Gator Bowl

January 01, 1998

No. 7 North Carolina (10-1) vs. Virginia Tech (7-4)

Site: Jacksonville, Fla.

Time: 12: 30 p.m. today

TV: NBC

Line: North Carolina by 11

Coaches: Carl Torbush (0-0);

Frank Beamer (68-54-2)

Outlook: The Tar Heels, who were snubbed by the Bowl Alliance despite losing only to No. 4-ranked Florida State, are a talented group -- particularly on defense. But North Carolina could have a hard time maintaining its focus after a whirlwind of off-the-field activity, including the abrupt departure of head coach Mack Brown, who accepted the same position with Texas, and a late-night fight that left seven UNC players facing assault charges. If the Tar Heels win, it will be only their third 11-victory season in 107 years of football. The unranked Hokies started fast, but come into the game having dropped their last two. The team blew its chances at a Big East title when it was upset at Pittsburgh, and comes off a 34-20 loss against intrastate rival Virginia. Virginia Tech has a decided edge in the kicking game and averaged 215 yards a game on the ground -- the best rushing team the Tar Heels have faced all season.

Pub Date: 1/01/98

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