The 2020 Hokies have featured a dominant running offense, rushing for an average of 319 yards per game. Running back Khalil Herbert played a key role in last week’s win over Duke, setting a school record of 358 all-purpose yards and leading the Hokies with 12 yards per carry, good for the top spot in the country.
UNC, who also boasts one of the nation’s top rushing attacks, is one of the best when it comes to defending against the run. The Tar Heels allowed just 40 rushing yards on 19 carries in last Saturday’s win over Boston College.
Virginia Tech has faced uncertainty on both sides of the ball, as more than 20 players and several coaches missed both of its first two games.
This uncertainty came to a head at the quarterback position with expected starter Hendon Hooker quarantined at the start of the season. Backup QB Braxton Burmeister was able to take over the offense and lead the Hokies to victory, but lacked accuracy in his passes against Duke.
Although Hooker has been cleared to play this Saturday, VT has not released a statement about who will start.
UNC’s secondary has also taken some hits as corner Storm Duck exited the Boston College game due to injury; his status is still unknown. Safety Myles Wolfolk has also been ruled ineligible for the season for academic reasons, and has since entered the transfer portal.
The Virginia Tech defense has struggled to fend off opponents when it counts — teams are a perfect six for six in red zone touchdowns against the Hokies. Both N.C. State and Duke turned three red zone visits each into three touchdowns in the first two games of Virginia Tech’s season.
UNC, on the other hand, has converted on each trip it has made resulting in two field goals, one in each game, and five touchdowns, including four against Syracuse and one against Boston College. The Tar Heels should expect success if they make it far enough downfield.
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