2017 ACC Football: Coastal Division Power Rankings week 9

CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 28: Cayson Collins
CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 28: Cayson Collins /
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CHAPEL HILL, NC – OCTOBER 28: Nathan Elliott
CHAPEL HILL, NC – OCTOBER 28: Nathan Elliott /

Man in Black

For a recap of the game against Miami, click here.

Johnny Cash was known as the Man in Black and one of his more iconic sayings when told he looked like he was going to a funeral, he replied: “Well maybe I am.”

I wonder if that’s how Tar Heel fans felt going into this game against Miami. The Hurricanes were undefeated and UNC’s defense was considered one of the worst all season.

However, the Tar Heels responded “Don’t throw dirt on my grave just yet” with an inspired game that fell just short. They did this thanks to the aforementioned defense and their own Man in Black, well technically navy blue.

Nathan Elliott was Mitch Trubisky’s backup last season and outside of mop-up duty, was not called on much. This season he lost the three way battle for starting quarterback and has spent most of the season as UNC’s third string backup.

Until this past Saturday, that is.

Saturday, Elliott was the team’s backup due to an injury to Brandon Harris. After Chazz Surratt went out early in the first quarter, Elliott entered and never left. What ensued was one of the better offensive days for the Tar Heels this season.

Don’t get me wrong, Elliott wasn’t perfect as he threw three interceptions but he gave the Tar Heels a chance to win. In fact, he actually looked pretty good for a guy who probably hasn’t taken first team reps at all this season.

Elliott should be the starter from here on out as he provides hope in both the passing and running games.

He also doesn’t look phased by the field around him, much like Surratt does.

Elliott’s play would be a help to the other unit who did their job on Saturday. The defense has been an unsung hero for the Tar Heels all season and finally got their due this past weekend. They aren’t perfect either but they give UNC a chance to win.

On a side note, Gene Chizik stepping down might’ve been one of the biggest unnoticed additions to the team this year as John Papuchis has the defense playing the best I have seen in the Fedora era.

Anyways, the Tar Heels finally go on bye this week to rest up from their many injured and sore players. Their two games after the bye are probably their two most winnable the rest of the season, and the time off will do them good.