So this is what it’s going to be like to be a fan of UNC football for the rest of their season! With all the turmoil around the program, every win just feels like a welcome respite, every loss feels like an inevitability that we can always reassure ourselves about by saying “well, if only we had all our players.” Seems like everyone, from team bloggers to Twitter followers, was just chalking this one up to the accumulation of attrition Carolina has suffered, and probably rightly so. Everything I read seemed to say a 33-10 loss to Miami was the sort of thing that was “bound to happen.”
If suspensions hadn’t already taken enough of a toll, injuries finished off the Heels on Saturday. Once you heard the announcers saying the words “two freshmen corners” about UNC, you know it was only a matter of time before Jacory Harris started picking them apart, even despite his throwing issues (it still baffles me that Harris looks so cool most of the time but uncorks a totally erratic throw every half-dozen plays that misses an open receiver by 10 yards - it’s like his accuracy has Tourette’s). Carolina was already down Zack Pianalto, Quan Sturdivant, and LeCount Fantroy, then proceeded to lose Da’Norris Searcy, Mywan Jackson, Anthony Elzy, and Johnny White (to some mysterious stomach ailment) during the game, which was too much to overcome.
That having been said, and giving Carolina plenty of excuses to fall back on, it must still be pointed out that the Heels did their share of shooting themselves in the foot. With the chance to seize control of the game in the first quarter, Anthony Elzy fumbled on the 2-yard line and gave the ‘Canes a little life, and while that didn’t completely kill momentum (UNC still scored their next possession on a fantastic 76-yard run from White) it did come back to haunt them later when subsequent offensive drives produced 3, 1, 2 and 0 yards, respectively. Could have used that extra TD to make it through that dry spell.
T.J. Yates and his receiver corps also didn’t look like world-beaters this game, and fans might have reason to start worrying about the regression of Erik Highsmith and Jehraine Boyd, who still are struggling to produce on a consistent basis this season. One, or both, of those guys are going to need to step up alongside the suddenly-blossoming Dwight Jones if Carolina’s passing attack is going to compensate for Zach Pianalto being gone for the year. Hopefully JMU coming to Kenan next week gives a chance for UNC to recuperate from some injuries and solve some of their woes with offensive consistency (and, for the defense, putting pressure on the QB).
So Carolina no longer controls their own destiny in the Coastal division. But maybe that’s for the best, because destiny has certainly not been kind to the Heels this year. Maybe she’s just saving her appearance for basketball season?
Other links from the weekend:
- Tar Heel Fan has their usual insightful game recap and thorough good, bad and ugly report.
- New documents came out naming names in the UNC scandal over the weekend, and one of those names just happens to be Drew Rosenhaus.
- Duke had their first exhibition game against St. Augustine’s on Saturday, and though you have to account for the competition, it’s interesting to note that this year’s squad looks more like the 2000 championship team than the 2010 one - defensive pressure all over the floor, nailing outside shots, etc. Yeah, scary.
- The Durham Herald-Sun profiles how transfer Justin Knox came to UNC.