Ever since the opening kickoff, the Virginia Tech defense has held Sam Howell and North Carolina’s offense in check. The Hokies have been making big plays, but defensive back Jermaine Waller might’ve made the most impressive play of the game.
In the third quarter, Howell and the Tar Heels were driving and looking for their first points of the game. On second down, the North Carolina quarterback thought he had receiver Justin Olson open for a nice gain. However, Waller had other ideas in mind.
Howell threw toward the sideline, and for a moment it looked like Olson made the catch. Not to be denied, Waller got his hands on the ball and wrestled it away from Olson as the two were going to the ground. Waller popped up with possession, and it was Virginia Tech’s ball.
Jermaine Waller with the huuuuuuge INT. @HokiesFB still clinging to a 14-0 lead against the No. 10 team in the country ??
— 247Sports (@247Sports) September 4, 2021
North Carolina knows what it’s like to go on the road against an unranked team and find itself in a dog fight. This offseason, Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown said he hoped his team would learn a lesson from last year’s loss to Florida State.
“We were fifth in the country when we went to Florida State, and about 25th when we were leaving,” Brown said. “It took about three hours to drop that far. There were two conferences that weren’t playing when we were fifth in the country. I was trying to explain to them, ‘You’re not the fifth best team in the country.’ I told them, ‘You’re not the fifth best team in the country, but we’ve got to play. Nobody is good enough anymore to go out there and stand around.’”