Updated: Sep 23, 2019
That feeling of winning was a great one for this Tar Heel football team, but now it is time to see what this 2019 team is really made of. The Tar Heels will be looking to rebound after their 24-18 loss to Wake Forest on Friday night. Before we turn the attention to Appalachian State, let’s take a look at what trending up and what trending down for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
⇧ Dyami Brown
The Tar Heels leading receiver has already improved his production from last year after another fantastic night receiving. Brown caught just three of his seven targets, but turned those three receptions into 84 yards and a touchdown. Brown currently has 11 catches for 233 yards and three touchdowns, the latter two of which surpass the numbers he put up last year in eight games. Brown also has a three game touchdown streak going to begin the 2019 season.
⇧ Michael Carter
As Javonte Williams was returning to Earth after his great start to 2019, Carter was able to pick up the slack and have himself a strong night. Carter would lead the Tar Heels on the ground with 96 yards on 13 carries and would score the Tar Heels first touchdown of the evening on Friday night. With his big performance, the Tar Heels currently have two running backs with over 200 yards through the first three games.
⇧ Dazz Newsome
Brown wasn’t the only receiver to have a big night on Friday. Newsome led the Tar Heels in receptions and targets, as he caught seven of his eleven targets for 62 yards. Newsome and Brown have combined to be on the receiving end of 415 of the Tar Heels 701 passing yards this season and should both continue to dominate the Tar Heels stat sheets going forward.
⇧ Greg Ross Jr.
The pressure was on Ross to step up and he did just that on Friday night. With Trey Morrison having his struggles containing Sage Surratt, the Tar Heels moved Ross on to him in the second half. With Ross handling a bulk of the coverage in the second half, the Tar Heels held Surratt to just three catches for 17 yards. Ross was also part of the reason why Scotty Washington finished with just two catches on seven targets.
⇧ Ben Kiernan
After some major struggles against Miami, Kiernan bounced back with a great night punting the football in Friday’s game. Kiernan averaged 46.0 yards per punt, punted three over 50 yards and downed two inside the 20 on his ten punts on Friday night. Following the Miami game, fans were beginning to waver on Kiernan, but there should be no question now that Kiernan is the Tar Heel punter going forward.
⇩ Javonte Williams
Williams got off to a phenomenal start to his 2019 in the first two weeks, but had a tough night against Wake Forest. Williams carried the ball just nine times on Friday and accounted for only 27 yards and lost a key fumble. Williams was off to one of the best starts in years for a running back, but struggled on Friday night.
⇩ Trey Morrison
Morrison may have led the Tar Heels in tackles on Friday night, but he had a tough night when matched up with Sage Surratt. Morrison was the primary coverage man for most of the first half on Surratt and was picked on by quarterback Jamie Newman as Surratt set the record for first half receiving yards for a Wake Forest wide receiver.
The biggest concern to take away from Friday night wasn’t the struggle of one particular player or unit, but rather the overall health of the entire team. Five starters missed the game and starting right tackle Jordan Tucker suffered an injury that has him listed as questionable. The good news is, the injuries don’t extend too far into the depth, but the amount of talent that the Tar Heels are already seeing going down is definitely concerning.
⇨ Direction of the Program
Many expected this to be a win when the schedule first came out, but this Wake Forest team is a lot better than they are given credit for. The loss may actually help the Tar Heels in the long run, as being 4-0 heading into what likely would have been a primetime game against Clemson would have been a ridiculously tough ask for the Tar Heels. This loss means the Tar Heels will be forced to regroup, which will be a good gauge of where the program is right now.