CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Michael Carter and Javonte Williams kept finding wide lanes and gaping holes to run through for eighth-ranked North Carolina.
When it was over, the duo had powered the Tar Heels to their best rushing performance in nearly three decades while ending a four-year skid against No. 19 Virginia Tech.
Carter ran for a career-high 214 yards and two touchdowns -- including a 62-yarder midway through the fourth quarter -- to lead UNC past No. 19 Virginia Tech 56-45 on Saturday. Williams ran for a career-best 169 yards and two more scores, a combination that powered the Tar Heels to 399 rushing yards — their best output since 1993 and against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent since 1988.
“Those are two of the best backs in the country,” Tar Heels coach Mack Brown said. “They’ve got balance, they’re fast, they’ve got the power and quickness to run inside, and the speed to run outside. They are two of our best weapons. And we know that.”
UNC (3-0, 3-0 ACC) said it was the first time in program history that the Tar Heels had two players crack the 160-yard mark in the same game.
Throw in Sam Howell’s three touchdown passes, and UNC finished with its highest scoring output ever against the Hokies along with 656 total yards — the No. 2 total ever posted against Virginia Tech's defense, which was severely depleted in the secondary.
Khalil Herbert ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns for Virginia Tech (2-1, 2-1), which again played shorthanded due to coronavirus and injury issues. The Hokies rallied from a 42-17 third-quarter deficit to make it a one-possession game entering the fourth quarter, but no closer.
“North Carolina’s explosive on offense,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said. "If you can’t fit the run game, you’re at their mercy. They can do whatever they want.”