Friday, November 18, 2011

#9 VIRGINIA TECH 24, NORTH CAROLINA 21

THOMAS (Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
The North Carolina Tar Heels marched into a rocking Lane Stadium last night and grabbed a Sandman-silencing  early 7-0 lead, but a critical second-drive fumble, a key injury, some bad luck, a handful of controversial calls and Logan Thomas and the Hokies were too much to overcome as Frank Beamer’s squad moved a critical step closer to a rematch with Clemson in the December 3, Dr. Pepper Bowl.

The win put the Virginia Tech football program in a class by itself as the Hokies have now the only team in the nation to have won 10 games in each of the last eight seasons.  Even vaunted powerhouses the likes of LSU, Alabama, Texas, Ohio State or USC have not been able to accomplish a similar feat.

Logan Thomas was solid yet again throwing for two touchdowns and running for a third as Virginia Tech built a 24-7 lead, then held off a comeback bid by UNC in the final quarter.

The Hokies (10-1, 6-1 ACC) won their sixth in a row since a home loss to No. 7 Clemson and remained on track for a fourth trip to the ACC championship game in five years.

Thomas wasn’t the only one making huge plays for the Hokies. Antone Exum forced a fumble by Ryan Houston at the Virginia Tech five-yard-line with North Carolina poised to go ahead 14-0.  Tech’s  Derrick Hopkins recovered. The play was a game-changer as the Hokies drove 95 yards for the tying touchdown.

Although Houston later scored to make it 24-21, he was kicking himself for the mistake, saying “It was unreal for me. The last time I remember fumbling was in my freshman year when I was here. It brought back bad memories.”

(Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
North Carolina (6-5, 2-5) lost its second straight, but made it tense with the help of some defensive breakdowns by the Hokies when they appeared comfortably in command.

At 24-21, the Tar Heels tried an onside kick and recovered it, but the ball did not travel the required 10 yards and the Hokies ran off all but the final five seconds.   

Thomas finished 19 of 32 for 195 yards. Jarrett Boykin playing in his final home game had a career-best 10 catches for 106 yards, and Virginia Tech improved to 19-5 on Thursday nights.

For a full recap and box score, click here, but this is all you REALLY need to know.

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