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DEFENSE PICKS UP BANGED-UP HOKIES

Times wires

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Virginia Tech's defense did most of the heavy lifting Saturday. That was a big help for an offense that lost a couple more running backs.

Kendall Fuller returned an interception 47 yards for a pivotal touchdown in Virginia Tech's 34-17 win over North Carolina.

The Hokies scored two offensive touchdowns in the opening 3-1/2 minutes and forced three turnovers, turned them into 21 points and finished with five sacks while avoiding their first 0-2 start to league play since joining the ACC a decade ago.

"The defense played lights out," quarterback Michael Brewer said.

Brewer was 18-of-27 for 186 yards with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Bucky Hodges. Marshawn Williams had an early 8-yard scoring run and J.C. Coleman had a game-sealing 1-yard TD.

The Hokies - who last week lost Shai McKenzie for the season - had two more rushers hurt. Williams sprained his left ankle, and Trey Edmunds will miss 6-8 weeks after breaking his right collarbone without any contact, team officials said.

"We are just having trouble keeping those guys healthy, but that's just part of it and we've got to move forward," coach Frank Beamer said.

Elijah Hood had a short touchdown run. Marquise Williams rushed for 94 yards, was 17-of-33 for 187 yards passing and briefly made things interesting with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Quinshad Davis with 4:15 left.

The Tar Heels have lost their first two conference games for the second straight year.

And this time, the offense - and not the oft-maligned defense - was at fault.

Marquise Williams said during practice, the offense "was doing the things we do that's kind of our football - smart and fast," referring to the team's "smart, fast, physical" motto.

But once the game began, he added, "we didn't start so smart (and) we didn't start so fast."

CLEMSON 41, N.C. STATE 0: Freshman Deshaun Watson threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more, and the host Tigers posted their first shutout in six years.

Watson continued his stellar play since taking over as starting quarterback, following a school-record six TD passes against North Carolina last week by leading Clemson to a 31-0 halftime lead.

The Wolfpack entered as the ACC's top offense, averaging 505 yards. But it managed just 156 in losing its 10th straight league game.

UVA 24, PITT 19: Kevin Parks ran for a career-best 169 yards and a touchdown, and the host Cavaliers slowed the Panthers' running game and added a defensive touchdown. Virginia earned a key victory against a Coastal Division opponent. It built a 24-3 lead by halftime, then held on after Pittsburgh mounted a comeback in the third quarter. The Panthers lost their third straight game.

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