CFN Take: North Carolina, Williams Rip Duke
North Carolina Tar Heels 2014 ...
Head Coach: Larry Fedora
2014 North Carolina
Nov. 20 North Carolina 45, at Duke 20
2014 Schedule |
Aug. 30 Liberty W 56-29
Sep. 6 San Diego St W 31-27
Sep. 13 OPEN DATE
Sep. 20 at East Carolina L 70-41
Sep. 27 at Clemson L 50-35
Oct. 4 Virginia Tech L 34-17
Oct. 11 at Notre Dame L 50-43
Oct. 18 Georgia Tech W 48-43
Oct. 25 at Virginia W 28-27
Nov. 1 at Miami L 47-20
Nov. 8 OPEN DATE
Nov. 15 Pitt W 40-35
Nov. 20 at Duke W 38-20
Nov. 29 NC State
And You Care Because … Marquise Williams threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more as North Carolina became bowl eligible and clinched the Coastal title for Georgia Tech. Both teams had problems with turnovers, but UNC came up big early on with a ten-yard fumble recovery for a score to go along with Williams’ two touchdown passes for a 21-7 first quarter lead, while a one-yard T.J. Logan touchdown run and a 30-yard Thomas Moore field goal made it 38-7 before Duke got an 18-yard Jamison Crowder touchdown catch and a one-yard Thomas Sirk scoring run to make the score look better.
What Else? North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 18-of-27 passes for 276 yards and two score, and ran 21 times for 98 yards and two touchdowns
- Duke QB Anthony Boone completed 22-of-40 passes for 262 yards and two scores with a pick, and ran 14 times for a team-high 36 yards
- Total yards: North Carolina 592 – Duke 378
- Turnovers: Duke 3 – North Carolina 3
Game Rating: C-
Nov. 15 at North Carolina 40, Pitt 35
And You Care Because … North Carolina got a T.J. Logan one-yard touchdown with 50 seconds to play, and the defense came up with a late turnover to pull off the win. James Conner ran for four touchdowns, starting out with runs from 56 and 16 yards out in the first quarter to give Pitt a 14-0 lead, but Marquise Williams helped North Carolina stay in the game with second quarter touchdown runs from 23 and two yards out, and with a third quarter 63-yard scoring pass to Ryan Switzer. A third Williams touchdown run – taking off from 45-yard out – gave the Tar Heels the lead, but Connor’s fourth scoring run came on a 33-yard dash late for a 35-34 lead. UNC marched 75 yards for the game-winner.
What Else? North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 23-of-40 passes for 276 yards and a score, and he ran 19 times for 122 yards and three touchdowns
- Pitt RB James Conner ran 30 times for 220 yards and four scores
- Pitt QB Chad Voytik completed 11-of-16 passes for 218 yards and a score, and ran ten times for 41 yards
- Total yards: Pitt 523 – North Carolina 502
Game Rating: A-
Nov. 1 at Miami 47, North Carolina 20
And You Care Because … Miami put it away in the first half as Duke Johnson tore of a one-yard touchdown run to start the scoring and ripped off a 90-yard touchdown dash to help put it away. Clive Walford added two 14-yard touchdown catches for a 30-6 lead going into the locker room, and then Johnson was at it again with a 37-yard scoring grab. North Carolina came up with two Marquise Williams touchdown runs in the second half, and the defense got a 39-yard fumble return from Cayson Collins in the second quarter, but Miami dominated.
What Else? Miami RB Duke Johnson ran 19 times for 177 yards and two touchdowns, and caught two passes for 49 yards and a score
- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 22-of-32 passes for 191 yards and an interception, and ran 14 times for four yards and two scores
- Miami QB Brad Kaaya completed 11-of-17 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns
- Rushing yards: Miami 295 – North Carolina 6
Game Rating: D+
Oct. 25 North Carolina 28, at Virginia 27
And You Care Because … With starting quarterback Marquise Williams out for one play after his helmet came off, Mitch Trubisky came in and found T.J. Thorpe for a 16-yard touchdown pass on the way to giving North Carolina the lead in the final minutes. Virginia moved the ball without a problem, but the offense kept stalling and settling for field goals after getting up 21-14. Kevin Parks scored twice for the Cavaliers, but North Carolina kept pace with Williams running for a 52-yard score and hitting Mack Hollins on touchdown passes from 57 and 63 yards away, and then the D held on with Ian Frye giving Virginia all of its points over the last 36 minutes with Ian Frye field goals from 31 and 37 yards out. That was enough, though, for UVa to have a 27-21 lead late until UNC’s winning touchdown drive.
What Else? Time of possession: Virginia 37:35 – North Carolina 22:25
- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 15-of-28 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns with a pick, and ran 17 times for a team-leading 49 yards and a touchdown
- North Carolina WR Mack Hollins caught two passes for 120 yards and two scores
- Virginia RB Kevin Parks ran 25 times for 111 yards and a touchdown, and caught four passes for 19 yards and a score
Game Rating: A-
Oct. 18 at North Carolina 48, Georgia Tech 43
And You Care Because … T.J. Logan ran for a two-yard touchdown with 11 seconds to play to overcome a late Georgia Tech charge to pull off the wild win. Marquise Williams threw four touchdown passes and ran for a 13-yard touchdown, but Georgia Tech’s offense cranked it up in the fourth quarter with DeAndre Smelter taking a pass 46 yards for a touchdown and running 75 yards for a score to go along with a 14-yard Zach Laskey touchdown run for a 43-42 lead, but the defense couldn’t hold on as Williams drove the Tar Heels 75 yards in 12 plays for the win.
What Else? Total yards: Georgia Tech 611 – North Carolina 579
- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 38-of-47 passes for 390 yards and four touchdowns with an interception, and ran 16 times for 73 yards and a touchdown
- Georgia Tech QB Justin Thomas completed 8-of-18 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns, and ran 15 times for 36 yards
- North Carolina WR Ryan Switzer caught nine passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns
Game Rating: A
Oct. 11 at Notre Dame 50, North Carolina 43
And You Care Because … Both teams kept turning the ball over and committing penalties, but Notre Dame was able to overcome its problems with three Everett Golson touchdown passes and a terrific day from Tarean Folston, who ran for two fourth quarter touchdowns in the comeback victory. North Carolina didn’t stop pressing, with Marquise Williams running for a score and throwing two touchdown passes including an 18-yarder to Mack Hollins to pull within seven in the final minute, but Notre Dame recovered the onside kick. Golson threw an interception for a score in the first half for a 14-0 North Carolina lead, but he came right back on the ensuing drive with a 13-yard scoring pass to William Fuller to spark a 21-point scoring run. The two teams traded shots the rest of the way until Folston’s fourth quarter scoring runs from nine and six yards out.
What Else? Notre Dame QB Everett Golson completed 21-of-38 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns with a pick six, and he ran 12 times for 71 yards
- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 24-of-41 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and led the team with 132 yards and a score on 18 carries
- Penalties: Notre Dame 10 for 76 yards – North Carolina 9 for 94 yards
- Turnovers: Notre Dame 3 – North Carolina 2
Game Rating: B
Oct. 4 Virginia Tech 34, at North Carolina 17
And You Care Because … Virginia Tech sputtered a little bit, but got up 24-3 in the first half helped by a 26-yard Bucky Hodges touchdown catch and an eight-yard Marshawn Williams scoring run, but the real fun came after a 27-yard Joey Slye field goal with Kendall Fuller taking an interception 47 yards for a touchdown just 43 seconds later to all but put the game away. UNC tried to fight back in the second half with a one-yard Elijah Hood touchdown run and a nine-yard Quinshad Davis catch, but the Hokies were never threatened, putting the game away on a one-yard J.C. Coleman run with 2:30 to play.
What Else? Time of possession: Virginia Tech 41:03 – North Carolina 18:57
- Penalties: North Carolina 10 for 62 yards – Virginia Tech 8 for 45 yards
- Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer completed 18-of-27 passes for 186 yards and a score with an interception
- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 17-of-33 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown, and led the team with 94 yards on 19 carries
Game Rating: C+
Sept. 27 at Clemson 50, North Carolina 35
And You Care Because … Deshaun Watson ripped apart a North Carolina defense that’s still trying to recover from the 70 points it gave up against East Carolina. Watson threw six touchdown passes for Clemson including big plays to Germone Hopper from 4 and 50 yards out in the first half and two more to Mike Williams in the third quarter from 24 and 33 yards out. North Carolina hung around on Marqise Williams touchdown passes from 17 yards away to Mack Hollins and 41 yards to T.J. Thorpe, and a two-yarder to Quinshad Davis and a 75-yarder to Ryan Switzer made it interesting. But Watson always had an answer, putting the game well out of reach with a five-yard scoring play to Jordan Leggett with just under six minutes to play.
What Else? Clemson QB Deshaun Watson completed 27-of-36 passes for 435 yards and six touchdowns with a pick, and ran 11 times for 28 yards.
- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 24-of-38 passes for 345 yards and four scores with a pick
- Penalties: North Carolina 15 for 130 yards – Clemson 4 for 19 yards
- Clemson WR Germone Hopper caught three passes for 139 yards and two scores, and Mike Williams caught six passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns
Game Rating: B
Sept. 20 East Carolina 70, North Carolina 41
And You Care Because … East Carolina delivered quite an encore performance after beating Virginia Tech a week ago. QB Shane Carden threw for 438 yards and four touchdowns, handing Carolina its worst defensive performance in school history. The Tar Heels actually grabbed a lead early in the second quarter, but the Pirates pulled away for good with four unanswered touchdowns, including one on a 46-yard Zeek Bigger interception return of a Marquise Williams pass.
What Else? It might be time for Carden to begin getting some Heisman attention. He carved up the Carolina secondary, despite being without one of this year’s top receivers, Cam Worthy.
- This was the kind of disastrous performance that gets defensive assistants fired. The Tar Heels did nothing to get Carden out of his rhythm, while allowing an unimaginable 40 first downs.
- In Worthy’s place, East Carolina got huge efforts from RB Breon Allen, who rushed for 211 yards and two scores, and WR Trevon Brown. Brown is just a true freshman, yet he caught five passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
- In an oddity, three different Tar Heels threw touchdown passes, yet the starter, Williams, wasn’t one of them. Backup QB Mitch Trubisky, WR Ryan Switzer and P Tommy Hibbard each tossed a scoring strike.
Game Rating: B+
Sept. 6 at North Carolina 31, San Diego State 27
And You Care Because … In a terrific game, North Carolina came up with an interception from Tim Scott in the end zone to finally secure the win and stop a final San Diego State rally. Brian Walker started off the scoring the Tar Heels with the first of his two interceptions, taking his first 100 yards for a touchdown, but San Diego State rallied back with 21 straight points on two Donnel Pumphrey touchdown runs and a 56-yard score from Eric Judge. The two traded scores, but down ten, the Tar Heels outscored the Aztecs 17-3 with Mack Hollins scoring on a 91-yard pass play and Elijah Hood giving UNC the lead for good on a two-yard run. A Nick Weller 23-yard field goal put the Tar Heels up by four, forcing SDSU to go for the end zone in the final moments.
What Else? North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 20-of-29 passes for 255 yards and two scores, and led the team with 63 rushing yards on 12 carries.
- SDSU RB Donnel Pumphrey ran 17 times for 100 yards and two scores.
- SDSU QB Quinn Kaehler completed 23-of-39 passes for 341 yards and a score with three picks.
- The Aztecs owned the time of possession, keeping the ball for 37:26 to 22:34.
Game Rating: A
Aug. 30 at North Carolina 56, Liberty 29
And You Care Because … Down 22-21 in the third quarter, the North Carolina offense woke up and exploded – helped by a 19-yard Jeff Schoettmer pick six – with 28 straight points in less than three minutes. Marquise Williams ran for a score and threw two touchdown passes, and Mitch Trubisky threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Jack Tabb to open things up. Liberty came up with a safety and a fumble return for a score, but the turnovers started flowing in the third quarter and the Tar Heels took advantage.
What Else? It was a true Week One game. North Carolina committed ten penalties and turned it over four times, but the defense picked up the slack with six takeaways.
- Marquise Williams completed 19-of-29 passes for 169 yards and two scores with two picks and ran six times for 52 yards and two touchdowns. Mitch Trubisky completed 10-of-16 passes for 66 yards and a score with a pick.
- It was a ragged day for the Tar Heel offense, and the defense was hardly a brick wall, but Dominique Green helped turn the game around. The UNC strong safety only made one tackle, but he recovered three fumbles.
- Considering what a rough week it was – with suspensions and reports of a hazing incident – the team survived and moved on.
Game Rating: C
It’s Year 3 for head coach Larry Fedora, so Carolina is naturally hoping to take another step forward.
Fedora’s unique systems are in place, on both sides of the ball, and he’s had a few years to get his kinds of players to Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels now believe they’re ready to move closer to their goals by competing for—and plucking—a ripe Coastal Division. They’ll begin 2014 with a head of steam after winning six of last year’s final seven games, capped by a 39-17 Belk Bowl blowout of Cincinnati.
It’s been a very busy offseason so far for the program as it jostles with a roster missing its stars on both offense and defense. First Team All-ACC TE Eric Ebron and LT James Hurst are now in the NFL. And fellow all-stars on defense, DE Kareem Martin and FS Tre Boston, are gone as well. Fortunately, Fedora and his staff have recruited well, and 16 of last year’s starters are still in school.
The biggest question on offense focuses on the quarterbacks. Yeah, the Heels have good options, but will Marquise Williams get an opportunity to build on last season’s solid finish? Or is Fedora ready to hand the ball to blue-chip redshirt freshman Mitch Trubisky? The veteran may have the edge, but the rookie isn’t backing down an inch, setting the stage for a fascinating competition in the summer. Whoever gets the nod will be working behind a line that’s going to sorely miss Hurst and C Russell Bodine.
After bottoming out with a 55-31 loss to East Carolina last Sept. 28, Carolina’s defense got steadily better as the season progressed. The unit wants to build on the strong finish, but doing so will require a rebuilt D-line to grow up in a hurry. Not only is Martin out of the picture, but so is veteran DT Tim Jackson. Someone other than frenetic Bandit Norkeithus Otis will have to offset the 21.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks that Martin produced in 2013.
Carolina likes where it’s headed under Fedora. The NCAA—for now—is no longer sniffing around. And the 2013 squad capped a torrid second-half with its first bowl win in three years. The Tar Heels are eyeing continued progress in 2014, with a first-ever appearance in the ACC Championship Game looming large on the Tar Heel to-do list.
What to watch for on offense: A very deep backfield. Quarterback isn’t the only crowded position on offense. A year ago, Carolina was trying to figure out who’d replace Gio Bernard. This summer, it needs to determine how to distribute touches. Sophomore T.J. Logan has the inside track on the starting job. But junior Romar Morris and sophomore Khris Francis are in the picture as well. Oh, and do not forget about blue-chip recruit Elijah Hood, who enrolled in January. The staff hasn’t. The up-tempo offense requires a lot of bodies, and the Heels have them at running back.
What to watch for on defense: Youth at cornerback. The Tar Heels will be young at corner this season, but that’s not such a bad thing. The team is bullish about the futures of sophomores Brian Walker and Desmond Lawrence, both of whom are expected to start after lettering in 2013. The emergence of the underclassmen is allowing Carolina to shift its best defensive back, senior Tim Scott, to free safety to get the school’s four best DBs on the field at the same time. The Heels came on very strong in pass defense last year after a rocky September.
The team will be far better if … it runs the ball—and stops the run—better in 2013. A year ago, the Tar Heels ranked No. 11 in ACC rushing and last in rush defense. Neither standing is acceptable in Chapel Hill. Sure, Carolina thrives on its speed and finesse, but overall progress won’t be achieved if the team doesn’t improve at the point of attack. It’s going to be a tall order in 2014, since its best offensive and defensive linemen from last season are now in the NFL.
The Schedule: It's dangerous early, not bad late, and without a ton of home games. Granted, there isn't a lot of travelling with road dates at East Carolina and Duke both in-state, but there's a stretch of five road games in seven weeks after starting out the year at home against Liberty and San Diego State. Going on the road to face Clemson stinks, but at least the Tar Heels miss Florida State. With Miami on the road, there will be stests, but the Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech games are in Chapel Hill. The big problem overall, though, could be inability to get into a groove without any back-to-back home games after September 6th.
Best Offensive Player: Junior WR Quinshad Davis. With seam-busting TE Eric Ebron off to the NFL, the Heels are expecting even more from Davis, their best wide receiver of the past two seasons. The 6-4, 205-pounder has already caught 109 passes in his career, beating defenders with his size, speed and improving fundamentals. And the best is yet to come for Davis, promising news for both the Carolina quarterbacks and the rest of the team’s receivers. When Davis is stretching the D, it becomes much harder to contain T.J. Thorpe, Bug Howard and Ryan Switzer from the slot.
Best Defensive Player: Senior Bandit Norkeithus Otis. The Tar Heels needed a jolt of energy in the pass rush last season. Otis supplied it from Bandit, a jack-of-all trades position that requires myriad different skills. He’s an explosive all-around athlete, with a knack for disrupting opposing passing games by collapsing the pocket and neutralizing tight ends in coverage. Otis has the talent, and now the experience, to rank among the ACC’s most prolific sackers in 2014.
Key players to a successful season: The offensive line, but specifically the new left tackle and center. The Tar Heels want to keep the momentum cranking on offense. They’ll be fine at the skill positions, but James Hurst and Russell Bodine leave gaping holes at left tackle and center, respectively. Early enrollee Bentley Spain, a four-star recruit, has gotten a head start on the left tackle opening. Sophomore Lucas Crowley would be Carolina’s fourth underclassmen in the lineup if he wins the center job.
The season will be a success if ... the Tar Heels win the Coastal Division. Carolina wants to raise the bar a little higher in 2014, which requires a spot in the ACC title game. And why not? The Coastal is wide-open, with Duke beginning the year as an improbable reigning champ. The Heels have as much talent, and as good a quarterback situation, as anyone in the weaker half of the ACC. It’s Year 3 under Larry Fedora and it’s time to reach new heights in Chapel Hill.
Key game: Nov. 20 at Duke. It’s the battle for the Victory Bell … with a twist. The Blue Devils have won two straight for the first time since Steve Spurrier was in Durham a quarter-century ago. And last year’s Tar Heel defeat was a crushing one that sent Duke to the ACC Championship Game. Carolina will be seeking revenge at Wallace Wade Stadium, as well as an important edge in the race to capture this year’s Coastal Division crown.
2013 Fun Stats:
- Rushing yards per game: North Carolina 148.3 – Opponents 182.5
- Special teams touchdowns: North Carolina 7 – Opponents 1
- Sacks: North Carolina 31 - Opponents 21
2014 North Carolina Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players