Disappointing Second Half Leads to First Loss for North Carolina Tar Heels

Brian MurphyContributor ISeptember 20, 2008

In the biggest game in recent program history, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels (2-1, 0-1) played two quarters of great football against the Virginia Tech Hokies (3-1, 2-0). Unfortunately, the rules of football require that four quarters be played in a game, and The Heels lost 20-17.

Confidence was high as the Tar Heels went into the locker room at the half up by a score of 10-3 after a Jay Wooten field goal and a 32 yard TD reception by Brandon Tate.

A Greg Little touchdown run later and fans were even more ecstatic, but as more football was played, fans quickly realized it may be another year before Butch Davis truly turns this team around.

In the second half, the UNC defense seemed up to the task of stopping the Hokies, but inopportune penalties kept multiple drives going, most notably in the third quarter when two third down penalties gave VT a first down, eventually leading to a Darren Evans 10 yard run to pay dirt, making it 17-10.

But the biggest third quarter loss for the Heels was TJ Yates, who left in the third quarter due to a sprained left ankle.

In the fourth quarter, Kenny Lewis Jr. capitalized on a Greg Little fumble on North Carolina's 36 yard line for an eleven yard score of his own, tying the game at 17 with 13:45 remaining.

With the game tied, penalties struck the Heels again in the form of a late hit penalty on a punt return. Given a short field, the Hokies kicked a 45 yard go ahead field goal with 10:42 left on the clock.

With their starting quarterback sitting on a training table and down by three, the Tar Heels and Mike Paulus never put much of a drive together and the Hokies held strong and left Chapel Hill with a 20-17 win.

Paulus finished 3-for-8 for 23 yards and the Tar Heels finished with 307 total yards, but never strung together a quality drive, which was only compounded once Yates went down.