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Hot Read: UNC Runs to Victory

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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North Carolina rushes for nearly 400 yards in a 56-45 win over Virginia Tech.

1. North Carolina's offensive outburst Saturday was something else. The Tar Heels scored 56 points, their most ever against a ranked opponent, and compiled a remarkable 656 total yards and 31 first downs. While quarterback Sam Howell was efficient as usual, North Carolina ran for a stretch shy of 400 yards. Michael Carter rushed for 214 yards and Javonte Williams ran for 169 more, with both backs scoring twice. It was a near-perfect effort from coordinator Phil Longo's offense all of the way around. 

2. Up front, the Tar Heel offensive line was dominant and set the tone for a record-setting showing. North Carolina was able to average 11.2 yards per pass and an astonishing 9.3 yards per rush, success which started up front. The Tar Heels were outstanding at the line of scrimmage and won consistently at the point of attack.

3. Credit North Carolina's late response. Up 42-17 midway through the third quarter, the outcome seemed like a forgone conclusion. Virginia Tech instead rallied to close the margin to 42-37 at the close of the period. With the Hokies seemingly holding all of the momentum, the Tar Heels answered with touchdowns on consecutive drives. The start of the fourth quarter was where North Carolina won this game.

4. Sam Howell quietly impressed. Though we are accustomed to seeing him throw for over 300 yards, he still completed 18-of-23 passes and threw for three touchdowns. Howell was incredibly proficient in helping to key all of the production. 

5. Virginia Tech running back Khalil Herbert continues to star. He, after over 200 yards against Duke last week, ran 18 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns and helped lead the Hokies' comeback effort.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports