Behold the spoils from UNC's 34-27 win over Pitt on Saturday.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Kareem Martin, North Carolina, Sr., DE, 6-6, 265, Roanoke Rapids, N.C.
Martin recorded eight tackles, 3.5 sacks for 34 yards, forced two fumbles, recovered a fumble, broke up a pass and had two quarterback hurries in North Carolina's 34-27 win at Pitt. In the first half alone, he had six tackles, three sacks and forced a fumble that was recovered by UNC linebacker Travis Hughes. Martin and the Tar Heels held Pitt to just 148 yards in the first half, including a mere three yards rushing.
SPECIALIST & CO-ROOKIE – Ryan Switzer, North Carolina, Fr., PR, 5-10, 175, Charleston, W.Va.
Switzer returned two punts for touchdowns in North Carolina's 34-27 win at Pitt. He had a 65-yarder in the second quarter and a 61-yarder in the fourth quarter to break a 27-all tie with 4:46 remaining. The only other player in UNC history to score twice on punt returns in the same game was defensive tackle Andre Purvis, who recovered two blocked punts in the end zone against Tulane in 1993. Including his 85-yard punt return Nov. 9 against Virginia, Switzer now holds the UNC single-season record for most punt return touchdowns with three. The previous record of two was held by six other players – Johnny Branch in 1930, Charlie Justice in 1948, Norris Davis in 1987, Purvis in 1993, Bosley Allen in 2000 and Giovani Bernard in 2012.
Kareem Martin has been a major factor in the resurgence of the Tar Heel defense. During UNC's recent four game winning streak that pulled a season from the fire, Martin has 8.5 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. The increased pressure UNC has been able to get on the opposing quarterback has made life somewhat easier for the secondary. After a slow start, Martin has been downright dominant with Saturday's effort the best game of his Tar Heel career. Martin entered the season with eight career sacks. He has exceeded that number in ten games this season.
The other key factor in UNC's win was the play of Ryan Switzer, who in a two week span, tossed his name into the same sentence with Tar Heel legends like Charlie Justice and Gio Bernard. Not a bad two weeks for a player who has also snagged both specialist and co-rookie honors from the ACC this week. Switzer now leads the nation in punt return touchdowns with three and is fifth in punt return yards with 18.39 yards per return. He leads the ACC in both of those categories and will undoubtedly get some consideration for All-ACC specialist. Needless to say, Switzer is now enough of a known commodity to force opposing teams to avoid him when punting. The best news is he is only a freshman which means, barring injury, UNC has a nice weapon in the return game over the next three seasons.
For you viewing pleasure, here are the two punt returns and the game highlight video from GoHeels.com which includes Jones Angell's call on the Tar Heel Sports Network. Angell breaks out the "not he won't, yes he will" line he used last year when Bernard beat NC State.
The first punt return
The second punt return
Second punt return with Jones Angell's radio call(9:12 mark)