The first ACC game of the college football season features one of the nation’s top established quarterbacks — and, no, he doesn’t play for Clemson.
North Carolina’s Sam Howell, who led the ACC in both passing yards and passing touchdowns a season ago, will look for another strong outing on Friday when the Tar Heels travel to Blacksburg to take on ACC Coastal foe Virginia Tech,
The Tar Heels went 8-4 last year and made it to a New Year’s Six bowl, where they lost 41-27 to Texas A&M, but their season on the whole was good enough to have them ranked inside the top-20 nationally to end the year for the first time since 2015.
The Hokies, meanwhile, posted their second losing season in three years in 2020 and dropped a 56-45 shootout to the then-No. 8 Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. It was their first ranked loss of the season, but their only one to come on the road.
Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente made $4.25 million last season, the most of any coach in the commonwealth of Virginia, and if he wants to live up to that contract, his best chance could come with an early season upset on Friday as his team takes on a new look offense for the Tar Heels.
It’s going to be a tall order for the Hokies, who are led at quarterback by Braxton Burmeister. He played in just six games last season, but only went 48-of-85 for 687 yards and two touchdowns. Last year’s starter, Hendon Hooker, transferred to Tennessee for his senior season, which means like Howell, Burmeister is also getting his first real taste of this year’s slate of Virginia Tech’s weapons.
Though Howell is an experienced signal caller, his weapons this year look markedly different as he looks to replace his top running backs and receivers, who accounted for nearly 75 percent of the Tar Heels’ total offense a season ago, which means if Virginia Tech’s defense is up to the task, it might just be able to slow down Howell and coach Mack Brown’s top-10 team.
The Sporting News will have live updates, highlights and scores from Friday’s first ACC game of the year, starting at 6 p.m. ET.
North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech score
North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech live updates, highlights
Live updates will begin here at 6 p.m. ET.
How to watch North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech
UNC vs. Virginia Tech will air live on ESPN starting at 6 p.m. ET. You can stream the game live online with ESPN+ or on fuboTV, which offers a free seven-day trial.
Jason Benetti and Andre Ware will call the game from the booth, with Paul Carcaterra serving as the sideline reporter.
North Carolina football schedule 2021
Virginia Tech football schedule 2021
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