The question after the excruciating loss to Miami was how UNC would respond. Consider the question answered.
Carolina generated a turnover on Boston College's first possession and turned it into points on the way to a 34-10 blowout in Kenan Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The quarterback rotation continued as the offense mostly passed its way to five touchdowns, but the defense was key on the day, especially in limiting Eagle QB Chase Rettig to 56 yards passing on the day. The Heels won the battle of field position, not allowing BC to run an offensive play inside the UNC 35 yard line until the last four plays of the game. With the win, Carolina snaps a four-game losing streak and gets its first ACC win of the season.
Without further delay, here is the huge relief edition of the GBU Report:
Bryn Renner: Renner lived up to his half of the quarterback rotation, completing 18 of 21 passes for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has seemed to respond fairly well to UNC's musical quarterback situation, as he also completed 15 straight passes at one point versus Miami. He now has over 8,000 career passing yards, joining Darian Durant and T.J. Yates as the only Tar Heels to reach that milestone.
Marquise Williams: Williams was UNC's leading rusher with 55 yards, but did contribute through the air, going 4 for 8 for another 55 yards and a touchdown.
Tommy Hibbard: Carolina's punter got off a 76-yard kick. Yes, 76 yards.
Kareem Martin: Martin, UNC's best lineman, played like a beast as the D-line pressured Rettig. Martin logged two sacks among his five tackles.
Scoring defense: Carolina allowed BC only one touchdown, one week after giving up only two offensive touchdowns to Miami. This type of play is allowing the offense to keep the Heels in games.
Offensive line: At least this group is in the "bad" category and not the "ugly". Still, UNC could barely muster 100 rushing yards and the O-line gave up four sacks (although to be fair at least two were Renner eating the ball rather than throwing it away).
Penalties: UNC was flagged twice for roughing the passer, and took another personal foul penalty late in the game. While Carolina averaged only half of their league-worst 8 penalties per game, the lack of discipline remains concerning.
Extra point streak snapped: A bad snap led to a miss on UNC's first extra point attempt in the game. Prior to this miss, Carolina had made 191 consecutive extra points. Since Thomas Moore did not get the kick away, he remains a perfect 67-67 in his career. I mention this only to point out that, due to injury, UNC is down to their 3rd-string long snapper. That this has not happened prior to now is a testament to the Heels' special teams work.
Rushing offense: UNC's ground game remains anemic. It's not a good sign when your running quarterback is your leading rusher, and then with only 55 yards. It has gotten so bad that the Heels were running end-arounds with TE Eric Ebron. If UNC is going to rush 44 times (as opposed to 29 passes), this phase of the game has to improve.
Rushing defense: Just as Carolina could not shut down Miami's second-team RB last week, the ACC's leading rusher in Andre Williams sliced and diced the Tar Heel defense for 172 yards and a crisp 6.6 yards per clip. Opposing running backs facing UNC have to be salivating when they see how porous the rushing defense is.
Nevertheless, UNC did exactly what they had to do to respond to a disappointing loss and a disappointing first half of the season: they dominated a BC team that played Clemson to 10 points and Florida State to 14 points while putting up 34 points in the process (ask NC State how hard either of those things are to do). The Heels would appear to be trending up but head to Raleigh to face a Wolfpack team that seems to be trending in the opposite direction. Given both teams' recent history, there is plenty of reason to think this will be a knock-down, drag-out game with plenty on the line for both squads.