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October 6, 2012
North Carolina was trying to make a statement Saturday afternoon with its first-ever 'White Out,' and once the Tar Heels took the field in their sleek all-white uniforms, they made a decisive statement of their own.
The Tar Heels (4-2, 1-1 ACC) dominated the second half, breaking open a close game at halftime and producing over 500 yards of total offense on the afternoon on its way to a 48-34 triumph over the Hokies.
After allowing Virginia Tech to score on its opening possession of the game---a 13-yard run by quarterback Logan Thomas---Carolina quickly answered, as Sean Tapley broke free along the left side on the kickoff and scampered to the end zone from 94 yards out to make the score 7-7.
Eight minutes later the Tar Heels took the lead on a four-yard keeper by quarterback Bryn Renner, who played a solid game for UNC.
The Hokies kept it close with a 49-yard scoring pass from Thomas to Marcus Davis late in the first quarter, but the Tar Heels came right back again thanks to the legs of Giovani Bernard.
In what was his finest hour so far as a Tar Heel, Bernard ran for over 262 yards on 23 carries---fifth-highest in school history---and kept the Hokie defense reeling all day with his elusiveness, and his 62-yard scoring run on the first play of the second quarter gave UNC a 21-14 lead it would not relinquish.
Virginia Tech place kicker Cody Journell connected on two second quarter field goals---sandwiched around a 1-yard scoring run by UNC's A.J. Blue---and at halftime the Tar Heels held a 28-20 advantage.
Carolina added to its lead midway through the third quarter, as Tapley scored his second touchdown of the afternoon on a 19-yard toss from Renner.
After Virginia Tech's Demetri Knowles ran back the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for the second kickoff touchdown return of the afternoon, UNC went back to the grindstone and drove into field goal range for Casey Barth, whose 44-yarder made it 38-26.
Just two minutes later, following an interception by Tim Scott and a brilliant 51-yard run by Bernard, A.J. Blue rambled across the goal line from 13 yards out to make the count 45-26.
As one would expect Virginia Tech didn't give up, and the Hokies answered again with a 66-yard bomb from Thomas to Corey Fuller to stay within a reasonable margin at 45-34. Despite the loss Thomas had a good game for Virginia Tech, throwing for over 350 yards and two touchdown passes.
But once again the Tar Heels managed to drive offensively when they needed it, running off several minutes from the fourth quarter clock and getting another field goal from Barth to make it 48-34.
Down the stretch the Hokies had a couple opportunities to score, but a sandwich sack by Shakeel Rashad and Kevin Reddick nized their last chance.
The Tar Heels ran for over 300 rushing yards, the first time since 2004 that Carolina had so many yards on the ground in a single contest.
Aside of putting UNC at 4-2 and back at .500 in ACC play, its just the second time since Virginia Tech joined the league that the Tar Heels have beaten them, and the first time in Chapel Hill that UNC has ever beaten the Hokies.
Stay tuned for complete postgame coverage of UNC's huge triumph over the Hokies here at Tar Heel Illustrated.