Current Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 14:22:06 -0500
Last season, the North Carolina football team cruised to a 48-34 win against Virginia Tech in Kenan Stadium, but this year’s meeting will likely be a bit different.
Not only will the Tar Heels travel to Blacksburg, but they’ll also be going up against the No.4 defense in country — one that held East Carolina and Georgia Tech to 10 points apiece.
“I think it was a hot day here, we got the tempo going, and were able to establish a run game, create a couple explosive passes and just got momentum rolling in our favor,” offensive coordinator Blake Anderson said. “This is a different team and I think they’re better on defense than they were a year ago.”
The most glaring obstacle facing UNC in this year’s meeting? A Virginia Tech secondary that boasts a host of future NFL picks, including cornerback brothers Kendall and Kyle Fuller.
“There the best secondary we’ll have played,” Anderson said. “They’ve got three or four guys that will play in the NFL. So you know what you’re up against. But I do believe you have to test them as well.
“You have to make them make plays. We’ve got some length outside — guys that will elevate and go get the ball.”
Last season, sophomore wide receiver Quinshad Davis tested Kyle Fuller and emerged from the matchup with five catches and a game-high 65 yards.
“Last year Quinshad had a breakout game against Fuller and I know he’s looking forward to the challenge and so are we,” wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer said.
Now, Kyle Fuller will be joined with his freshman brother Kendall, who’s started every game, and against Marshall last week, recorded an interception to go with seven tackles.
North Carolina will have to face the Fuller brothers and the rest of a stout secondary with a young receiving corps and a hobbled quarterback in Bryn Renner.
Renner, who leads the ACC in passing yards with an average of 279.3 per game, came to Monday’s weekly football press conference with a boot on his right foot, but Anderson said that he expects him to play Saturday.
Against East Carolina, Renner threw a career-high 366 yards and added three touchdowns. But the senior also threw an interception and at times seemed a little off, something Anderson partially blames on Renner’s excessive sweating.
“He had a couple get away from him,” Anderson said. “He sweats so bad. He really does. His hands and arms will be dripping wet. He missed a series where he didn’t get a towel or something, and it got ripped off and he had a couple balls get away from him, no doubt.”
Against Virginia Tech’s defense this weekend, Renner will be battling more than just sweaty palms when a Hokie defense with 17 sacks for a total loss of 97 yards comes rushing at him.
But Davis is prepared to bail his teammate out if he gets into trouble.
“I told him whenever he’s in trouble, whenever he needs me just throw it my way,” Davis said. “I’m gonna come down with it.”