While the naysayers, the ABC’ers, the haters will point to the fact that what happened in Kenan Stadium yesterday was against a Football Championship Subdivision squad, the shallacking that the North Carolina football squad put on Elon, shutting the opponents out by the final of 62 to 0, was still very impressive. The Tar Heels came just three points shorts of their single game record, which if not for a lost fumble by A.J. Blue a few yards away from the Phoenix’ end zone would have probably been broken. And still it was the most points that a team from Chapel Hill had scored in the last 17 seasons. But that is neither here or there, what was important, as I said in my preview, “how the squad played”. After having watched the game twice, once live and then taking my time on replay, I can say for certain that they played well!
My keys to the game were the following…
- Do not keep it close. And Carolina did just that, scoring on the second and third drive they had the ball, going up 14 to 0 at the end of the first and then breaking it fully open with a 27 points performance in the second quarter, sending the two teams to the showers with the score 41 to 0 for North Carolina. The shut out was the first one since Carolina kept rival Duke from scoring in 1999.
- Do not give up the big plays on D/Keep the field long for the opposition. In all Elon got 170 yards in the game, 128 of those through the air. For the most of the game the Phoenix never got into UNC’s side of the field, and the Tar Heels picked off Thomas Wilson (13 for 27 for 99 yards) twice and recovered two fumbles. Elon’s biggest play through the air was a 22 yard catch by Tracey Coppedge, his only catch, while the big threat for the opponents, Aaron Mellette, was held to two catches for a total of nine yards. On the ground the biggest gain was by Wilson, a 16 yard run, as the team averaged 1.2 yards per carry.
- Run, baby, run! UNC also followed this path, as first Giovani Bernard got 93 yards on nine carries, then, once the sophomore came out and the fan base held its breath as the side line report said that he would not return do to “uncomfort in his knee” a slew of other backs, lead by Romar Morris, gained another 150 yards. To be noted, Bernard had three touchdowns in the game, one running, one through the air and one returning a punt, which had a lot of the UNC fans twitting #GioforHeisman.
After the game the media asked coach Fedora about his starting running back, this was his answer…
“He could’ve gone back in. There was no reason to put him back in though.”
…breathe everyone, breathe.
To be fair, the passing attack was not bad either against Elon as Carolina got 281 yards altogether, led by Bryn Renner, who played for about 2 and a half quarters, going 14 for 21 for a total of 236 yds, 3 TDs and 1 INT. Fourteen players donning the carolina blue caught a ball in this game, five of them getting more than one but none grabbing more than three catches, and a trio finding the end zone. The special team also did their part today, has the players combined for 260 yards, breaking a record that had been there for quite sometimes, and now having set both a school and conference record.
We all wanted to see how the first game in the Fedora era would go. We were curious if the team showed what the head coach promised in the off season. Well, we had heard of a high powered offense, and we got just that. But more than that this squad, who has been so through a lot, both on the field (three coaches in three seasons) and off (the NCAA sanctions and all the rest), came on the field with an intesity that any fan should appreciate. If there could have been the perfect scenario for the first game of the season by the North Carolina football team it was probably pretty close to what we saw yesterday in Kenan. Now, on to the next game, the first away game of the season, as well as the first one conference match up, as Carolina will stay in state and head to play against Wake Forest next Saturday, kick off time 3:00 p.m. EST. For more about UNC football and/or basketball make sure to come back to isportsweb often!