The Tar Heels came into Saturday’s game looking to end their three game losing streak and build off of the momentum gained with a great effort against Clemson. A 38-22 win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets did just that and put the Tar Heels in a solid spot heading into their first bye week of the season. Let’s take a look at who and what is trending up or down as we head into the off week.
⇧ Sam Howell
The true freshman just continues to impress, this time with the best performance of his young career. Howell completed 33 of his 51 passes for 376 yards and rebounded after an early interception to throw four touchdowns. He worked through his progressions as well as he has all season and made some more phenomenal deep throws to move this team down the field quickly.
⇧ Chazz Surratt
As if he hasn't done enough for this Tar Heel team, Surratt put together another fantastic performance to lead this Tar Heel defense again on Saturday afternoon. His 12 total tackles and 7 solo tackles were both team leaders and he added another 0.5 a tackle for loss. Remember, last year at this time, Surratt was still a full-time quarterback.
⇧ Javonte Williams
After he was slowed down by a physical Clemson defense, Williams responded on Saturday against the Yellow Jackets. Williams carried the ball 20 times for 144 yards and a touchdown and continued to run through defenders like he has so often so far this season. His 7.2 yards per carry was the most since his 7.6 yards per carry against Miami.
⇧ Aaron Crawford
Crawford had an injury scare the previous week, but he looked as healthy as anyone could have hoped. He had three total tackles on Saturday, but registered 2.5 tackles for a loss and 1.0 sack. Crawford continues to be a driving force in the middle of that Tar Heel defense.
⇧ Dazz Newsome
Newsome had a quiet game against Clemson, but bounced back to lead the Tar Heels in receiving on Saturday. He was targeted 11 times and caught eight of those targets for 81 yards and a touchdown. Newsome did have a couple of drops that prevented this from being a perfect game, but Newsome continued a great start to his junior season.
⇧ Beau Corrales
Corrales was another receiver that was shut down by the Clemson secondary, but recovered with a nice performance on Saturday. Of his eight targets, Corrales hauled in five of them for 54 yards and caught a touchdown on the fade route in the endzone that we have been begging for since that South Carolina game. All of this production also came after an early injury that Corrales had to fight through.
⇧ Tomon Fox
In a homecoming game for Fox, he returned to his early season form with a strong outing on Saturday. Fox racked up five total tackles on the day, 1.5 of which were for a loss. He was also able to get his first sack since the Miami game and provided some much needed pressure for the Tar Heels defense throughout the day.
⇧ Jason Strowbridge
It had been a quiet two weeks for Strowbridge as he returned from an ankle injury and while he did not blow up the stat sheet, he still had a strong performance to end that on Saturday. Strowbridge finished with two total tackles and two quarterback pressure and earned first-team Pro Football Focus honors in the ACC for Week 6.
⇧ Brian Anderson
Another member of the Week 6 Pro Football Focus first-team for the ACC, Anderson had his best day of his young career on Saturday. As a whole, the offensive line unit had their best performance of the season, but Anderson had a standout performance, allowing just two pressure on 54 dropbacks for the Tar Heel offense. Anderson has received a lot of criticism so far this season, but is beginning to show those signs of improvement that we knew would come with experience.
⇧ Garrett Walston
With Carl Tucker out of the lineup, Walston slid into a starting role for the second time this season. Walston was targeted three times on Saturday and caught two passes for 29 yards including his first career touchdown.
⇩ Secondary Health
This position group has been hammered by injuries during the first half of the season and Saturday added another name to that list. Starting cornerback Trey Morrison left the game in the first half with what was classified as an upper extremity injury, the same injury that he suffered against South Carolina. That likely means he is in concussion protocol again, as he was after the season opener. That leaves just nine scholarship players available due to all of the attrition that the Tar Heels have seen in the secondary. This bye week is just what the doctor ordered for this unit as they try to get somewhat healthy for the second half of the season.
⇩ Greg Ross Jr.
Ross Jr. played a bulk of the snaps in place of Morrison following his injury and had his worst showing of the season. The speed of the Georgia Tech receivers really caused him issues and some missed throw by Georgia Tech quarterback James Graham prevented Ross’ coverage issues from being more of an issue than they already were on Saturday.
⇧ Bowl Chances
The 2-0 start put the Tar Heels in a great position to get back to bowl eligibility for the first time since the 2016 season, but the Tar Heels drop to 2-3 made Saturday a huge game. With the Tar Heels now sitting at 3-3, the team will have to win just three of their final six games against opponents with combined 19-13.