1998 Gator Bowl

The 1998 Gator Bowl was a post-season American college football bowl game between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Tar Heels from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida on January 1, 1998. The game was the final contest of the 1997 NCAA Division I-A football season for both teams, the 53rd edition of the annual Gator Bowl game, and ended in a 42-3 victory for North Carolina.

Virginia Tech was selected to play in the 1998 Gator Bowl as a reward for a 7–4 regular season. Facing the unranked Hokies were the No. 7-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. The Heels had gone 10–1 during the regular season and were ranked seventh in the Associated Press poll heading into the game. North Carolina narrowly missed an at-large selection to a higher-prestige Bowl Alliance postseason game and was playing under new head coach Carl Torbush for the first time. Torbush had taken over for former head coach Mack Brown on December 8 after Brown announced that he was departing to take the position of head coach at Texas.

The game kicked off on January 1, 1998 at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. From the opening kickoff, North Carolina dominated every aspect of the game. In the first quarter, the Tar Heels scored 16 unanswered points, including a defensive touchdown. North Carolina added six points in the second and third quarters before Tech scored its first points of the game—a 40-yard field goal by kicker Shayne Graham. The Tar Heels rounded out the game by scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels set school records for largest bowl game margin of victory, most points scored in a bowl game, and most touchdown passes in a bowl game. The eventual 42–3 loss was Virginia Tech's largest bowl loss in school history.

Quarterbacks Chris Keldorf and Nick Sorensen were named the most valuable players of their respective teams, and each team saw multiple players selected in the 1998 NFL Draft, which followed the game.

Read more about 1998 Gator Bowl:  Team Selection, Pregame Buildup, Game Summary, Statistical Summary, Postgame Effects

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