North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech: Live stream, start time, how to watch college football on TV, without cable. It’s Friday night football in the ACC as North Carolina takes on Virginia Tech. The No. 10-ranked Tar Heels coming into the 2021 season with high expectations and a blue-chip quarterback in the form of Sam Howell, who is expected to be one of the top picks of the 2022 NFL Draft. Friday’s season opener will give fans the first chance to see whether Howell can live up to his billing as one of football’s next great passers. The Hokies, on the other hand, have fall toward the back of the pack in the ACC. VT was blanked in the AP rankings and only received votes in this year’s coaches poll.
North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech (College Football 2021)
What time does the game start? Where can I watch it on TV? - Wednesday’s game will start off at 6 p.m. EST for viewers in the U.S and will air on TV via ESPNHere are things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Week 1:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 10 North Carolina at Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels, ranked higher in the preseason than in any season since they were No. 7 in 1997, are favored to win the Coastal Division, but have a big hurdle out of the gate at Virginia Tech. The Hokies haven’t played in front of a full Lane Stadium in 647 days, and their fans especially like weeknight games in the national spotlight. UNC quarterback Sam Howell is one of the best in the country, and has thrown eight touchdown passes in two prior games against Virginia Tech, including five in a six-overtime loss when the Tar Heels visited two years ago. Opening games don’t often factor heavily in a conference divisional race, but this one could prove an exception. Two other games will likely get more national attention: No. 3 Clemson and No. 5 Georgia in Charlotte, North Carolina, and No. 14 Miami and defending national champion and top-ranked Alabama in Atlanta.
Miami QB D’Eriq King vs. No. 1 Alabama’s defense. King has passed all the rehab tests on his surgically repaired right knee, and will be making his 34th career start for the Hurricanes. The dual-threat sixth-year senior leads all Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks with 73 career touchdown passes, and will likely need to add to that total against a Crimson Tide team defense that usually retools instead of rebuilds. The Tide lost more on offense, and is loaded at linebacker.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The ACC led all conferences by having 13 former quarterbacks make at least one NFL start in 2020, and the league begins this season with the three most prolific touchdown passer in the Bowl Subdivision. After King, who transferred to Miami after two seasons at Houston, Florida State’s McKenzie Milton — a trasnfer who played three seasons at Central Florida — has 72 TD throws and North Carolina’s Sam Howell has 68. Howell’s next touchdown pass will make him the Tar Heels’ career leader.
Milton. The former UCF quarterback led the Knights to two unbeaten seasons and a 27-6 record before a gruesome knee injury sidelined him for two seasons. He’s declared himself healed after dislocating his right knee and suffering ligament, nerve and artery damage, making him likely the most important of 14 transfers coach Mike Norvell brought in to revive the program.
The No. 10-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels will open the 2021-2022 NCAA college football season on the road in Blacksburg, Virginia with an ACC battle against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium.
Led by a Heisman-hopeful at quarterback, North Carolina has dreams of contending for a spot in the College Football Playoff this season. Meanwhile, the Hokies are hoping to flash improvement under head coach Justin Fuente, who comes into the season on the hot seat after a disappointing 5-6 campaign.
Can Virginia Tech open the season with an upset over a nationally-ranked North Carolina team at home on Thursday night?
Howell, Tar Heels enter 2021 with high hopes
North Carolina entered last season with high expectations but finished the season 8-4 with a 7-3 record in ACC play. The Tar Heels return starting quarterback Sam Howell, who enters the year as a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate. The junior signal-caller threw for 3,586 yards with 30 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in 12 games last season. He also flashed some athleticism by adding five rushing touchdowns.
The Tar Heels also return several members of a veteran offensive line, which should help in pass protection. However, Howell will have some new pieces around him at the skill positions on offense. The Tar Heels lost two receivers (Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome) and two running backs (Michael Carter and Javonte Williams) to the NFL Draft. Wide receiver Beau Corrales is also expected to be out for the Virginia Tech game.
Instead, North Carolina will rely on former top recruits Josh Downs and Khafre Brown at receiver while former Tennessee running back Ty Chandler is expected to step into a starting role in the backfield. The 6-foot senior running back has rushed for over 2,000 yards and scored 16 touchdowns in his college career.
On defense, the Tar Heels will try to get pressure with a veteran defensive line, led by senior defensive tackle Raymond Vohasek. Last season, the Tar Heels defense surrendered 29.4 points per game and gave up big chunks of yardage en route to some disappointing losses (Florida State and Virginia).
Virginia Tech leaning on veteran defense in 2021
Virginia Tech will try to open the season with its first win against a top-10 ranked opponent since 2009. The Hokies will have a new-look offense, as last year’s starters at quarterback and running back have since moved on. Virginia Tech is expected to open the season with Braxton Burmeister under center. A former Oregon transfer, Burmeister struggled to get acclimated to the Hokies offense last year, throwing for 687 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in limited action. With Burmeister under center and running back Khalil Herbert in the NFL, the Hokies are expected to throw more this year, which could mean breakout seasons for both Tre Turner and Tayvion Robinson on the outside.
The Hokies are trying to rebound from a disappointing 2020 season, especially on defense. Virginia Tech allowed nearly 450 yards and 32 points per game last season but should be better on the defensive side of the ball this year. The Hokies will return returns leading tackler junior Chamarri Conner and a top pass rusher in redshirt junior Amaré Barno, giving them a veteran presence along the front-seven. Meanwhile, skilled junior corner Jermaine Waller is the leader for a secondary expected to improve in 2021.
North Carolina opens its football season on the road against division rival Virginia Tech in prime time Friday night. The No. 10 Tarheels defeated the Hokies, 56-45, in their last matchup, and finished the 2020 season with an 8-4 record. Virginia Tech, however, finished with a losing record (5-6) for the second time in the past three years.
According to ESPN’s Matchup Predictor, which utilizes ESPN’s Football Power Index, Virginia Tech has a 43.7 percent chance of a home victory on Friday night. North Carolina has the opportunity to take down the Hokies in consecutive seasons since the Tar Heels won five games in a row from 1929-1945.
The Tarheels totaled 399 yards and five touchdowns on the ground during their last matchup against the Hokies. Heading into their season-opener in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech’s offense is expected to rely on their running game to keep possession. North Carolina’s defense will be a huge test for quarterback Braxton Burmeister, who struggled with injuries last season.
While UNC is favored by 5.5 points (per FanDuel) with quarterback Sam Howell, it will be a challenge for the Tar Heels to replace the talents of their former top running backs and receivers. Michael Carter, Javonte Williams, Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome, who entered the 2021 NFL Draft, combined for 4,761 of North Carolina’s 6,444 scrimmage yards (74%) and 48 of their 66 offensive touchdowns (73%).
Virginia Tech’s best chance to pull off an upset on Friday will be capitalizing on the lack of chemistry Howell is likely to have with his new weapons.