It’s been an exciting few days in Chapel Hill after the Tar Heels surprised a lot of people and knocked off South Carolina, 24-20, in their season opener. Naturally, it took some strong individual efforts in order to pull out the victory, which resulted in three different Carolina players receiving recognition as some of the ACC’s top performers last weekend.
Quarterback Sam Howell was named the conference’s rookie of the week, left tackle Charlie Heck was awarded offensive lineman of the week, and safety Myles Wolfolk was chosen as defensive back of the week.
The true freshman Howell got his first taste of college football on Saturday, and he thrived. Mack Brown admitted that he and his staff were holding him back a little in the first half, but as soon as they took the kid gloves off, the Heels came alive. Howell completed 15-of-24 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns. He also led back-to-back 90+ yard touchdown drives that ultimately completed Carolina’s comeback. It’s early, but Howell is already a major improvement from the last couple of seasons at the quarterback position.
Heck was really the anchor for the Tar Heels’ O-line on Saturday. He was a big reason the offense enjoyed such balanced success, with 245 passing yards and 238 rushing yards on the day. The senior recorded six knockdowns and did not have a single missed assignment.
Wolfolk played the “hero” on more than one occasion against the Gamecocks. With 2:48 left to play and the Heels up by four, he chased down a wild throw by South Carolina QB Jake Bentley that seemingly could’ve ended the game. The Gamecocks got another opportunity to win the game only to watch Wolfolk intercept yet another pass and essentially close out the game. The junior safety looks to play a major role in turning around a Tar Heel secondary that’s gotten burned in recent years.
These guys will look to keep things rolling in front of a sold out crowd this Saturday night when Carolina welcomes in the Miami Hurricanes.