North Carolina beat up the Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday in the Belk Bowl 39-17. The game was never close, and the closest UNC fans came to a hint of doubt in our Belk Bowl victory was when TJ Logan fumbled the ball on our 10 yard line. Cincy had the ball first and goal, but UNC’s defense promptly stuffed Cincy’s offense four times in a row and the game’s outcome was never again in doubt.
KIH will have the pleasure of giving out a report card to UNC’s backfield, receivers, linemen, linebackers and secondary, and special teams. For as well as UNC played, giving out this report card will be easy! If you disagree with a grade, voice your opinion in the comments section below. Here we go!
Marquise Williams didn’t have his greatest game ever on Saturday, but it was good enough. Marquise Williams threw 19-33 for 171 yards and a touchdown and lead the Heels to victory. Quise has a lot to build on with his performance in the second half of the season going into next year.
As for TJ Logan, he looked really really good as UNC’s running back of the future. Logan averaged over 5 yards per rush and ran well against a stout Cincy defense. Logan is so young, he is only going to get better going forward. Great performance in the Belk Bowl for Williams, Logan, and all of UNC’s running backs.
Eric Ebron had a modest going out party in the Belk Bowl. He caught 7 passes for 78 yards and leaped a couple of Cincy defenders. We will all really miss Eric Ebron and we wish him the best at the next level.
Other than Ebron, most of UNC’s receivers were non-factors. Bug Howard did not catch a ball, and Quinshad Davis only caught one for six yards. TJ Thorpe and Sean Tapley did well in the game, but overall the receivers didn’t really impact the game. B- is the grade for Ebron’s performance and the win.
UNC’s line took a big hit when tackle James Hurst went down with a leg injury in the first half. But the unit stepped up and created some nice holes for UNC’s running backs. Good job to this young group of linemen, all of whom were shuffled around and still played well throughout the season.
As for the defensive line- Heels fans will really miss Kareem Martin. Martin turned in another great performance in his last game as a Tar Heel and even got a safety in the first quarter as the cherry on top to his season. UNC’s line played well all game and did a great job of pressuring Brendon Kay and not letting him get comfortable in the pocket.
Linebackers and Secondary- A
UNC was dealing with all kinds of injuries in this game, and the makeshift group that went out and battled did really well against a good Bearcats team. UNC was playing with 6 or even 7 DBs the entire game, but still dominated the line of scrimmage all game. Lets give Nathan Staub and Brandan Ellerbe some credit for playing well and holding this unit together in the Belk Bowl. Also, shout out to Tre Boston and Jabari Price, two seniors who played their hearts out in their last game for UNC. Boston even caught an interception at the end of the game, a fitting book end to Boston’s great UNC career.
Special Teams- A+
There is no doubt that UNC’s special teams unit deserves an “A+” grade for the Belk Bowl. UNC’s special teams dominated all season and really changed the game for UNC multiple times in the Belk Bowl. TJ Logan’s kick return TD and Ryan Switzer’s punt return TD swung momentum and the game in UNC’s favor and greatly helped the team to victory. I’m so excited that Switz and Logan are only freshman! At least two more years of great returns and explosive plays for both of them.