"Smart, Fast and Physical" is all but tattooed on every North Carolina football player, but on Saturday, in a 34-17 loss to Virginia Tech, coach Larry Fedora's mantra was nowhere to be found.
It was the opposite of how the Tar Heels (2-3, 0-2 ACC) came out of the gate in a 34-17 loss to Virginia Tech. “We’re starting off too slow on offense right now,” said quarterback Marquise Williams, who was 17-for-33 and threw for 187 yards and one touchdown. “I feel like we didn’t start so smart and we didn’t start so fast this weekend.”
After Williams lost a fumble on the first play from scrimmage, the Hokies (4-2, 1-1 ACC) walked into the endzone and took the lead just 44 seconds into the game.
Still, North Carolina showed some fight on the second drive of the day, marching the ball 64 yards on nine plays, yet settling for a field goal. The Tar Heels had four first downs on that drive.
They had one more the rest of the half.
“I’d love to tell you that Virginia Tech has a great defense and did something spectacular,” Fedora said. “But whatever we could do wrong, whatever could go wrong for us offensively went wrong the entire first half from the first play.”
But it wasn’t just that things mysteriously went wrong. UNC put itself in position for problems.
After Williams captained his team downfield on UNC’s only scoring drive of the first half, after he fell into a rhythm and after the offense had found a tempo, inexplicably, Mitch Trubisky found himself under center.
Three plays later, with that rhythm sufficiently stifled, the Tar Heels punted the ball back to Virginia Tech.