North Carolina Tar Heels Survive San Diego St Aztecs 31-27


I will flat out say it, I underestimated San Diego State, which came into Chapel Hill with a sound game plan that nearly won the upset for them. They looked strong up front, and if they could have had one less interception then the game would have been theirs. The Aztec 3-3-5 defense kept filling holes all night with formations and stances.

More from North Carolina Tar Heels

For the North Carolina Tar Heels, this is what happens when you play Liberty ball against a tough opponent. It should not work out. Sure, North Carolina made some play-calling mistakes, and it has to understand how lucky it is right now.

Now, enough of the apocalypse talk. The Tar Heels showed some good character in coming back from a two score deficit when it did not look like the defense could generate a stop. Marquise Williams threw for over 70% completion percentage and two scores. He also led the team in rushing. It was the offense that got the game to 28-27, so that the defense could seal it at 31-27.

Play of the Game

Safety Tim Scott intercepted San Diego State quarterback Quinn Kaehler in the end zone to effectively end the game. The Aztecs had driven the ball down to the 3 yard line of the Tar Heels before that play was made. Nothing was truly decided until that moment.

Were You There When…

In a game where cornerback Brian Walker had two interceptions and one went for a touchdown, the most memorable play for me was a 3rd and 2 from the Aztecs 5 yard line in the 4th quarter. With only two yards to go, and Elijah Hood in the game for power running, quarterback Marquise Williams optioned in to some kind of bubble screen to Bug Howard that was blown up for a loss. If the Tar Heels had gotten that first down, we would have been talking about an eight point game instead of a four point one going into that final series.

Sep 6, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA;North Carolina Tar Heels receiver Mack Hollins (13) catches a touchdown pass during the second half against the San Diego State Aztecs at Kenan Memorial Stadium. North Carolina won 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

I Want Him on My Team

Mack Hollins, WR

Who is Mack Hollins? The speedy special teams ace is evidently the new deep threat since only caught two balls, but had over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown. This was his second game with a score. Look for the Heels to keep finding reasons to put him on the field.

Final Thoughts

The Tar Heels cannot find ways to get behind early and then pull everything together late. Someone will not let them do that one of these days. My money would be on ECU in a couple weeks. The Tar Heels do get a bye week to sort out these issues. This game revealed that there are things the Tar Heels can do, but they choose not to. These would be things like running the football. Marquise looking for daylight does not count as a running game. It was a thrilling win, yes. It must get better.

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