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UNC 21 W&M 17

It looked a little like this.

Johnny White played the role of Trinity in this game and that is as far as I would take that analogy.

According to Fox Sports Andrew Jones(via Twitter) there was a discussion in the press box at halftime as to whether the attention brought to bear from the two prong NCAA investigation had finally caught up with the Heels. As of last week, certainly the attrition of suspensions plus injures had. In this game I wonder if it was not just a case of a team coming off a brutal loss on the road taking a lower division team a tad lightly. Especially when that lower division team had last season's backup QB taking snaps behind center. I am not saying UNC players have given up on the season but obviously their heads were someone else for at least the first half, seemingly longer on the offensive side of the ball.

Former Tar Heel Mike Paulus came in at for William & Mary on the first drive of the game following a shoulder injury to starting QB Mike Callahan. Paulus made the most of his opportunity to play vs his former team and promptly scorched the UNC defense in the first half staking the Tribe to a 17-7 lead at the break. I commented on Twitter that Paulus must have been something else in practice during his time in Chapel Hill given how well he played against the UNC defense. Now we know how he got listed ahead of Cam Sexton on the depth chart two years ago. In the second half, the UNC defense put a stop to this little revenge tale limiting Paulus and William & Mary in general. By the fourth quarter things got rough for Paulus as we was reintroduced to Bruce Carter and Donte Paige-Moss in intimate terms. After halftime The Tribe failed to score and never went past the UNC 45.

The offense was MIA at times but ultimately rode Johnny White and his 164 yards of rushing to score just enough points to win. Through three quarters it was not much to write home about with one TD and a missed FG. Then came the fourth quarter where someone flipped a switch and the Heels put together a 18 play, 90-yard drive to cut the William & Mary lead to three. The drive included two fourth down conversions. The first was a fourth and six that saw T.J. Yates scramble, roll out and find an open Todd Harrelson for the first down. The second conversion came with Butch Davis eschewing the FG after initially sending Casey Barth onto the field.

Now, has anyone noticed how Butch Davis, after incorrectly opting to not for it on fourth down late in the game vs FSU last season now throws caution to the wind and goes for it on fourth down seemingly all the time? The very next game following the loss to FSU, Davis went for it against Virginia Tech on fourth down late in the game and it paid off. Now it seems like the thing to do to the point that vs Clemson UNC had more conversions on fourth down than they did third down. Such was the case again. UNC was down ten, so going for the FG on 4th and 1 in the red zone was a perfectly conventional move. Instead Davis called timeout and opted to put the ball in the hands of Johnny White to get the needed yards. White delivered and UNC ultimately got the touchdown. On the next UNC possession, White decided he'd had enough of this crap and broke open a 67-yard touchdown run to give UNC the lead. White continues to amaze in a season where he was expected to be an afterthought on the depth chart. White now has over 700 yards rushing this season and is very much in reach of the 1000 yards mark.

Needless to say we have wandered into "a win is a win" territory. It is certainly not a win you can really feel good about. No disrespect intended towards William & Mary. Anytime you take the field vs a top five FCS school, you better be prepared to take care of business. Virginia Tech lost to James Madison earlier this season and JMU is ranked below The Tribe. This was expected to be a bear of a game in many respects and it did not disappoint. However, it is tough to get around the feeling that UNC simply did not play well but what counts is they played well enough, with the game on the line and got the win.