Quick Hitters - North Carolina vs. Georgia State

Isaac Schade presents Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 59-17 home win over Georgia State on Saturday evening.
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Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 59-17 home win over Georgia State on Saturday evening.

Highlights:

Condensed Game:

  • 50,500 people in Kenan Stadium on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. It felt very odd and yet strangely and wonderfully perfect. That the home opener fell on this solemn day of remembrance infused all the more emotion into the evening.
  • It was a special treat to have both Lawrence Taylor and Jeff Saturday in attendance.
  • Jonathan Kim is such an unsung weapon for Carolina. He is a perfect 12-for-12 on touchbacks so far this season including all nine kickoffs against Georgia State.
  • Ty Chandler didn’t have an eye-popping game strictly in terms of rushing yards. He rushed 15 times for 59 yards, a 3.9 average. However, he caught his lone target for 15 yards and had two kickoff returns for a total of 51 yards. Combine all that and Chandler led the team with 124 all-purpose yards. 

  • A week after having first-half defensive troubles (before a great second half performance), the defense set the tone on the first play from scrimmage tonight. Georgia State rushed Destin Coates to the left. The Carolina d-line strung him along the sideline until Ja’Quirious Conley could come up from his DB position to ride Coates out of bounds for a two yard loss. The Panthers followed up with back-to-back incomplete passes before punting. Carolina scored their first touchdown just six plays later. 
  • That first touchdown? A 22-yard Sam Howell rush. Oh, but he was just getting started. At the end of the third quarter, Howell had a 62-yard rushing touchdown.
  • This was the first multiple rushing touchdown performance of Howell’s career. His 62-yard touchdown gained Howell more rushing yards than he had in his entire freshman season (35). That run alone was more than he has had in any single game in his career. He finished the night with 104 total rushing yards. 
  • Don’t you go thinking that Howell did it all with his legs. A week after having to settle for his fourth-lowest ever passing yards total, he finished tonight with 352 yards and three touchdown passes. 
  • Howell once again added his name to the Carolina record book; this time as the only quarterback in Tar Heel history to pass for 350+ yards and run for 100+. 
  • Georgia State’s second drive picked up their first first down, but ultimately ended in a turnover on downs.
  • On Carolina’s first drive, Howell finished the job with his legs. On the second drive, he did so with his arm in the form of a beautiful 57-yard pass to Antoine Green. That touchdown pass extended Howell’s streak of at least one touchdown pass in all 27 of his college games. 
  • Brian Anderson was back at center this week after missing last week’s game with an injury. While it would be tempting to think that linemen are essentially interchangeable, that would be a mistake. Anderson helps the line function like a well-oiled machine, and his absence last week was noticeable as the line struggled to protect Howell. 
  • Unfortunately though, o-line staple Joshua Ezeudu missed the game, so Carolina’s experienced starting offensive line quintet is yet to play a game intact this season. 
  • Last week, Carolina was an anemic 2-10 on 3rd down. They went 5-10 today.
  • Something you really like to see, particularly early in the year when things are sloppy: Carolina was flagged for just three penalties and a total of 35 yards. Against Virginia Tech, the Tar Heels had just five. Keeping the mistakes to a minimum like this will serve Mack Brown’s team well. 
  • Perhaps the biggest point of concern for the defense was Georgia State’s second quarter drive that consumed literally half of the quarter. The Panthers held the ball for 7:30 and reeled off 75 yards over the course of 17 plays. Not only did Georgia State drain one-eighth of the game on that possession, they capped it off with their first touchdown of the game. 
  • The defense has only managed one sack per game thus far. Put simply: the Tar Heels need to add to that number. 
  • Josh Downs had another big night, hauling in eight passes on 11 targets for 73 yards and a touchdown. 
  • This was the game the Tar Heels wish could have been at the top of the schedule. An opportunity to play a lesser-talented opponent. An opportunity to play a lot of guys. An opportunity to try some things. Alas, it wasn’t and the Tar Heels are 1-1 heading into a big matchup with Virginia next week.

Box Score

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Mack Brown postgame press conference

Players postgame press conference

Antoine Green

Myles Murphy  

Ray Vohasek

Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina football game. Next up is a home game against Virginia on Saturday, September 18. Kickoff is at 7:30pm ET on ACC Network.

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