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Quick Hitters - North Carolina vs. Western Carolina

Isaac Schade presents Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 49-9 victory over Western Carolina on Senior Day.

Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 49-9 victory over Western Carolina on Senior Day. 

Highlights:

Condensed Game:

Senior Day Video:

  • If this had been a game for the UNC men’s basketball team, Roy Williams would have said afterward, in his matter-of-fact way, something to the effect of, “We are a more gifted team than them.” An opportunity to get a tune-up game at home, here at the end of the season, served multiple purposes. A game of this nature can get younger players some action as coaches evaluate for next season, allows a couple of plays for senior walk-ons on Senior Day, and perhaps also affords the opportunity to try some things in preparation for Miami next week. Perhaps most importantly, there were no (apparent) injuries.
  • A week after losing their streak of six straight games with 500-plus yards of offense, the Tar Heels once again broke the 500-yard barrier; finishing with 540.
  • Similarly, a week after losing his streak of scoring a touchdown in each game this season, Javonte Williams once again found the end zone. He only had three carries, but one of those was from the Western Carolina three-yard line on fourth-and-goal late in the second quarter and he walked in untouched.
  • Williams’ touchdown gives him 19 for the season and ties him with Gio Bernard for second-most touchdowns in a season in Carolina history. Bernard set his mark back in 2012. Don McCauley holds the all-time record with 21 touchdowns scored in 1970.
  • As you would expect in a game against an inferior opponent, the ball was spread around to a whole host of Tar Heels. 12 different players had a reception, 10 had a carry and four different quarterbacks threw a pass. The single-game season-highs for each of these categories previous to today were nine players with a reception, eight with a carry, and two quarterbacks with a pass.
  • With his three first-half touchdowns, Michael Carter tied his career high for touchdowns in a game. The previous occurrence was last year against Mercer when he rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries. 
  • The Tar Heels had a season-low three penalties and were penalized for a season-low 35 yards. It would be easy for a team to lose focus and get sloppy in a game against a lesser opponent. Similarly, with so many different personnel coming in and out of the game, you would expect some hiccups, but they were few and far between. Carolina was mostly clean. This is a sign of good coaching and of a team gaining maturity. The previous season's lows were six penalties (Virginia, Duke, and Wake Forest) and 50 penalty yards (Florida State).
  • For the third game in a row, the Tar Heel defense was unable to grab an interception. 
  • On the flip side, Sam Howell has not thrown an interception since the second quarter against Wake Forest. He has a current streak of 69 attempts without a pick.
  • As you scroll back through this season’s stats, you’ll see today’s passing numbers for Sam Howell and probably just breeze on by. His passing yards (287) were the fifth most of the 10 games so far this season. But here’s the thing you need to remember: Those 287 yards came all in one half. Howell didn't take a single snap after halftime. 
  • Howell picked up his longest run of the season, a 30-yard scramble late in the first quarter. The very next play was a 22-yard touchdown pass to put Carolina up 14-3. Here’s the run:
  • Congrats to freshman running back D.J. Jones for scoring his first career touchdown. Jones’ touchdown came at the end of the third quarter and finished off Carolina’s scoring for the day.
  • With just over a minute to go before halftime, Western Carolina punted from their own 26. Unfortunately, the Catamount punter had a terrible kick, which went out of bounds for a total of nine yards. The Heels should have received the ball at the 35, however, Gio Biggers was flagged for a personal foul after the punt and Carolina got the ball at mid-field. Thankfully, it didn’t cost the Heels as Sam Howell needed just 11 seconds to score on two passes, a 24-yard pass to Khafre Brown (a great sideline catch) and this 26-yard pass to Dazz Newsome put the Tar Heels in the end zone:
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  • The leading tackler today was not Chazz Surratt or Jeremiah Gemmel or Ray Vohasek, but rather freshman linebacker Kaimon Rucker who finished with seven total tackles, including two tackles-for-loss.
  • It’s amazing how similar Javonte Williams and Michael Carter’s rushing and receiving numbers are. Carter has rushed 132 times for 937 yards, a 7.1 yards per carry average, and 93.7 yards per game while Williams has rushed 134 times for 904 yards, a 6.7 yards per carry average, and 90.4 yards per game. On the receiving side of things, both backs have caught 23 passes. Williams has 305 yards, while Carter has 258. What a remarkable tandem these two young men have been.
  • By the way, if you’re curious about Carter and Williams both getting to 1,000 rushing yards, Carter needs 63 and Williams needs 96. This goal is extremely feasible. However, it does not look like the Tar Heels will have two 1,000-yard receivers to go with the likely pair of 1,000-yard rushers. Dyami Brown has 932 receiving yards, but Dazz Newsome, who is in second, has 601. It’s not impossible, but Newsome would have to explode for 200 yards against both Miami and in a potential bowl game. 

Mack Brown postgame press conference

Players postgame press conference

Chazz Surratt

Michael Carter

Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina football game. The Tar Heels will travel to Miami on Saturday, December 12 for the regular season finale. Kickoff time and television broadcast channel are yet to be announced.

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