Amid the dreary weather of Hurricane Matthew, North Carolina began their ACC showdown with Virginia Tech in a way fitting the conditions.
The Tar Heels opened the game with a five play drive that turned the ball over on downs, then had an interception on their next possession, followed by a fumble, a three-and-out, and then a punt.
In short, it was that kind of first half for Larry Fedora’s team even if things weren’t that much better on the other side for the Hokies, which took a 13-3 lead into the locker room at the break.
Quarterback Jerod Evans was mostly forced into being a runner (6-of-16 through the air) given the conditions and racked up 56 yards on a remarkable 11 carries. He did connect with wideout Bucky Hodges on an incredible catch with just under two minutes to help the team score the only touchdown of the half one play later.
Virginia Tech fumbled away several other scoring chances to extend their lead in the second quarter though. Their first turnover set up North Carolina’s only score on a field goal and their second cost the Hokies points down in the red zone on a key third down play.
After cracking several Heisman Trophy watch lists during the week, Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky was 8-of-16 for only 39 yards in the first two quarters. Running back Elijah Hood did not play in the game with an injury making it even harder for the offense to get going.
Hopefully the weather will clear up a bit after halftime and allow the two ACC Coastal contenders to look a little sharper in the second half but you probably shouldn’t hold your breath given what happened from the start.