Hokies' Beamer set for last home game, will face No. 12 UNC
North Carolina has a good reason for wanting to spoil Frank Beamer's going away party on Saturday.
The No. 12 Tar Heels (9-1, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are one win from clinching their first trip to the ACC championship game, and doing it in Beamer's last game at Lane Stadium would extend their winning streak to 10.
''We understand it's Frank Beamer's last home game, so they're going to be fired up, but we really aren't worried about all that,'' linebacker Jeff Schoettmer said. ''We've got to control what we can control and that's how we play.''
The Tar Heels have been playing their best of late. They will arrive having gone three games in a row without a turnover and having scored 125 points in their last two games, blowout victories against Duke and Miami.
North Carolina also ranks 21st nationally in scoring defense, allowing an average of just 18.8 points.
Beamer, the career leader among active coaches with 278 victories, announced earlier this year that this will be his final season at Virginia Tech. The Hokies (5-5, 3-3) will honor their seniors before the game, and hope to cap their coach's 29th regular season with a victory that clinches their 23th consecutive bowl appearance.
Staying on an even keel, despite all the emotions, will be key, defensive tackle Luther Maddy said.
''You've got to make sure you don't get too high on it. You have to stay level headed,'' he said. ''I'm not saying it's just a game, but do the same things you've been doing. Just do your part. Don't try to do extra.''
The Tar Heels played their final home game last week, beating the Hurricanes 59-21.
''No better way to go out than whupping a Miami team that had won six games going into the game,'' Schoettmer said. ''I think they're a good football team but it just shows how talented we are and how we've grown as a team.''
Here are some other things to watch when North Carolina plays at Virginia Tech:
GROUND GAME: The Hokies would love to control the ball with their running game led by bruising tailback Travon McMillian, who has rushed for at least 96 yards in each of the past five games. A ball control approach would not only keep the Tar Heels defense on the field, but keep North Carolina's explosive offense on the sideline.
TURNOVERS: North Carolina hasn't had a turnover in three games, joining Air Force as the nation's only teams with an active streak that long. It's the first time UNC has had three straight turnover-free games since October 1996, and the Tar Heels are plus-7 in takeaways during those three games. Virginia Tech has forced 20 turnovers and would enhance its chances greatly by adding to that total, especially if it can convert the takeaways into points.
UNC'S ROLL: The Tar Heels are rolling with two straight blowouts, a 66-31 win against rival Duke followed by UNC scoring the first 45 points in a 59-21 win against Miami. That marked a two-game ACC scoring record for consecutive league games. It's an offense humming with confidence and efficiency behind dual-threat quarterback Marquise Williams, and the Hokies have been vulnerable to running quarterbacks this season.
KEEPING THE PRESSURE ON: UNC has scored in 19 straight quarters and in all four quarters of the past four games. The Tar Heels have failed to score in just five of 40 quarters, ranking as the ACC's top offense (ninth nationally) at 42 points per game. If the Hokies struggle to slow the Tar Heels, they'll have to try to keep up.
EMOTIONS: The combination of Senior Day and Frank Beamer's last home game will surely have the Hokies on an emotional high at the outset. Getting those emotions in line quickly will be critical against a team with the explosiveness of the Tar Heels, who can put an opponent in a deep hole very quickly.
AP sports writer Aaron Beard contributed from Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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