhythm."

Trubisky hit Bug Howard for 40 yards on a trick play, Thomas Jackson for 10 yards and Austin Proehl for 46 yards for touchdowns for the Tar Heels (6-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), and the trick play had everyone smiling at how well it worked. On the play, North Carolina set up in a wildcat formation, handed the ball off to wide receiver Ryan Switzer and he pitched it to Trubisky, who just had to make the throw.

"I've been waiting for them to call it," he said of the play, which has been in the game plan for a few weeks.

The Cavaliers (2-5, 1-2) got their first touchdown on a trick play, too. They lined up for a field goal, had the entire offensive line split out far to the left, and snapper Evan Butts threw the snap 30 yards to his left to Matt Johns, the holder now acting as the quarterback.

Johns quickly hit Butts for an 11-yard touchdown strike, but Virginia didn't score again until just 9:01 remained.

The Tar Heels led 14-7 at halftime and limited Virginia to 39 yards in the third quarter while opening a 28-7 lead.

"That's when we felt like we got control of the game," Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora said. "We hated giving up that 13-play drive (for Virginia's second touchdown), because at that point, we felt like if we could put the ball in the end zone again, then we could put it away."

Elijah Hood ran for 107 yards and a 4-yard touchdown, and T.J. Logan scored on a 4-yard run for UNC.

Virginia has lost two in a row, making the upbeat feeling of a two-game winning streak before that seem a distant memory.

Coach Bronco Mendenhall lifted quarterback Kurt Benkert in the fourth quarter, using backup Conner Brewer.

"I felt it was necessary with the pressure that was going on Benkert, starting from the second half of the Pitt game through this game, it was wise just to have his step back and have him see it from a different perspective and take a breath and regroup," Mendenhall said.


North Carolina: The Tar Heels moved back ahead of Virginia Tech in the Coastal Division race by virtue of having one more victory. The Hokies (3-1 in division), however, beat UNC three weeks ago, so they hold the tiebreaker, but either Virginia Tech or Pittsburgh (2-1 in division play) will fall off the pace in the loss column when they meet Thursday night at Heinz Field. The Tar Heels beat the Panthers 37-36 earlier this month on Trubisky's TD pass with 0:02 remaining.

Virginia: Virginia has now struggled to much offensively for three consecutive halves, including the second half against Pitt last week. The coaches also called several running plays on third-and-medium plays, curious because the Cavaliers could already be playing in nothing-to-lose mode if a bowl game remains their goal. They now need to win four of their last five to make their first bowl game since 2011.


If things go according to chalk, the Tar Heels should be favored in every game they have left and climb in the Top 25 .

They still have to face Georgia Tech at home, play at Duke, host The Citadel and finish at North Carolina State.


North Carolina returns home to face struggling Georgia Tech, which has lost the last two games in the series.

Virginia wraps up a three-game homestand at home against No. 7 Louisville and Heisman Trophy contender Lamar Jackson.