After a sloppy start to the contest, No. 17 UNC was dominated by No. 25 Virginia Tech's stout defense. The Tar Heels opened the door for the Hokies, turning the ball over four times en route to a lopsided 34-3 loss.
Playing through torrential downpour and winds of up to 18 miles-per-hour, both UNC and Virginia Tech struggled offensively to open up play. In slippery conditions, ball security was an issue for both sides as the teams combined for three fumbles in the first quarter.
But the Tar Heels seemed to be more rattled by the weather. UNC's first three possessions featured a failed fourth-down conversion and two turnovers. The offense continued to struggle as the half went on, logging just 80 yards of total offense.
Whether it was turnovers or failure to move the ball, UNC continued to gift Virginia Tech with good field position. The Hokies capitalized, scoring 13 points in a sloppy first half. UNC, meanwhile, only managed to score a field goal, entering the half trailing Virginia Tech 3-13.
The second half didn't fare any better for the Tar Heels, as the game began to slip away. On UNC's first two possessions of the second half, a Mitch Trubisky fumble and a dropped punt led to two Hokie touchdowns.
After falling behind 27-3, UNC knew it had to find the end zone on the majority of its remaining possessions. But against a stout Virginia Tech defense, UNC struggled to earn first downs, let alone touchdowns.
The Tar Heel offense simply never did find itself, failing to score a single point in the second half and falling to Virginia Tech 34-3.
Who stood out?
Mitch Trubisky stood out for all the wrong reasons on Saturday. The redshirt junior committed an early turnover, his first interception of the season, and continued to struggle all game.
Trubisky finished the game with just 58 yards in the air, two interceptions and a fumble. The rain bothered the quarterback, and so did pressure from the Hokies, but Trubisky didn't look his normal self even when he had time.
Overthrown and poorly thrown passes hurt the Tar Heels as they looked to move the ball. And with the usually prolific passing game not posing a threat, the Virginia Tech defenders were able to pin their ears back and limit the run game, as well.
When was it decided?
After a dropped punt on UNC's second possession of the second half, Virginia Tech took over inside the 5-yard line. After scoring a quick touchdown to go up 27-3, the game was all but over. UNC failed to score a point the rest of the game, as the Hokies rolled over the Tar Heels.
Why does it matter?
UNC and Virginia Tech entered the game ranked, but it was likely only one team would remain in the top 25.
As each team looked to climb the polls, a win against a ranked opponent for either would help that cause. For the other, a second loss could mean exile from the top 25, at least for the weeks to come.
The two teams were also fighting for the spot in the ACC Coastal Division. Coming into the contest, UNC sat atop the division with both teams undefeated so far. With a win over the Tar Heels, the Hokies earned themselves the top spot in the division, with No. 10 Miami (1-0 ACC) playing tonight against No. 23 Florida State.
If the two teams finish with the same ACC record at season's end, Virgina Tech will hold the tie-breaker with its victory today.
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heels will travel to Miami to face the tenth-ranked Hurricanes on Saturday, Oct. 15.
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