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Good, Bad, & Ugly Report: William & Mary

The ampersand in the title is in honor of the College of William & Mary, which for some reason is almost always written with an ampersand and hardly ever as William and Mary.

It is somehow fitting that UNC's game with William & Mary took place during the Halloween weekend because the game was somewhat of an illusion. A look at the stat sheet belies what actually transpired on the field. Carolina racked up over 420 yards of total offense, but 170 of those came in the 4th quarter. UNC was a season-best 9-16 on 3rd down but needed to be 2-3 on 4th downs to keep drives alive and crawl back in the game. T.J. Yates was a very respectable 23-33 for 238 yards and a TD (plus another rushing TD), but his one interception was very costly, giving the Tribe a short field and leading to their first touchdown.

On defense, the nightmare of attrition continues as Quan Sturdivant missed his 5th straight game and defensive backs Tre Boston and Mywan Jackson did not play and freshman backup Terry Shankle was injured during the game. But the defense put the clamps on in the second half limiting W&M to only 105 yards of offense.

Keeping in mind the following analysis may be as choppy and blurry as an internet feed, here is this week's GBU report:


Johnny White: That's Mr. Johnny White to you, who had a career-high 164 yards on the ground and another 23 receiving. White again put the anemic UNC offense on his back in the 4th quarter and had yet another dazzling long touchdown run, this time of 67 yards, to put the Tar Heels in front to stay. Again, hard to believe if not for the early issues surrounding Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston, White may not have seen the field this season.

Dwight Jones: Jones had 9 catches for 107 yards. Guess we know who Yates' new favorite target is. Jones is becoming a big-time receiver, even if he did not break a big one in this game.

Ryan Taylor and Ed Barham: This pair of seniors combined for 6 catches for 57 yards and a TD, helping fill in for the injured Zack Pianalto. It was good to see Yates targeting the tight end and H-back and these guys making catches.

An actual blitz: Defensive coordinator Everett Withers actually took the chains off his linebackers in the 4th quarter with a number of called blitzes and some speed rushing by the defensive ends. The result? Three sacks in the quarter and some actual bad decisions and hurried throws by a quarterback who didn't have all afternoon to throw the ball and check down 7 times.


Erik Highsmith and Jhey Boyd: These guys combined for two catches for one yard. Really? Do you think Mark Stoops, Bud Foster, and Mike Archer won't figure out a way to double Jones and make these guys beat FSU, VT, and NCSU?

Linebackers: Until Withers started walking up the linebackers and putting pressure in the 4th quarter, the linebackers were again non-factors as they were against Miami. This should be one of this team's strengths and will need to step it up down the stretch.


Offensive line: This group continues to be a glaring weakness, which is disappointing since they were supposed to be one of the most improved units on the team. They were pushed around most of the first half and it was not until the 4th quarter when the W&M defensive front started to run out of gas that holes really started to open up.

(Side note: it was pointed out in last week's comments section that the O-line often shows up in the bad and ugly review while the running backs often show up in the good section and how can this be when the RBs obviously need the O-line to run. My response is A) I was an offensive lineman so I often grade them harder and they have not improved over the course of the season, and B) were Johnny White's long TD runs last week the result of O-line play or his ability? Besides, take away White's 67-yard TD run and he only had 97 yards on 28 carries, or less than 3.5 yards per carry.)

Fireworks guy: Indicative of much of UNC's season, the fireworks that are shot off after a UNC score were set off after Casey Barth's missed field goal in the 3rd quarter, resulting in the first documented fireworks fail in UNC football history.

Sometimes over the course of a football season, you just have to survive and move on to the next week. Of course UNC fans would have like to have seen the team come out focused sharp and easily handle a I-AA team, but William & Mary is a very good football team and the hangover from the Miami beating lasted longer than anyone would have hoped for. Still the Tar Heels were able to pull it together, eke out a win, and move forward. Now UNC has to get ready for a brutal three-week stretch in which they play the three top teams in the ACC with a combined record of 18-6.