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UNC win vs Illinois - Player of the Game: Mitch Trubisky

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Carolina’s quarterback finally looked comfortable on the field, and it translated into UNC’s first win of the season

Cincinnati v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Mitch Trubisky didn’t light the world on fire when he made his first start as THE quarterback for the Tar Heels in Week 1 against Georgia. Despite Trubisky’s prior experience, he failed to connect down the field with any of his targets and seemed to be uncomfortable in the pocket.

UNC’s opening drive against Illinois wasn’t Trubisky’s best showing either, but he quickly left that behind and went on to lead the Tar Heels to an important victory in Champaign. Not only was Mitch able to connect on his throws that seemed just off last week, but Trubisky was able to tuck the ball and run in a fashion that would make Marquise Williams proud.

In all, Trubisky threw for two touchdowns and ran in two touchdowns himself on the ground. He threw for 265 yards without an interception. He even rushed for 42 yards with a 39-yard gain coming in just behind Elijah Hood’s 62-yard run for longest by a Tar Heel in the game. This was the Trubisky Carolina fans were expecting.

Trubisky was able to hit Mack Hollins and T.J. Logan through the air for two scores as UNC was able to hang 48 points on the Illini. Many players stepped up in a big way to shrug off a slow start to the game, but it doesn’t feel like it would have been possible without Trubisky’s contributions.

The Mitch Trubisky that took the field tonight is the one that can carry the Tar Heels to a successful season in 2016. There was really only one instance where you could point to a bad decision by the Tar Heel quarterback, and that was on a ball thrown into double coverage down the field that nearly resulted in an interception. Nearly. If almosts are the worst thing we can say, then everything turned out pretty well.

Carolina needs Trubisky to have an experienced presence at quarterback, and he showed that he was certainly capable of that Saturday in Illinois. He’ll have a bit of an easier test in front of him next week against James Madison before two tough challenges in a row in Pitt and Florida State kick off ACC play. Hopefully Mitch’s success this weekend give him the confidence to tackle those challenges with poise.

Who do you think was the player of the game in UNC’s win over Illinois?