We’re games three quarters long, there wouldn’t have been a lot of nominees for player of the game. The Tar Heels were down 18 points. The defense had started to look better in the second half, but they had given up nearly seven yards per play in the first two quarters.
Meanwhile, the offense had been shutout entire in the first 30 minutes while averaging 2.4 yards per play. The third wasn’t much better, but they did at least get on the board with a Noah Ruggles field goal.
Then, as they did in the first two games, the Tar Heels turned it on in the fourth. Of the 333 total yards in the game, 193 came in the final quarter. They scored 15 points, getting within a field goal at one point. Things didn’t work out for the team in the end, but we at least got a couple more performances to highlight out of it.
Sam Howell struggled for the first three quarters, but his four quarter numbers of 7-10 for 120 yards and two touchdowns took his overall stats to somewhat more respectable.
Michael Carter turned it on in the fourth and finished with 96 yards on 13 carries. When counting receiving and returning, he went for 120 all-purpose yards. On the other hand, while the refs seemed to mess up the final play leaving no time for UNC, his dillydallying didn’t help.
If the game was just three quarters, this honestly would have gone to punter Ben Kiernan. After being one of the major negatives through the first two games, he was excellent against the Demon Deacons. He was called upon 10 times and averaged 46 yards per punt.
On the defensive side of things, Myles Dorn picked off a Jamie Newman pass, while Trey Morrison led the team with 12 tackles, all of which were solo efforts.
However in the end, the award for this game goes to receiver Dyami Brown. He may have just finished with three catches, but he made them count. Brown racked up 84 yards and a touchdown.
His particular TD was the one that got us really hopeful that the Tar Heels could pull off the comeback. With just over six minutes left, he hauled in a Howell pass for a 17-yard touchdown which, after the extra point, got UNC within a field goal. He also caught a 55-yard pass on the drive that led to Carolina’s first touchdown, earlier in the fourth.
Overall, there wasn’t a lot of candidates because not a lot of people put together 60 good minutes of football. However the fact that a lot of people didn’t play well, and UNC still got close to a comeback is hopefully a good sign of things to come.