- The Washington Times - Friday, October 30, 2009

BLACKSBURG, Va. | Casey Barth kicked a 21-yard field goal on the final play, and North Carolina stopped No. 14 Virginia Tech all night in a 20-17 victory on Thursday.

The Tar Heels (5-4, 1-3 ACC) got their first conference win after forcing a fumble by Ryan Williams at his own 24 with 2:02 left and turning it into the winning drive.

The Hokies (5-3, 3-2), who until losing to No. 11 Georgia Tech 12 days ago were in the national championship picture, lost their second straight.

Virginia Tech lost for just the fifth time in 20 televised Thursday night games and for the first time in six meetings with North Carolina since joining the ACC in 2004.

The Tar Heels held Virginia Tech to just 95 rushing yards and made Williams, the nation’s No. 7 runner with an average of 119 yards, ineffective for most of the game.

Tydreke Powell caused Williams to fumble for just the second time this season, and Deunta Williams recovered, setting the Tar Heels up at the Virginia Tech 24. After six carries by Ryan Houston got it to the 4, Barth’s second field goal finished off the big upset.

T.J. Yates, who was knocked out of the Tar Heels’ 20-17 loss to the Hokies last season, finished 18-for-28 for just 131 yards but made all the big throws his team needed.

He hit Jheranie Boyd from 13 yards in the first half for the game’s first points and Greg Little from 15 yards as the Tar Heels answered immediately after the Hokies tied it.

Yates did make one big mistake, throwing a dump pass that Rashad Carmichael intercepted at the North Carolina 11, setting up the second of Tyrod Taylor’s two touchdown runs. That gave the Hokies a 17-14 lead with 11:51 left, but Yates engineered a 16-play, 78-yard drive to a tying field goal, and then the defense, fittingly, made a big play to get the win.

The Hokies finished with just 256 yards and 11 first downs.

They finally came to life with their first possession of the third quarter, and a huge play by Taylor early in the drive saved it. Facing a third-and-17 from his 11, Taylor dodged pressure and rifled a 22-yard pass to Dyrell Roberts for the first down.

Taylor followed with passes of 16 yards to Danny Coale and 15 to Xavier Boyce, Williams ran for 22 to the North Carolina 14 and Virginia Tech needed seven plays to punch it in.

Taylor scored on fourth-and-goal from the 1 to tie it at 7-7.

The Hokies’ other scoring drives covered 35 yards for a field goal and 5 yards for a TD.

The Tar Heels did virtually nothing on offense until midway through the second quarter. On a drive that covered 84 yards in 13 plays, Yates hit Greg Little for 17 yards, Little ran for 23 to the Virginia Tech 16 on a third-and-3 and Yates hit Jheranie Boyd for 13 yards in the right corner to make it 7-0 just 2:44 before halftime.

Williams went around the right side for 25 yards on the first play, and Taylor hit Jarrett Boykin for 20 yards on the second, but Tar Heels cornerback Charles Brown stripped the ball from him and Kendric Burney recovered for North Carolina at its own 27 yard line.

The Hokies also drove to the North Carolina 38, 34, 37, 35 and 40 and got nothing. They finished the half with just 108 yards on 29 plays, and Taylor was sacked three times.

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