Coming off the coulda-shoulda-woulda of the loss to a not-very-good South Carolina team last week, UNC faced an under-manned and over-matched North Carolina A&T team and pretty much met all expectations. The buzz word all week was for Carolina to have a "clean" game and the Heels pretty much delivered. Marquise Williams looked much more comfortable, Elijah Hood got plenty of carries in the red zone (and responded with two touchdowns), and the defense continued to look solid. In other words, mission accomplished.
There's often not a lot to be gleaned from games like this; nevertheless here is this week's GBU Report:
Nick Weiler: I don't think it can be
understated overstated how much of an improvement it is for UNC to have an actual kicking game. Weiler is a perfect 3-for-3 on the season after drilling a 48-yarder (yes, a 48-yarder) versus the Aggies. He also routinely put kickoffs into the end zone. How refreshing.
Red Zone Offense: After a dreadful showing last week, the Tar Heels were officially 5-6 in the red zone this week (making it into the red zone on the next-to-last play of their final possession). Elijah Hood scored twice after actually seeing the ball inside the 20 this week. Again, this is what should happen against this kind of team.
Quarterbacks: Marquise Williams was an efficient 15-20 for 211 yards and 2 TDs through the air, adding 53 yards and a TD on the ground. And while we expected to see Mitch Trubisky in mop-up duty, the sophomore actually came in on the 3rd series and played some in non-garbage time. Trubisky was 5-7 for 37 yards and a TD, and rushed for a 33-yard score himself.
Brandon Fritts: The redshirt freshman tight end made the most of his first action of the season, grabbing two touchdown passes, one each from Williams and Trubisky. Nice to see Fritts get some action given that UNC had to scramble in converting Kendrick Singleton to tight end prior to the season. And hey, props to Singleton for hauling in a 47-yard TD pass from Williams as well.
Stupid penalties: For all the defensive improvements the Heels have shown, they still had two dumb penalties - a personal foul and a roughing the passer - on the two Aggie scoring drives. UNC needs to play smarter as the opponents get tougher.
3rd down defense: A&T converted 7 of 15 chances on 3rd down. Again, that needs to improve as the opponents improve.
OK, since there wasn't anything truly ugly, allow me to share this video of the awesome NC A&T Blue and Gold Marching Machine, and their joint performance with the Marching Tar Heels.
So again, mission pretty much accomplished versus the Aggies. The game was "clean", was never in doubt, and UNC emerged without significant injuries. Coming to Chapel Hill next week is an Illinois team that looked to be in turmoil after firing its coach less than a month before the season but has won its first two games
82-3 96-3. Turns out the Illini will provide a larger test than first thought.