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The Good, Bad, and Ugly Report: Pitt

Marquise Williams shook off a rough start and hoisted his team on his back to lead Carolina one step closer to bowl eligibility.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't even really a tale of two halves for UNC on Saturday against Pitt. There was the first quarter, which UNC lost 14-0, and the last three quarters, which UNC won 40-21. There was the first 15 minutes when James Conner ran anywhere and everywhere he wanted, and there was the last 45 minutes when the Tar Heels kept Conner in some degree of check. There was the first period, when Marquise Williams looked gimpy and out of rhythm, starting 4-of-16 passing, and the rest of the game where Williams looked like the best quarterback in the ACC not named Jameis Winston.

The game turned in the second quarter, when the Panthers lined up for a field goal to go up 17-0. Carolina had put up little more than token resistance on defense and the offense was sputtering. UNC's Kedrick Davis blocked the kick, and the offense finally got into gear. Ten plays later the Tar Heels found the end zone and the 10-point swing kept Carolina in the game. After another Pitt touchdown pushed the lead back to 14, UNC would then outpace the Panthers 33-14 the rest of the afternoon.

For the second straight game in Kenan Stadium, the Tar Heels led late, only to give up the lead before scoring on their final drive to secure the win. UNC showed resiliency after laying an egg in Miami two weeks ago and keep the season alive. With that in mind, here is this week's GBU Report:


Marquise Williams: Once again, the junior quarterback proved to be UNC's superhero. After a wretched start, Williams put his team on his back and willed them to victory. Williams passed for 276 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 122 yards and three more touchdowns. After the 4-16 start, Williams finished 19-24 for 245 yards. He continues his assault on the UNC record book, setting the mark for consecutive completions with 16, and also set a single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 628.

T.J. Logan: Logan rushed for a season-high 92 yards on 18 carries, and scored the game-winning touchdown with under a minute to play. The sophomore running back also scored the game-winner against Georgia Tech last month under similar circumstances, in which he set his previous season high in rushing.

Cayson Collins: The freshman linebacker made the most of his first career start in place of the suspended Travis Hughes with nine tackles

Third-down efficiency: After a dreadful performance on 3rd and 4th downs against Miami two weeks ago, Carolina converted 9-of-16 on 3rd down and an additional 2-of-2 on 4th down, including a 3rd-and-10 and a 4th-and-2 on the game-clinching drive.


500 Club: UNC gave up 500+ yards for the sixth time this season. Amazingly, UNC is 3-3 in those games, defeating Pitt, Georgia Tech, and San Diego State and losing to East Carolina, Clemson, and Notre Dame.

Pass defense: Pitt quarterback Chad Voytik only completed 11 passes in the Panthers' run-heavy offense, but those 11 completions went for 218 yards, good for almost 20 yards per completion. Those tosses included a 50-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd where Boyd wasn't even touched.


Kicking struggles: UNC's place kicking is an absolute mess. Thomas Moore had replaced Nick Weiler in point after touchdown kicks, but after UNC's second touchdown, the Heels tried to catch Pitt napping and had Mitch Trubisky toss a two-point attempt in the direction of Mack Hollins, which was unsuccessful. On the ensuing PAT, Moore missed the kick after a poor snap and hold. That, coupled with the fact that UNC's longest field goal on the year is 23 yards, means pretty much anything outside the 10 yard line is four-down territory.

Once again, Carolina came up with a win in November when they needed one, which has become characteristic of a Larry Fedora team over the past three years. Next up are Carolina's two main rivals, Duke and NC State, both of whom are already bowl eligible while UNC will have to defeat one of the two to go bowling yet again. The Tar Heel offense seems to be clicking again, so the question will be can the defense slow either the Devils or the Pack enough to pick up a win and a postseason berth.