UNC defended their home turf on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Virginia Cavaliers in convincing fashion 45-14. UNC is now 4-5, and right back on track for bowl eligibility. After the win against the Virginia, Keeping It Heel went back and graded UNC’s performance in five categories. We handed out grades from A-F in five areas- Offensive Backfield, Receiving Core, Offensive + Defensive Lines, Defensive Linebackers + Secondary, and Special Teams + Coaching. Voice your opinion in the comments below if you think we graded a group too high or too low!
Not bad for your second career start, Mr. Marquise Williams. Williams threw for 185 yards and two touchdowns on the way to leading the Heels to a nice victory. He also pitched in 46 yards on the ground, including a rushing touchdown. He did a great job keeping the ball moving for UNC, converting third downs, and managing the game. After this game, you should be excited for the future with Marquise Williams as the starting quarterback. UNC’s rushing attack also showed up big time, with all of the running backs getting into the action. Shout out to Khris Francis, who scored his first career TD in this game.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Quinshad Davis had himself a great day on the gridiron against the Cavs. He caught and threw for a touchdown, as well as collecting 13 yards per catch. The sophomore is one of many young Tar Heels who are continuing to improve as the season goes on. The reason for the lower grade is because of the relatively quiet performance from Eric Ebron, who only caught two passes. Part of it was Virginia’s gameplanning, but Ebron and Williams need to get on the same page offensive so UNC can use their greatest and most talented weapon.
Offensive and Defensive Lines
Not the big fellas’s best game on Saturday. UNC had a lot of holding penalties against Virginia, not something you want from an offensive line in the ninth game of the season. On the defensive side, Kevin Parks did rush for 100 yards and a TD, but the line held strong for the most part. It was a performance good enough to secure a “W”, but not a performance to hang your hat on.
Linebackers and Secondaries
North Carolina’s secondary hauled in two interceptions and turned in another strong performance on Saturday. This group, led by Jabari Price and Tre Boston, is UNC’s most improved from the beginning of the season. Coach Fedora and his staff should be really proud of the progress that this group has made. From the linebacking standpoint, nobody had a great day but everyone played well enough to win. Lots of guys got some game action this week, including some freshman making plays in some key spots. Solid performance from this unit.
Special Teams and Coaching
How about Ryan Switzer! The freshman turned an inexcuseable muffled punt into an electrifying return that secured the victory for UNC. This won’t be the last punt return for Switz, I guarantee it. The reason for the grade of “B” is because of all the penalties UNC had. At this point in the season, you have to make improvements in the penalties category. Overall though, special teams and coaching were very good against Virginia.