Saturday was not a day to remember for the North Carolina Tar Heels, as the East Carolina Pirates not only defeated them on their home field, but they just dominated them from the start.
East Carolina was able to get in the end zone on their first possession of the game, and that was just the beginning. By the end of the 1st quarter, the Pirates held a 14-0 lead.
ECU QB Shane Carden had a huge day, passing for 376 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, and also ran for 3 touchdowns. Shane was a huge reason why the Pirates were able to pull off the upset.
Tar Heels quarterback Bryn Renner struggled on the other hand, although he finished with a pretty good stat sheet. Renner finished the game with 366 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 INT. Wide Receiver Quinshad Davis also had a passing touchdown to T.J. Thorpe on a trick play in the 2nd quarter.
Larry Fedora’s Tar Heel football team hasn’t looked like themselves all season long. Since the season opening game on the road at a South Carolina, UNC hasn’t been able to get anything going. Their fast paced offense has been rather slow paced, and time may be running out for them to get things straightened out.
Although it was a rather disappointing performance by the Tar Heels, there is still some glimmer of hope to be found. Yes, losing to East Carolina is embarrassing and unacceptable, it is not the end of the world yet for UNC football, don’t give up on the season just yet.
Going into the season before the opener against the Gamecocks, I had some personal goals for this team. Some were to beat NC State and Virginia Tech in the annual rivalry match ups, and to continue to improve in Larry Fedora’s second season as head coach. Those are obviously some goals you might disagree with, but ultimately, winning the ACC Coastal division was a pre-season goal for not only the fans, but for the team as well.
Losing to a East Carolina did not hurt those chances. With it being a non-ACC game, a loss did not hurt the Tar Heels in that regard necessarily.
One way to describe Saturday’s defeat to East Carolina, is to call it what it was, a wake up call.
South Carolina was an expected loss, and losing to Georgia Tech is excusable. Even in the win against Middle Tennessee the Tar Heels weren’t impressive. After a bye week, ECU came in to demolish UNC at home.
That is how the season has been thus far, and if the Heels have any plans to go to the next level and win the ACC Coastal division to make an ACC championship game appearance, they must turn things around quickly.
UNC needs to put the loss to ECU, USC, and Georgia Tech behind them and move forward and start winning games.
Saturday’s game on the road at Virginia Tech is a must-win game for Larry Fedora’s team. It might be a little early to put a “must win” label on a game so early into the season, but at the end of the day, the Tar Heels desperately need this win.
In conclusion, don’t overreact to the East Carolina loss. Don’t give up on the Tar Heels just yet, there is a lot of football left to be played.