Typically, this is the time when I look back at the tape and talk about positive and negative plays from the Saturday that was for Carolina football. Well, lets be honest, there aren’t too many things to think positively about when coming off of the atrocious performance played through Hurricane Matthew. I could link you the Virginia Tech highlights but that’s not going to help anyone here. So here are two positives and a whole bunch of negative stuff that led to UNC’s embarrassment at home:
Naz Jones is going to have a legitimate chance to play on Sundays for a long time. Jones disrupted the middle of the Hokie offensive line all afternoon, collecting nine tackles, a sack, and fumble recovery. Larry Fedora during his Monday press conference lauded Jones, along with the defensive line who had their best game thus far this season.
LF: I thought our D-line played a lot better. It was their best performance of the year. Naz Jones probably had his best game to this point— Carolina Football (@TarHeelFootball) October 10, 2016
Credit also goes to Andre Smith, Cole Holcomb, and Donnie Miles who all totaled double-digit tackles.
Big ups to Tom Sheldon for his day of punting. The Aussie averaged 45.7 yards on his six punts.
I will admit, I was one who wanted to see this game played on Saturday. I don’t care about rain. I don’t care about your wine and cheese. I wanted to see Carolina line up and run the football and battle Virginia Tech at the line of scrimmage. Once again, admittedly my own ignorance led me to believe that this was a possible scenario. I’m going to try my very best not to be too harsh with the play calling, but is Larry Fedora stupid or just madly in love with the forward pass?
I am fully aware that Carolina is one of the most dangerous offenses when Mitch Trubisky is firing the ball downfield to Ryan Switzer, Mack Hollins, Bug Howard, and co. I am also well aware of the fact that Carolina is an even better offense when they are balanced in the running game with Elijah Hood and T.J. Logan. Yes, missing Hood hurt, but to only run the ball 29 times compared to the Hokies 66 is completely idiotic. What is even more dumb is throwing the ball 33 times in a HURRICANE.
I appreciated what Fedora has done for the Carolina program, but I’m not going to sit back and think things are all rainbows and cupcakes because we beat Florida State. His own stubbornness and refusal to run the football has led to losses to South Carolina, Georgia, and I’m sure a future mind-numbing game.
Obviously, turnovers don’t help the cause. Virginia Tech fumbled the ball seven times, SEVEN, but only lost the ball twice. Meanwhile, Carolina fumbled three times, losing two, to go along with two Trubisky interceptions. Twenty points off turnovers for the Hokies while the Heels had three. You knew going into the game—-even more so after watching Notre Dame-NC State—that the conditions would allow for an abnormal amount of turnovers, if not at the very least, turnover opportunities. Simply put, the ball just didn’t bounce Carolina’s way—pun not intended—and that’s just how football goes sometimes.
I know that the main excuse is that the game should have been played on Sunday and that the weather was a major factor. All of that could be true, but that’s not the reality that we live in. In this world, Carolina didn’t show the toughness to compete in the same elements that the boys from Blacksburg also played in. All the while, carrying one of the stupidest game plans I’ve seen in a long time. Don’t call it hyperbole because you know it’s true.
Realistically, I predicted Carolina to be 4-2 (2-1 ACC) at this point in the season. What I wasn’t expecting was a loss to a Coastal opponent at home. One would say that the Heels no longer control their own destiny, but if it were destiny wouldn’t they have won? Dumb cliches aside, this puts Carolina in an all too familiar position hoping for Coastal chaos. Even still, if UNC doesn’t win at Miami next weekend they’re going to have a tough time getting to Orlando and will once again be Belk Bowl bound.
Hopefully, this helps, but I don’t know, I just wish Saturday didn’t happen. Sigh.