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Heel Tough Blog: Week 11 Stock Report


The Tar Heels survived one of the wildest games in the history of their rivalry series with Duke on Saturday night with a 47-45 victory in double overtime. The hope is that this win will propel the team like the double overtime victory over Appalachian State did earlier in the year as they head to Clemson for what might be their toughest test of the season. Here is a look at who is trending up and trending down heading into that matchup.


Bob Donnan- USA Today Sports

Drake Maye

Maye had a head-scratching interception early, but outside of that one error, he was simply phenomenal. He threw for 342 yards and a touchdown and also found the endzone twice on the ground in what will likely be his final time in Kenan Stadium. He put the team on his back on the final two drives of regulation, making big throw after big throw to get the team to overtime. He made countless instinctual plays throughout the night when things broke down, including on the two-point conversion that turned out to be the difference in the game. Maye wouldn’t confirm this was his final game in Kenan earlier in the week, but this performance shows why many believe it will be.

Noah Burnette

A year ago at this time, things were beginning to fall apart for Burnette and now, just a year later, he is coming off one of the best performances from a Tar Heel kicker in program history. His six made field goals tied for the most in a single game with Josh McGee, who accomplished the same feat back in 1999 against Duke. Each kick was important, but none so more than the 43-yarder at the end of regulation that was nearly blocked. Burnette has proved so far this year that he was deserving of a second chance.

Omarion Hampton

Hampton continued his fantastic sophomore season on Saturday night with another tremendous performance. He hit the 200 scrimmage yard mark for the third time this season, rushing for 169 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries and catching eight passes for 47 yards. Hampton is already ninth in program history in single-season rushing yards and this performance only bolsters his case to be a finalist for the Doak Walker Award.

Tez Walker

Walker absolutely dominated on the outside the other night against this highly regarded Duke secondary. The junior, who may have also been playing his final game in Kenan Stadium on Saturday, caught seven of his 12 targets for 162 yards, including three of 40 or more yards. Walker’s explosiveness has been on display the entire season, but it’s hard to argue he has been more impactful than he was the other night in a game where the team needed him to be to help move the offense down the field because of how well Duke’s corners were covering.

Bryson Nesbit

Nesbit remained hot on Saturday night with another productive outing. He didn’t have as big of a night as Walker, but he certainly had the best catch of the night on the touchdown that gave the Tar Heels a 33-29 lead. This is Nesbit’s fourth straight game with 65 yards receiving and the third time in that span that he has caught a touchdown, showing just how reliable a target he has become for Maye with the wide receiving corps struggling to find consistency outside of Walker.

Myles Murphy

There weren’t many guys worth pointing out on this defense on Saturday night, but Murphy needs to be. This might have been the best performance of his career, as he finished with three total tackles, two for a loss, one sack and two quarterback pressures. Murphy had been pretty quiet since a couple of good games back-to-back against Syracuse and Miami in the middle of the season and the hope is that this can spark him for the next two weeks.

Kaimon Rucker

The other player who shined on Saturday on the defensive side of the ball was a man who has been shining all year. Rucker had five total tackles, 0.5 a tackle for loss, 0.5 a sack and six quarterback pressures and continues to sit near the top of the country in that final category. He now has seven games with five or more pressures so far this year and is one of the only steady elements of this struggling defense right now.


Bob Donnan- USA Today Sports

Gene Chizik

Chizik’s stock has taken some major blows in the last month, but Saturday’s may have been the most significant one yet. After a very solid first three quarters where they allowed just 143 yards and 14 points, the Tar Heel defense was absolutely gashed for 209 yards and 22 points in the 4th quarter alone by an offense led by a third-string quarterback. He is also taking a lot of heat for the decision to blitz seven on the 4th & 7 play that resulted in a 30-yard touchdown that gave Duke the lead with :41 remaining. This is now the second time in three weeks that the defense has completely fallen apart in the final quarter and if this continues to happen, there is no way he can be back for a third season.

Red Zone Offense

The biggest reason that the Tar Heels weren’t able to put the Blue Devils away in this game wasn’t the defense. That falls on the shoulders of the offense’s inability to convert in the red zone, especially early in the game. The team converted just four of their nine red zone trips into touchdowns, leaving at least 20 points on the field. The team found the endzone when it mattered on Saturday night, but trouble scoring inside the 20s is not what this team needs right now with how much the defense is struggling.

Marcus Allen

The corner room didn’t have their greatest night across the board, but Allen was picked on the most. He allowed four of his seven targets to be caught for 73 yards, including the 30-yard touchdown pass on 4th & 7 that gave Duke the lead 36-33 inside a minute in regulation. This is back-to-back rough games for him against ACC opponents after a strong start to the season for Allen. Hopefully he can return to that early-season form for the final two games of the year.

Nate McCollum

McCollum returned after missing the game against Campbell and continued his rough stretch since the Syracuse game. He caught just two of his four targets for just nine yards and had a crucial drop in the endzone that could have ended the game in the first overtime. McCollum just doesn’t look like the receiver that we saw early in the season and at this point, you have to start splitting the reps between him and Doc Chapman

Special Teams Sans Burnette

Burnette was spectacular, but the rest of the special teams unit was not. The unit had a fake punt and an onside kick recovered on them and allowing another kick return of 30 yards or more. Even kick returner Doc Chapman had a moment when he dropped a fair catch on a kickoff at his own 1-yard line and forced the offense to start from there leading to a turnover. This special teams unit is hurting this team as much or more than this defense and they need to find a way not to cost this team in the final two games of the year.

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