BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Quincy Patterson’s two-point conversion run in the sixth overtime lifted Virginia Tech a wild 43-41 victory over North Carolina on Saturday in the longest game in ACC history.
Both teams squandered opportunities to win the game in earlier overtime periods, as Virginia 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.
The game marked the debut of college football’s new overtime rules, which now call for going for two points after the fourth overtime. In the fifth overtime, Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-2 ACC) had the ball first, but Patterson’s pass to Damon Hazelton was broken up by the Tar Heels’ Storm Duck, giving UNC an opportunity to win the game.
North Carolina (3-4, 2-2 ACC), though, couldn’t convert. Virginia Tech’s Khalil Ladler read an option play perfectly and tackled Michael Carter for a loss, sending the game into a sixth overtime. The Tar Heels received the ball first, but quarterback Sam Howell was tackled for a loss, setting up Patterson’s game-winning conversion.
The loss spoiled an outstanding game by Howell, who completed 26 of 49 for 348 yards and five touchdowns.
Patterson played the majority of the second half for the Hokies after starting quarterback Hendon Hooker went down with an injury late in the first half. He rushed for 122 yards on 21 carries and threw for 54 yards to pace the Hokies.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels need to find a way to close out games. Playing in yet another close one—North Carolina has played in six games that have been decided by six points or less—the Tar Heels fell to 2-4 in such contests, misfiring Saturday on an opportunity to take control of the ACC’s Coastal Division race.
Virginia Tech: Given up for dead after a 45-10 loss at home to Duke on Sept. 27, the Hokies now have won three straight games heading into a much-needed bye week—one that could allow Hooker to heal from an undisclosed injury. They need only to win two of their final five games to become bowl eligible for the 27th consecutive season.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels play Duke at home next Saturday.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies are off next Saturday and return to action Nov. 2 at No. 8 Notre Dame.