C’mon. Without even looking at the title, you knew exactly who this would be. Senior running back T.J. Logan was absolutely electrifying with his relatively few touches in a brutal 33-24 loss to Georgia. UNC had their moments. At one point, they looked poised to run away from the Bulldogs, thanks to the efforts of Logan. Elijah Hood, too, played well with few carries, but he didn’t quite have the performance so many predicted. North Carolina had a chance to really assert themselves in the national spotlight. Instead, Logan was one of the lone bright spots on offense, as UNC struggled yet again facing SEC competition.
With the Heels down 14-10 to start the second half, the team needed a boost. Mitch Trubisky had been somewhat effective in shorter throws, but woefully lacking in deeper ones. Elijah Hood had been typical Elijah Hood, plowing over defenders and showcasing great speed, but he didn’t have anywhere near enough carries a feature back like him should. The defense had performed well, exhibiting almost a bend-but-don’t-break strategy (until Chubb promptly broke it). Then, Logan changed everything.
He took the second half kickoff 95 yards to the house, displaying exactly why he’s one of the biggest offensive threats in the ACC. Once he gets to the edge, he’s nearly impossible to catch. One perfect juke move and Logan easily accelerated past every Bulldog on the field. Just like that, UNC had a 17-14 lead and all of the momentum.
He didn’t take long to contribute another explosive play. On the next Tar Heel possession, Logan finished off a five-play, 75-yard drive (under two minutes) with another speedy and elusive 21-yard run to the end zone. It looked similar to all those other blistering fast scoring drives from UNC last season. Carolina then led 24-14 and appeared to be finally equipped to vanquish elite competition on the opening weekend.
That didn’t quite happen. Coach Fedora seems to be a broken record when it comes to the running game, refusing to give his dominant running backs enough carries. Where Nick Chubb gets 32 carries and kicks off his Heisman campaign in style, Hood and Logan get a combined 16 rushes. This simply can’t happen anymore. The two backs did just about everything they could with the touches they got. It unfortunately wasn’t enough.
Ultimately, a combination of Nick Chubb, penalties (many questionable), and a lack of a passing game doomed the Heels from grabbing one of their biggest wins in the Fedora era. Logan, as well as Hood, can’t be blamed for any of that. If one true positive can be taken away from this game, it’s that North Carolina has two formidable, exciting running backs who can completely take over a game. They just need to get the ball more often.
And, if it must be done, the overall player of the game is, of course, Georgia’s bulldozer of a back Nick Chubb. It was thrilling to see him back on the field after an injury cut his season short last year, even if it meant him destroying the Heels. He was steady and clinical in the first three quarters, continually bludgeoning the UNC defense. Then, he unleashed a final haymaker, a 55-yard TD romp. Chubb makes the Bulldogs dangerous, no matter the QB-switching or defensive mistakes.
T.J. Logan: 6 carries for 80 yards and a TD (13.3 average), 2 catches for 3 yards, 95-yard kickoff return TD (170 total yards on kickoffs)
Nick Chubb: 32 carries for 222 yards and 2 TD’s (6.9 average)