JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Highly-rated North Carolina outplayed Virginia Tech in every phase of the game to score a 42-3 victory in the Toyota Gator Bowl game at Alltel Stadium.
The Tar Heels, ranked seventh by AP and fifth by the coaches, impressed a crowd of 54,116 by passing for 318 yards and grinding out 124 more yards on the ground. Tech, meanwhile, was held to a total of 185 yards, its lowest total of the season.
Two of Carolina's first-half touchdowns came on defensive plays. The Tar Heels blocked a punt in the first quarter and Dré Bly returned it six yards for a touchdown. Then in the second period, Tech quarterback Al Clark fumbled in the end zone and Greg Ellis fell on it for another UNC touchdown.
The Hokies never could get their offense on track, losing three of their six fumbles. Tech's only points came on a 40-yard field goal by Shayne Graham late in the third quarter.
Clark, recovering from a postseason knee operation, had to give way to reserve Nick Sorensen at the start of the second half. Sorensen went on to be voted Tech's Player of the Game by the media.
Tech was the winner in one category. For the fifth straight year, Hokie fan support far exceeded that of its bowl opponent. The Hokies sold almost twice as many tickets as the Tar Heels.