Aug 30, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Mack Hollins (13) celebrates his 3rd period touchdown catch with teammates offensive linemen Lucas Crowley (68) and tight end Jack Tabb (80) against the Liberty Flames at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the Liberty Flames 56-29. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina Tar Heels Extinguish Liberty Flames, 56-29

Do not let anyone tell you that North Carolina’s 56-29 victory over the Liberty Flames was easy. It was a game that had everything a coach did not want to see out of his team in their first game. It had special teams mistakes. There was a missed field goal and a botched long snap that led to a safety. It had turnovers as North Carolina’s two quarterbacks combined for three interceptions and Quinshad Davis added a fumble.

Then suddenly the mists cleared, it rained at halftime, and the breaks went the other way. Linebacker Jeff Schottmer picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown. Then the defense caused a fumble that was picked up by defensive back Kedrick Davis. On the next Liberty possession, Domonique Green recovered a fumble. Every possession saw a score which turned a strange 22-21 deficit become a strange 48-21 Tar Heel advantage. That held up though the scoring did stop until 56-29 became the final.

Play of the Game

Offensive coordinator Seth Littrell made some interesting decisions at several points during this game, but his mindset for two plays in the third quarter showed a coach who knew when he had something. The offense had inserted special teamer Mack Collins as a receiver, and then threw it to him for a seven yard gain. Littrell called the same play again, and Collins burned the Liberty defense for a 33 yd touchdown reception. It was the first score that started the turnaround that decided the game.

Were You There When…

Liberty gave up the ball on three straight possessions to take Tar Heels from being ahead to being comfortably ahead. I still do not understand what happened, though it did seem like the karmic reverse of the troubles in the first half. Kedrick Davis finished the game with a pick and a fumble recovery. Where’s the sack, Kedrick? You’re slacking…

I Want Him On My Team

Charles Brunson, RB

This was hard as so many people had a hand in the Tar Heel victory. Neither was anyone perfect. Brunson was the fifth running back and was inserted into the game when it was all but over. Don’t tell that to Charles Brunson. Brunson took the final Carolina drive of the game 59 yards for the score all on his own two legs. With the depth at running back, we might not see Brunson again for a long while. One would get the sense that he’ll be ready when the time comes.

Final Thoughts

Though North Carolina was playing without pieces that were either ineligible or suspended, they should come away with mixed messages from this game. Neither quarterback was overwhelming, though Williams had two rushing touchdowns. It also seemed that the Tar Heels were unwilling to run the ball more against a smaller Liberty front. However it does appear that Ryan Switzer’s integration into the offense is well along, and that Fedora is hiding other weapons at wide receiver like Collins and Austin Proehl. North Carolina should know though, they can’t play San Diego State that way.

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Tags: ACC Football Charles Brunson North Carolina Tar Heels

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