North Carolina beat Pittsburgh Saturday in one roller-coaster ride of a football game. UNC took a huge lead heading into halftime, but Pittsburgh stormed back in the fourth quarter to tie the game. Ryan Switzer came in and saved the day with his second punt return for a touchdown, putting UNC ahead. That lead stuck and UNC evened its record at 5-5, one step closer to a bowl game. If you think we messed up and gave a sticker to someone who didn’t deserve it, or think we missed a player, sound off in the comments! Lets do this!
Shankle is the first recipient of a helmet sticker this week. Shankle had eight tackles on Saturday against Pitt, with three tackles for loss. He also added in two sacks from the cornerback position. He was very effective in pass rush situations blitzing from the outside and speeding past blocks to sack Tom Savage. He also played well in pass defense, recording a pass breakup. Great game by Shankle to earn his first Helmet Sticker.
Marquise Williams (Second Helmet Sticker this year)
Marquise Williams’s two touchdown scrambles were two very special plays. He juked out a Pitt defender each time, and showed nice speed and athleticism scampering into the endzone. And although he wasn’t perfect in the passing game, he was good enough. He fed his playmakers, like Quinshad Davis and Eric Ebron, and avoided making bad decisions. Great job by Marquise leading the offense on the road to victory.
Kareem Martin (Second Helmet Sticker)
Martin struggled in the early part of the year, putting up pedestrian numbers and looking slower compared to last year. But all of the sudden, in North Carolina’s past few games, he has been unblockable. Kareem had a stat line worthy of an ACC player of the week selection, with eight tackles, 3.5 for loss, two forced fumbles, and two QB hurries. The biggest difference between earlier in the season and now is Martin’s motor. He never gives up on a play, and chases down the quarterback with impressive closing speed for a defensive end. Great job by Martin flipped the switch on to beast mode these last four games for Carolina and leading UNC’s much improved pass defense.
Ryan Switzer (Second Helmet Sticker)
What can you say about Ryan Switzer? First, you have to give Switzer credit for his 4th and nine catch in the first half. But the real reason he got his second helmet sticker was that he is untouchable on punt returns! He had 147 all purpose yards against Pitt, and took two (!!!) punts back to the house. Oh yeah, one of them was to win the game for UNC with around five minutes left in the game.
People have made the comparison to Giovanni Bernard’s punt return against State last season and Switzer’s magic. But Gio’s punt return, and Switz’s first, was a product of good blocking, speed and a nice punt return play call. However, in the game winning punt return, Switz made a crazy cutback and narrowly avoided four or five tackles from Pitt defenders before barreling into the endzone. That was one crazy good individual effort and overall a great game by Switz!