for this game

Taylor, Virginia Tech hold off North Carolina

Sep 29, 2007 - 9:33 PM BLACKSBURG, Virginia (Ticker) -- Tyrod Taylor hasn't been anything spectacular, but he has been winning.

The freshman quarterback ran for a score and got a key stop from his defense late in the game as Virginia Tech won its Atlantic Coast Conference opener with a 17-10 victory over North Carolina on Saturday.

Taylor, who became the starting quarterback after a 48-7 loss at LSU on September 8, improved to 3-0 as the Hokies' signal-caller. He went just 10-of-19 for 66 yards in this contest with no touchdowns and an interception.

"We'll get better I think on several of those pass plays today," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "I think maybe things happened a little too quick (for Taylor). I think it's a learning experience for our quarterback and a little bit for our offense right now.

"I thought there were some good things about our offense and there are some things we just missed. We're just not hitting on all cylinders. We have the cylinders to hit, that's the good part, we're just not hitting on all cylinders."

In three games as a starter, Taylor is just 41-of-81 for 487 yards and one touchdown, but it has been enough for Virginia Tech (4-1, 1-0 ACC Coastal). He also benefited from his defense making some key plays at the right time late.

"What I like is their toughness," Beamer said. "When they absolutely had to, our defense stepped up."

Trailing, 17-3, in the fourth quarter, the Tar Heels (1-4, 0-2 Coastal) put together an impressive 12-play, 75-yard drive which Anthony Elzy capped with a one-yard touchdown at the 5:34 mark.

With its lead down to a touchdown and under four minutes to play, Virginia Tech was forced to punt the ball back to the Tar Heels after a wide-open Josh Morgan dropped a sure first-down reception on a 3rd-and-4.

Beginning from their own 14, the Tar Heels relied heavily on Elzy, who got the team across midfield. However, the drive stalled due in large part to a critical sacks by safety Cam Martin and defensive end Orion Martin.

"We were bringing (Martin) off the corner and I thought (defensive coordinator Bud Foster) picked the spots pretty good. There were several plays where it really affected the play," Beamer said.

Martin had three sacks and a career-best 10 tackles in helping the Hokies improve to 16-9-6 in the all-time series with the Tar Heels.

Taylor's five-yard touchdown run on the first possesion of the game was Virginia Tech's only score of the first half.

Morgan returned the second-half kickoff to the Tar Heels 42-yard line, which led to a career-long 52-yard field goal by Jud Dunlevy.

North Carolina marched 75 yards to the Hokies 6 on the ensuing drive, but running back Ryan Houston fumbled into the end zone on second-and-goal and Martin recovered for the Hokies.

"We're so far away from being experienced that it's laughable as young as this football team is," North Carolina coach Butch Davis said. "But I am pleased. Every game is a revelation. Every time we play, the players find out more about themselves and we find out more about them."

Another turnover by North Carolina later in the quarter proved costly as well.

Linebacker Xavier Adibi intercepted Tar Heels quarterback T.J. Yates and returned the ball 31 yards to the North Carolina 12. Three plays later, Branden Ore bulled into the end zone from a yard out to give the Hokies a 17-3 edge.

"The one thing (that bothers me), and it will always be this way, is the turnovers," Davis said.

Ore had the best game of anyone offensively, carrying 19 times for 93 yards.

"I thought some things out there defined our team a little bit," said Beamer, who improved to 6-1 against Davis all-time. "Knocking the ball loose on the goal line, the field goal by Jud, the big interception that got us going there. We really did some things that win football games."

Yates finished 16-of-25 for 182 yards with no touchdowns and an interception for the Tar Heels, who have lost four consecutive contests.

Compiling the bulk of his statistics in the fourth quarter, Elzy finished with 74 yards on 11 carries.