UNC Football Opponent Preview: Virginia Tech


Keeping It Heel will preview all 12 opponents the North Carolina Tar Heels will face in the upcoming football season. Today, we continue with a preview of the Virginia Tech Hokies.

Preview of NC A&T

Preview of Illinois

Preview of Delaware

Preview of Georgia Tech

Preview of Wake Forest

Preview of Virginia

Preview of Pittsburgh

Preview of Duke


For eight consecutive seasons (2004-2011), Virginia Tech had at least 10 wins. That included four ACC titles and two ACC Coach of the Year awards. But the last three seasons have seen a noticeable dip in production.

Dating back to 2012, the Hokies have a record of 22-17. In the last 19 seasons, Frank Beamer’s team has won fewer than eight games only four times – two of those came in 2012 and 2014. So, Virginia Tech is in an unfamiliar position for 2015. They have to prove themselves as a squad. Prove that the Hokie football tradition still lives.

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On ACC Media Day, Virginia Tech was picked to finish second in the Coastal Division and fourth overall in the ACC, so obviously the writers believe the team will be back.  Of course, this isn’t good news for UNC football, which has to travel to Blacksburg Nov. 21.

History Doesn’t Bode Well for the Tar Heels

In the modern era, UNC has defeated Virginia Tech only twice, 1998 and 2012. They did defeat Virginia Tech in Blacksburg back in 2009, but the victory was vacated due to the improper benefits scandal. In that 2012 victory, Giovani Bernard rushed for a career-high 262 yards and UNC returned a kick for a touchdown, something the Hokies hadn’t allowed since 1993. It’s just too bad that the final score was the last time UNC held a lead against Virginia Tech.

In 2013 and 2014, the Tar Heels were outscored 61-34. The Tar Heels had a combined 21 penalties and four turnovers. Marquise Williams led the team in both passing and rushing yards for both games, which isn’t necessarily a formula of success for a football team. Even more discouraging is that these two seasons were down years for the Hokies.

The Hokies are Hungry

North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina Tar Heels /

North Carolina Tar Heels

For the 2015 season, Virginia Tech is returning 16 starters – eight on offense and eight on defense. And that’s a defense that led the nation in sacks last season and boasts cornerback Kendall Fuller, who was an AP Second Team All-American.  This team is primed to come back into form this year. Frank Beamer probably has special motivation because of whispers that he should step down.

In the USA Today Coach’s Poll, Virginia Tech received 70 votes. By the time they play UNC in late-November, viewers will know exactly how good the Hokies and Tar Heels are. It’s the second to last game for both teams and Coastal Division standings could very well be at stake.  The fact that the Tar Heel defense needs to play efficiently goes without question. But another important part of victory is lifting the load off Williams. There has to be some variation to keep Hokie defenders out of the backfield. UNC must protect its quarterback.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 34, UNC 20