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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC football falls to Virginia Tech in six overtimes, 43-41

UNC running back Javonte Wiliams (25) gains yardage during the football game against Clemson on Saturday, Sept. 28th, 2019 at Kenan Memorial Stadium.

The North Carolina football team (3-4, 2-2 ACC) went on the road and fell to division rival Virginia Tech on Saturday, 43-41, after six overtime periods. It was the first six-overtime game in the history of the ACC.

What happened?

The Tar Heels jumped out to an early 10-0 start, benefitting from a 47-yard touchdown throw to Dazz Newsome, then a Hokie fumble to set UNC up in enemy territory. The turnover led to a field goal from kicker Noah Ruggles, giving North Carolina a 10-0 less than five minutes into the game.

The Hokies answered at the end of the first quarter with a deep ball of their own, cutting the lead to three with a 55-yard touchdown throw.

An eventful second quarter saw Newsome grab his second touchdown of the day, this time for 10 yards, before VT cashed in on back-to-back touchdown drives before the break. A 2-yard rushing score, then an 11-yard passing touchdown gave the Hokies a 21-17 halftime lead.

The third quarter was scoreless outside of a Sam Howell pass to Rontavius "Toe" Groves for six, giving the Tar Heels a 24-21 lead early in the period. Then, with 9:29 in the fourth, a 23-yard field goal knotted the game up at 24 apiece.

The teams traded punts to set up Howell and the Tar Heel offense at their own 20-yard line with just over six minutes remaining. It didn't take long for UNC to find the end zone, as a flea flicker sucked in the VT defense and left sophomore receiver Antoine Green all alone for a 68-yard touchdown with 5:11 left.

But VT quarterback Quincy Patterson promptly tied it back up at the 4:31 mark with a 53-yard rushing score up the middle. A scoreless end to regulation set up overtime in Blacksburg.

UNC and VT matched each other point for point for five overtimes – at the start of the fifth, the teams began trading 2-point conversion attempts, a new rule in college football this season. Both failed to convert in 5OT; UNC also came up short in the sixth overtime before the Hokies punched it in from three yards out, ending a four-hour ordeal and sending the Tar Heels home with a loss.

Who stood out?

Howell impressed again after a career day at Georgia Tech two weeks ago, posting 348 yards and five touchdowns in the lengthy game. Newsome led the Tar Heel receiving corps with 112 yards and two touchdowns, while Michael Carter added 91 yards on the ground.

When was it decided?

This one wasn't decided until the last play of the game, when VT punched it in from three yards out to send the Hokie crowd into, well, more a state of exhausted relief than excited delirium.

Why does it matter?

North Carolina had multiple chances to win it, including a field goal attempt in triple overtime and a 2-point attempt in quintuple overtime. The loss leaves lingering questions regarding the team's playcalling and ability to finish games, as this is one that definitely falls in the "missed opportunity" category.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will travel back to Chapel Hill and prepare for a tilt with rival Duke on Saturday at 4 p.m.


@DTHSports |

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