For the first time since 2016, the North Carolina Tar Heels will be playing football in the month of December. The Tar Heels won their regular season finale against the NC State Wolfpack 41-10 in Raleigh on Saturday night to complete what was a great start to the rebuild the program was tasked with after Larry Fedora’s departure. As we head towards the Tar Heels first bowl appearance in three years, let’s see who is trending in what direction in this week’s stock report.
⇧ Sam Howell
You don’t think it can get any better for Howell, but each week it does. This week, Howell set a new career high for passing yards with 401 on 23 completions. His three passing touchdowns added to his season total, which now sits at 35, a number that places him fourth on the all-time ACC list for touchdowns in a season. The best part: his storied freshman season isn’t over just yet..
⇧ Javonte Williams
Injuries had slowed down Williams since the Virginia game, but he came up huge for the Tar Heels on Saturday. He simply took over the third quarter, scoring the first three of the team’s four touchdowns in the quarter. 72 of Williams 100 yards of total offense came in that third quarter, including 51 of 58 rushing yards. Williams was the main solution to the Tar Heels’ red zone issues from the first half and is one of the main reasons that the team was able to turn things around after a sluggish start.
⇧ Myles Dorn
Dorn put together a great performance in what could have been the final game of his career. Although he wasn’t as present in the run defense as he has been at times, he had one of the best days of his career in pass coverage. Dorn allowed just seven yards and an 18.8 passer rating in his coverage area, according to PFF, and would finish will a pass deflection, as well as an important interception.
⇧ Dyami Brown
One of the breakout stars of this 2019 season, Brown closed down the regular season with another phenomenal performance. Brown led all Tar Heel receivers with 150 yards on six catches and found the end zone with a 52-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter. Brown’s eleven receiving touchdowns are tied for second-most in the ACC this season and are just one away from tying Hakeem Nicks and Dwight Jones for the single season school record. This was also the seventh game this season that Brown has averaged 20.0 or more yards per reception, all but one of which saw him catch three or more passes.
⇧ Dazz Newsome
The Tar Heels leading receiver entering the game also had a big night against the Wolfpack on Saturday. Newsome led the team with seven catches that went for 130 yards and a touchdown in his return from a one game suspension. In his last two games played, Newsome has caught 18 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns. Newsome also finishes the regular season having reached the 100-yard receiving mark in four of the last five games he’s been active for.
⇧ Don Chapman
Chapman should be looked at as a hero when looking back on this game. His interception in the third quarter set up the Tar Heels first touchdown of the night and turned the momentum in a game that had been controlled by NC State to that point. Chapman added four total tackles and a pass deflection in what was another really solid night for the true freshman who was starting just his third game of the season.
⇧ Aaron Crawford
In his final game against NC State, Crawford showed out with another fantastic performance. Despite being double teamed most of the night, Crawford will still able to tally three total tackles and have another nice night in run defense, as he and the Tar Heels held the Wolfpack to just 49 rushing yards after the opening two drives. Crawford finishes the regular season with the highest PFF run grade of any interior defensive lineman in the nation with a 91.6. This is a guy that Tar Heels will miss dearly next season.
⇧ Michael Carter
Javonte Williams wasn’t the only running back that closed the regular season in a big way. Carter led the Tar Heels in rushing again on Saturday night, running for 97 yards on 16 carries and inching closer to the 1,000 yard mark for the season. With the injuries that Williams has suffered late in the season, Carter has been receiving extended carries and has continued to thrive, leading the team in rushing in each of the final two games of the regular season.
⇧ Jay Bateman
With all of the injury issues that Bateman has seen tear apart his defense, he could have easily given up, but he never did. Saturday night, that all paid off as the Tar Heel defense pieced together one of their strongest performances in years, holding the Wolfpack to just 289 yards of total offense and turning them over four times. The defensive turnaround has had some bumps in the road, but this defense has gone from an extremely liability when Bateman took over to a unit that helped this team win games against teams like South Carolina and Duke prior to Saturday. Jay Bateman deserves a ton of credit for making the adjustments to the pieces that he had available from week to week and always finding a way to put a unit out each week that would battle to the end. The key for the athletic department is to keep him around.
⇧ Mack Brown
When Brown was hired last November, he knew he had his work cut out for him. He listed all of the goals that he had for this program in his introductory press conference and made it clear what the ultimate goal was for this program. In his first season, he has accomplished everything he wanted to and maybe even more. Saturday, the Tar Heels completed the season sweep of their rivals, their first wins against each of those two since 2015. That was part of a 6-6 season that has the team in a bowl game for the first time in three years, something that is seen as an over achievement by most of the major national predictions. The Tar Heels all-time winningest coach is off to a very good start to his second tenure in Chapel Hill.