If the football season ended for you last night, it’s understandable. With last weekend’s loss to Virginia being unexplainable or unforgivable, then there really isn’t a word to describe this loss to Georgia Tech.
Still, we still should celebrate the players who actually did show up for the game, and when the offense manages to score 42 points, plenty of players showed up. Drake Maye seemingly had an “off” night, yet it was only because the run game was so productive and he was put back in the position of having to do it all himself since the defense couldn’t save any points from being scored. He still had a 17-25 stat line with 310 yards, two touchdowns, and 58 yards rushing with another score. His top target on the night was Bryson Nesbit who reeled in some great catches, three of them for 89 yards, but also dropped a really important third down catch that would have kept the offense moving and turned the tide of the game.
Also Tez Walker deserves a shout out here for somehow being kept under wraps all night and still collecting 76 yards, and should have had a DPI call for one of his targets. It was sickening to see him go out the way that he did. A clean and legal hit, it’s just sickening to see what he’s had to go through this year and to see him not able to get off the field under his own power.
Ultimately, though, you have to hand the player of the game award to running back Omarion Hampton. 29 attempts for 153 yards, a 5.3 average, and two touchdowns. He also had four catches for 41 yards including a great 3rd and 18 shovel pass reception that goes down as a reception, but really was a run. It was clear, at least early on, that offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey learned his lesson from last week, saw that Georgia Tech had a horrendous rushing defense, and leaned on the back who from the start was getting just about anything he wanted.
The argument could be made that as things tightened up Lindsey should have kept doing that. There was a propensity to abandon the run when the Yellow Jackets were able to hold Hampton to just a two or three yard gain on first down, and that’s when the Tar Heels seemed to get into some trouble. Yet based on the success Maye had and how open a lot of the receivers are, it’s tough to fault the passes when they did happen. Hampton’s running though would have a helped a lot more late, as instead of going with Omarion the Tar Heels pulled him off the field to have British Brooks serve as a blocker for a Drake Maye QB keeper, which Tech was ready for.
Hampton could have easily had over 200 all-purpose yards in this game and honestly should have had the chance to do so. He was a huge reason why Carolina did manage to score 42 points, and he’s a slam dunk choice as the Player of the Game.