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UNC vs. Cal - Player of the Game: Michael Carter

The freshman acquitted himself well in an otherwise disappointing game for UNC.

NCAA Football: California at North Carolina Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Cal game was quite the frustrating one for UNC. The defense allowed 469 yards. The offense was able to put up yardage, but couldn’t finish several drives, and turned the ball over three times.

Trying to find bright spots in all of that is not the easiest to do. However, there was one player for Carolina who comes out of this game looking pretty good.

True freshman running back Michael Carter went for 94 yards and two touchdowns in his first college game, averaging over eight yards a carry.

In the first half, Carter racked up 70 yards on seven attempts. Both of his touchdowns came in that first half, and sent the Tar Heels into halftime up 17-14.

In the second half, he had just 24 yards on four attempts, as the UNC offense began to sputter. His lack of usage in the second half definitely felt a bit like the Elijah Hood/South Carolina situation in the 2015 opener.

The one negative about Carter’s performance was his fumble near the end of the first quarter that Cal recovered. Not that he was totally blameless for that, but it’s arguable that his elbow hit the ground and he should have been ruled down. Also, Cal didn’t end up coming away with points on the following drive. Yes, Carter had no control of that part, but even his mistake didn’t end up costing UNC.

There are certainly things that Larry Fedora and North Carolina have to figure out if they’re to have a good season. One of the worries coming into this year was the lack of returning talent at skill positions, especially at running back.

It was only one game, but Michael Carter definitely proved that he could be a useful player for Carolina-this year and in the future.