Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 31-28 home loss to Florida State on Saturday evening.
- Let’s just acknowledge this upfront: The Tar Heels played an atrocious first half and yet were one or two plays away from completing the biggest comeback in Carolina football history. It was not pretty, but the team learned how to fight today. They will regroup and be ready for NC State next week.
- The announced attendance was 18,016. That’s only 23% of the 79,560 capacity that fits inside Doak Walker Stadium. However, this was the most people Carolina has played in front of and certainly the most hostile environment. The Tar Heels were sluggish out of the gate and paid for it dearly.
- Coming into the game Michael Carter and Javonte Williams were averaging a combined 303.4 all-purpose yards per game, the most in FBS for a duo. The twosome reached 256 tonight, so fell about 50 yards shy of their season average. Carter had a season-low in rushing yards – 65.
- Javonte Williams touchdown watch: with his two touchdowns tonight (one rushing, one receiving), he has scored multiple touchdowns in every game this season.
- FSU scored 24 points in the second quarter. That’s the most in any one single quarter since Georgia Tech scored 30 in the 3 quarter on November 10, 2012. The Yellow Jackets won a barn-burner that day, 68-50.
- Florida State was missing their top receiver, Tamorrion Terry, who recently had minor knee surgery. It didn’t seem to matter though as the Seminoles completed four passes of 33 or more yards in the first half. Perhaps the injury-riddled secondary was somewhat exploited?
- On the other hand, the second half was a different story defensively. In addition to the entirety of the defense not allowing a single point, the secondary only surrendered two completions (six yards and three yards).
- Coming off a season in which Sam Howell torched defenses downfield, and with weapons like Beau Corrales, Dyami Brown, and Dazz Newsome at his disposal, the lack of downfield looks has been puzzling. Coach Brown cleared up that confusion in the postgame tonight: “We’re not great at pass protection, that’s why we run the ball so much.”
- Case in point: Florida State tallied three total sacks in their first four games combined. Tonight? Four.
- The first half scoring (31 points) for the Seminoles was not an aberration, Virginia Tech scored the exact same number in the second half last week.
- Sam Howell was hit in the head for at least the third time this season. Thankfully targeting was called, but that doesn’t “un-hit” the quarterback. The very next play resulted in a roughing the passer penalty. These are going to start to add up and take a toll on Mr. Howell’s body.
- Chazz Surratt had a quiet game, totaling just three tackles (Tomari Fox led with nine). He’s got only seven combined over the last two games. Surratt had an opportunity to get the defense off the field on third down late in the game but missed an open-field tackle that allowed a QB scramble for a first down.
- The final drive aside, the Heels had two other drives that ended in a turnover on downs. Those two drives just so happened to also be the two longest drives, both by number plays (11 and 10) and time of possession (5:52 and 4:52).
- Had the Tar Heels been able to complete the comeback, one of the major talking points would have been that Florida State shut it down too early offensively. As early as 3:00 remaining in the third quarter, they were already running clock and beginning to make rather conservative play calls. The plan nearly backfired, but Carolina didn’t make enough plays.
- Carolina’s timeout management was suspect in the game. Twice in the game (one in each half), the Tar Heels took timeouts to discuss PATs. On another occasion in the third quarter, the Tar Heels took a timeout to discuss a fourth down play call. So by the time the third quarter ended UNC only had one timeout left for the entire fourth quarter.
- The Tar Heels were 2-for-11 (18%) on third down, by far the worst conversion rate of the season.
- Trey Morrison had an incredibly athletic interception. He went up with one hand to just pick the ball out of the air. Believe it or not, this was just Carolina’s second takeaway this year.
- Many things contributed to “why” Carolina lost this game. One of them was the missed opportunity after Morrison’s interception. The Heels couldn’t move the ball and Grayson Atkins missed a 44-yard field goal; in a game UNC lost by three.
- Javonte Williams made a ridiculous catch midway through the fourth quarter on 2 and 20. After jumping to make the catch he came down while controlling the ball between his legs.
- Despite some miscues, such as allowing a blocked punt and a tipped punt, the Tar Heels had their least penalized game of the season, both in terms of the number of penalties (seven) and yards lost (50).
- Jonathan Kim just keeps doing Jonathan Kim things. He was 5-for-5 on touchbacks tonight. That brings his total this season to 23-25. What a weapon it is to have a piece like Kim.
Mack Brown postgame press conference
Players postgame press conference
Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina football game. Next up is a home game against NC State on Saturday, October 24. Kickoff is at noon ET on ESPN.
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