It was another down to the wire game on Saturday for Carolina, and for back to back weeks this young team found a way to win a game in the 4th quarter. 2 weeks into the 2019 season, this young team has already matched last years win total, and are finishing games, something that plagued them the last 2 seasons under Larry Fedora. While this weeks performance in the trenches wasn't as impressive as it was against South Carolina, both units did enough to help the Tar Heels prevail. Here's your trench report for Miami:
The Carolina offensive line was dominant in week 1, but had a much tougher time against the Hurricanes. In part was due to center Nick Polino leaving in the first half with an injury, that'll have him on the sidelines for the immediate future. Brian Anderson stepped in, and kept the offensive afloat. Mack Brown has discussed at length trying to develop depth in the season, this injury will test that commitment. Against South Carolina, the line was able to create many holes for the talented trio of running backs to hit. Those holes were hard to find, as Carolina only rushed for 97 yards, on 36 carries. You have to give Miami some credit, the Hurricanes have as talented front 7 as any opponent Carolina will face all season long. In pass protection, the Heels held their own, and gave young Sam Howell to go through his progressions, and make the correct read. A positive was the unit wasn't flagged for a penalty, eliminating the mistakes from the South Carolina game. Overall this performance wasn't as good as it could be, but they still did enough to find a way to get the job done. This weeks opponent Wake Forest, won't pose as tough a match up.
Their performance rivals that of the offensive line, as in they weren't as good as they were in week 1, but did enough to help the team win. Now some of that had to do with the game plan for Miami, which focused on a quick, short passing game, to allow their young quarterback to settle into a rhythm. The bigger issue was after the first quarter, Miami's offensive line was able to push around the Tar Heel front. That allowed them to rush for 179 yard, on 37 attempts. With all that in mind, Aaron Crawford was sensational, totaling 7 tackles, and 1 sack. Jason Strowbridge might've had the play of the game with a blocked extra point. Tomon Fox seemed more comfortable, recording 3 sacks Saturday night. This unit is going to have it's fair share of growing pains, as they adjust to a new scheme under Jay Bateman. My biggest takeaway was in the 4th quarter, the Heels defensive line seemed more fresh than the Miami offensive line. This allowed for the defense to get the crucial stops, that helped Carolina improve to 2-0.