The season opened with Sam Howell getting player of the game after throwing for 200 some yards and multiple touchdown, while leading UNC to a win. It’s pretty fitting for the season to end the exact same way.
While this one wasn’t as nerve-wracking of a finish as that South Carolina game, it was also even more impressive than that one. Howell torched Temple for 294 yards on 25-34 passing attempts and three touchdowns as the Tar Heels won the Military Bowl 55-13.
It wasn’t just that either, Howell did a little bit of everything on the day. The freshman ran for 53 yards on three attempts. While Javonte Williams and Michael Carter both eventually passed him, those 53 yards all came in the first half, and led the way for the Tar Heels for quite a while.
Then there was this:
Howell was on the receiving end of the “Philly Special” play, catching a pass from Toe Groves for a two-yard touchdown. Sadly, none of his rushes went for a TD to complete the triple play in this game. In some way shape or form, Howell was part of 349 of the Tar Heels’ 534 total yards.
Other candidates in this game include Dazz Newsome, eight catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns, and Dyami Brown, five catches for 87 yards and one touchdown. Both performances took the receivers over 1000 yards for the season. They became just the fourth and fifth UNC player to do so, and it was the first time the Tar Heels have had two in one season. On the defensive side of things, there was Storm Duck, who had a pick six as well as two tackles for loss.
The win brings Howell’s freshman season to a close. He will finish it with 3,641 passing yards, along with 38 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. That is the second most passing yards in a single season from a Tar Heel QB, behind only Mitch Trubisky’s 2016. This isn’t as wild as it sounds for a variety of reasons, but he’s already 11th on UNC’s career passing yard list.
I think we can safely say the 2019 season was a success for UNC and nowhere else was that more evident than in Sam Howell.