BLACKSBURG (HokiesSports.com) – Quincy Patterson’s two-point conversion run in the sixth overtime lifted Virginia Tech a wild 43-41 victory over North Carolina on Saturday at Lane Stadium in the longest game in ACC history.
With the victory, the Hokies moved to 5-2 overall, 2-2 in the ACC, and they beat North Carolina for the fourth consecutive time. The Tar Heels fell to 3-4 overall, 2-2 in league play.
The game marked the nationwide debut of college football’s new overtime rules, which now call for going for two points after the fourth overtime. Both teams misfired on opportunities to win the game in earlier overtime periods, as Tech kicker Brian Johnson missed game-winning attempts from 41 and 42 yards and North Carolina kicker Noah Ruggles missed from 35 yards and had a 44-yard attempt blocked.
In the fifth overtime, the Hokies had the ball first, but Patterson’s pass to Damon Hazelton was broken up by the Tar Heels’ Storm Duck, giving the Tar Heels an opportunity to win the game.
North Carolina, though, couldn’t convert. Tech’s Khalil Ladler read a pitch play perfectly and tackled Michael Carter for a loss, sending the game into a sixth overtime. The Tar Heels received the ball first, but Ladler and others sacked quarterback Sam Howell, setting up Patterson’s game-winning conversion.
Patterson – the Hokies’ third-team quarterback coming into the game – played because of an injury to starter Hendon Hooker, who went down with a leg injury late in the first half. Ryan Willis threw a touchdown pass to Hazelton with 19 seconds left in the first half and then played the first two series of the second half before head coach Justin Fuente elected to go with Patterson the rest of the way.
Patterson rushed for 122 yards on 21 carries and threw for 54 yards and a touchdown to pace the Hokies, who finished with a season-high 490 yards of offense.
Tech trailed 41-34 after Howell threw a touchdown pass to Beau Corrales in the second overtime, and then on their possession, the Hokies faced a fourth-and-3 from the North Carolina 18. The Hokies needed a first down, or else they would lose the game, and Patterson came up big. He threw a perfect pass to Hazelton, one just over Hazelton’s outside shoulder and away from North Carolina defensive back Greg Ross. Hazelton hauled it in for an 18-yard touchdown, enabling the Hokies to tie the game and continue playing. The touchdown pass marked the first of Patterson’s career.
Up Next, the Hokies are off next Saturday before returning to action Nov. 2 with a nonconference game at Notre Dame. Tech won on its last visit to South Bend, Indiana, rallying from a 17-0 deficit to win 34-31.