North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech Prediction, Game Preview

    North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech prediction and game preview. The Tar Heels look to improve to 10-1 as they take on the Hokies in Blacksburg.

    November 17, 2015

    The red-hot North Carolina Tar Heels (9-1) can wrap up the Coastal Division with a win this week at the Virginia Tech Hokies (5-5). Check out the North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech prediction and game preview.

    North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech Prediction & Preview

    Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, November 21
    Game Time: 12:00 ET
    Network: ESPN

    Follow and/or Contact @Rich Cirminiello

    Why You Need To Care

    Few teams in America are hotter right now than North Carolina. But can the Heels keep surging now that everyone is paying attention?

    Carolina has been perfect since losing on opening night to South Carolina. Nine unanswered wins. And the last two were unrelenting demolitions of Duke and Miami, so lopsided that the Heels are beginning to look like a legitimate threat to Clemson in the ACC title chase. But first, they’ve got to handle the business at hand, season-ending road games in Blacksburg and Raleigh. Virginia Tech will have a starkly different motivation than Carolina on Saturday afternoon. At 5-5, with Frank Beamer approaching the end of his legendary career, the Hokies are determined to send their coach out with one more bowl game, a 23rd in a row. This also happens to be Beamer’s final home game, so Lane Stadium will be loaded with electricity … and emotion.

    Why North Carolina Will Win

    The Tar Heels are operating with a take-no-prisoners mentality … on both sides of the ball.

    The offense is sizzling around the tough running of Elijah Hood and the dual-threat ability of QB Marquise Williams. Carolina ranks second nationally in yards per play, and it’s not as if the Hokie D has played up to its potential in 2015. Coordinator Gene Chizik’s Heels, conversely, have done a complete about-face on defense. After allowing 39 points per game last year, they’ve chiseled that number down to 18, thanks to a secondary with more picks than touchdowns allowed.

    Why Virginia Tech Will Win

    Throw out the records and the rankings. After nearly three decades, this is Beamer’s final game in Blacksburg, which will bring out an unforeseen level passion and emotion from his Hokies.

    This is not your typical moment for Va Tech. Plus, Carolina is in an awkward spot of coming off two huge wins, yet still needing to face rival NC State and Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, if all goes well. It would be a surprise if the Heels can maintain their recent level of play this week. Maybe now is the time for the Hokies to bring the defensive hammer, with linemen Luther Maddy, Dadi Nicolas and Ken Ekanem bettering a terrific Carolina O-line. On offense, Va Tech finally has a fulcrum, RB Travon McMillian, who’s rushed for at least 95 yards in each of the last five games.

    Player Who Matters

    As always, so much for Virginia Tech will hinge on the play of inconsistent QB Michael Brewer. He doesn’t have to be Williams. He doesn’t even have to be prolific. But he does need to balance the running of McMillian with accurate throws that maximize the ability of WR Isaiah Ford and TE Bucky Hodges. You’ve got to motor a little to defeat North Carolina these days. And the Hokies require more through the air from their senior quarterback than he’s given them in recent games with Boston College and Georgia Tech.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Emotions will be sky high this week in Blacksburg. And that energy will keep the upset in play past halftime. But Carolina is playing too well right now to be derailed by a Hokie squad that just never seemed to click over the first two months. At some point in the third quarter, Williams & Co. will go on a run, leaving behind a spotty Tech offense. Beamer will receive a hero’s send-off from an adoring home crowd. Bowl eligibility, however, will have to wait another week.

    North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech Prediction

    Prediction: North Carolina 33, Virginia Tech 24, Line: North Carolina -6.5, o/u: 61.5
    Must See Rating: 5: The Night Before … 1: Donny! … 3.5

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