Going into today’s game against Wofford, I think we all knew that it had the potential to be uneventful. For the most part it was, but we also got to see some good minutes from some guys that we haven’t seen much of this season. Heck, there are some guys that we hadn’t seen at all. Drake Maye made his regular season debut today in the second half, but we will get to that in a bit.
On the opening drive for the Tar Heels, Jacolby Criswell helped the offense march down the field immediately to score a touchdown. He found Garrett Walston and Ty Chandler for a couple of passes, but mostly the ground game was more than enough to get the job done. Criswell and Chandler blew through large holes of the defense multiple times, eventually leading to Criswell running in for the score.
From there Criswell did a great job of controlling the offense, helping the team go up 20-7 before halftime. He wouldn’t see the field in the second half, so he finished his day completing 11 of his 19 passes for 125 yards, and ran for 66 yards and a touchdown. He looked sharp for most of the half, but near the end of the second quarter he let some passes get away from him. Overall, he did a great job, and showed that he had some similar qualities to what Sam Howell brings to the table. With all due respect, I hope we don’t see him Friday against NC State, but it all depends on if the doctors give Howell the green light or if he has to sit.
In the second half we saw freshman QB Drake Maye, who also looked really impressive. He made some really good passes on timing routes, gained yardage using his feet, and overall made some really smart decisions under center. He only threw the ball nine times, but completed seven passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, Maye ran four times for 38 yards, and looked really good doing it. Between Maye and Criswell, I think it’s safe to say that Phil Longo will have no problem using either of them in designed run plays next season.
The other highlight of today’s offensive performance was Ty Chandler. He crossed the 1,000-yard mark, making him the 31st player to achieve the milestone.
Ty Chandler has registered the 31st 1,000 yard rushing season in Tar Heel history. pic.twitter.com/Y0s4WcKPX8— Carolina Football (@UNCFootball) November 20, 2021
Despite getting off to a rough start for the season, Chandler has improved each week under Phil Longo’s offense. He’s running with a lot of confidence, toughness, and intelligence, and to hit the 1,000-yard mark is truly impressive. He’ll be tough to replace next season, but British Brooks had a great audition today to take his place, rushing for 89 yards and two touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, we have to start wondering we’ll see a sizable shake-up with the staff after the season is over. Out of Wofford’s 55 plays on offense, they only threw the ball 10 times, and completed eight of those passes. They also had 209 rushing yards and two touchdowns, which can be looked at two different ways. The first way to look at it is they ran the ball 45 times, but the other way to look at it is this defense is still unable to stop the run to save their lives…against a Wofford team that is missing over 20 players for the season. I was hoping this game would get the defense into shape going into Friday’s game against NC State, but honestly there’s no telling how things will play out. At least they’re bowl eligible either way though, amirite?
Overall, it was great that the Tar Heels did become bowl eligible and took down a team that they absolutely couldn’t lose to. Next up is the Wolfpack in Carter Finley on Friday in what should be a heated, penalty-ridden, stressful matchup. Buckle up, folks.