The last time North Carolina and Virginia Tech played, the Hokies beat the No. 10 Tar Heels 17-10 to open the 2021 season and immediately crushed the lofty expectations of the Heels.

That was more than a year ago, though, and the teams are quite different as they head into a meeting this weekend in Chapel Hill. The Hokies have a new coach and aren’t off to the hottest start. The Heels started the year 3-0, but their slipshod defense let them down in a big matchup against Notre Dame last week.

Now the Hokies will pit one of the country’s worst offenses against one of the country’s worst defenses, as both still have potential in a Coastal Division that has been full to the brim with Coastal Chaos already this season.

Here’s what to expect:

The Hokies

Virginia Tech is 1-0 in ACC play. On the other, nothing about the way the Hokies have played this year has been convincing.

Virginia Tech started the season with a 20-17 loss at Old Dominion. It followed that with a nice win against Boston College, which is in a tight race with Georgia Tech as the ACC’s worst team. Then the Hokies beat Wofford in less-than-convincing fashion, before getting run out of Lane Stadium last week by West Virginia.

The 2-2 start has been thanks to an offense that just hasn’t done much of anything right. The Hokies are averaging just 20.3 points and 330 yards per game, which rank 113th and 105th, respectively, in the Football Bowl Subdivision, respectively. They rank 110th in rushing offense and 90th in passing offense, as they really are doing nothing right.

Starting quarterback Grant Wells has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns this season, and the Hokies’ leading receiver is averaging just 50 yards per game. Keshawn King has been strong in the running game, but he was limited because of injury against West Virginia and the Hokies ran for just 35 yards and 1.9 yards per carry.

Defensively the Hokies have been pretty good, as they’re giving up just 4.13 yards per play and rank 10th in the nation in total defense. The offensive competition hasn’t been the best, though, and West Virginia exposed some serious holes and rushed for 218 yards.

Coach Brent Pry and Virginia Tech have a lot to figure out.

The Tar Heels

It’s hard to know what to make of the 2022 North Carolina Tar Heels.

The offense has been rolling, though it did look a lot worse against its 1st real defensive test of the season last weekend against Notre Dame. Still, Carolina had 367 yards and 32 points in that game, as Drake Maye helped to lead a pretty good comeback effort.

Omarion Hampton had the 1st bad game of his college career with just 28 yards and 2.8 yards per carry, though he has an opportunity ahead of him against the Hokies. Hampton should play a huge role in this game, as the Heels have plenty of film from a week ago as to how to attack Virginia Tech on the ground.

The problem for the Heels obviously has been the defense. Only Nebraska ranks lower than the Heels in total defense among Power 5 teams, as Carolina is allowing 495 yards per game and an abysmal 6.43 yards per play.

Notre Dame, which went into the game last week ranked among the worst offensive teams in the country, hung 45 points and 576 yards on the Tar Heels.

The good news for Carolina is it gets another shot against a bad offense this week. Maybe Virginia Tech is where defensive coordinator Gene Chizik finally figures it out, even a little bit.


For the 2nd week in a row, the question for the Tar Heels is can their defense do anything to stop a pretty bad offense?

That defense failed the test against Notre Dame, but now it has maybe even a worse unit coming in with the Hokies.

Vegas loves the Heels in this one, as Carolina is a 9-point favorite. For Carolina, Maye and the offense should have enough firepower to overcome what UNC’s defense allows.

North Carolina 38, Virginia Tech 31