Before I begin my recap of the game between North Carolina (3-2) and Idaho (0-5) let me include this: just like Elon this was not a good team, actually it was a really bad team who was coming into Kenan having given up 103 points in the last two games. After leaving Chapel Hill the Vandals had given up a lot more as the UNC football squad shut them out by the final of 66 to 0. I guess one could say that the only thing that was worst than the Vandals’ defense was the weather while the two teams played.
As I said in my preview North Carolina needed to run on all cylinders on both sides of the ball as Idaho had nothing to lose and the last thing that head coach Larry Fedora and his team needed was to keep them in the game. The Heels did just that, scoring from the get go, with a four play series where Bryn Renner, who ended 14 of 19 for 221 yds with 3 TDs and 1 INT, found Sean Tapley for a 36-yard touchdown pass off the flea flicker. From there the rout was on as the Tar Heels just could not be stopped, for the most part, by an opponent that was just not to their class.
Yes, for the most part, since if there was a fault to be made is that Carolina’s offense did not look sharp in the red zone. Actually, with the Heels turning the ball over twice inside the opponent’s 20 yard line, made the red zone offense look dull in many ways. Mistakes such as these are going to hurt coach Fedora’s squad going forward, something it can ill afford as they enter conference play next week. I am sure that as Virginia Tech looms in the background this is going to be one of the things that the coaching staff will be working on fixing.
My keys to the game were…
Running back Bernard was asked about having only two carries but each of them was a touchdown.
“I didn’t realize I only had two carries. It’s something that I pride myself on – whenever I touch the ball, I’ve got to do something special. Nowadays, there are players out there who one time and they’re going 90 yards. I want to pride myself on being able to make something special out of every touch.”
Run, run and run some more. Carolina did that, getting 287 yards on the ground (compared to 288 in the air), however how they did it was kind of baffling. A.J. Blue, 13 touches for 54 yds (1 TD), is the back up to Giovani Bernard, 2 rushes for 70 yds (2 TDs), while Romar Morris, 12 carries for 74 yds, was the one with the most yards out of the trio, but seemed to come on later on in the game. I like seeing all three of the backs getting touches, but I guess I was thinking/hoping to see a rotation of Bernard, Morris and then Blue.
I will refrain from complaining about the rotation due to the fact that, as I been saying in most of this post, the Tar Heels played against an inferior opponent and as such the rotation might not be the same as when this squad plays going forward. Also, since the web boards have been buzzing about this since the game ended, let me tackle the “Bernard returning punts” controversy. I have no problem with the starting tail back doing that, none whatsoever. Where I did have a small concern is in the fact that he was still doing that when it was totally evident that Idaho could not do anything against Carolina. On the other hand I can understand that after having missed a couple of games Bernard might have needed to get as many touches as possible to get back “into the zone”.
Quarterback Bryn Renner was asked about the receivers.
“All of our receivers have great hands. They have my full confidence that they will catch the ball and get the job done. Even in pregame they were doing a great job.”
Ebron can be the man! The tight end had three catches for 67 yds in all. He was one of nine players to receive catches from either Bryn Renner, who played just half the game, or Marquise Williams. Only Quishan Davis and Bernard, who both caught four balls, had more catches than Ebron against the Vandals. Davis got two touchdowns in the game and had the most yards receiving in this game with 89 in all. With the way this game went, where North Carolina was never in trouble, the need of a safety valve like Ebron was not as needed as he might be going forward.
Head coach Larry Fedora was asked on setting school records for most points in a game and biggest point margin.
“It says this team is very capable of doing some special things. If we keep preparing the way we’re preparing the last couple weeks and we keep playing with a lot of energy then we can do some really, really good things. It’s a lot of fun playing out here. It’s a lot of fun playing in front of our crowd. Our kids really enjoy it.”
Shut them down early. The UNC football team did just that in this game, as they scored early and often. In the end the squad set a school record in this game with 66 points. The Heels have score 60 or more points in a game a dozen time in its history, and the first time ever to have done so twice in a season. It is also the first time ever in almost 20 years that Carolina has shut out two opponents in a season.
Of course the offense begins with Bryn Renner, who is moving higher and higher on all the all time categories. Renner is now third all time in TD passes with forty, while being fourth with 4,522 yds thrown. His partner in the backfield, Bernard, now has a total of 21 touchdowns in all, of which 17 have come running.
In the end this was a good game, but it was one against a bad team. Now the UNC football squad has to gear up for the meat of the schedule as the Atlantic Coast Conference match ups start. Beginning with this week’s home opponent in Virginia Tech, which is being dubbed the “White Out” game. (check out the t-shirt to the left which can be bought for this game) And from the sounds of it, Carolina is excited about it, as well as they should cause this team has the talent to play with most any program in the conference but will not be able to play past the regular season. With the right attitude, which coach Fedora seems to be installing in Chapel Hill, the remainder of the season can mean a lot more to the Heels than going to a bowl game.
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