Sunday, October 5, 2008

UNC notes: Big-play Austin no speedster

After watching 300-pound Marvin Austin’s interception return for a touchdown Saturday night, coach Butch Davis told the defensive lineman that they were going to “start timing guys with hour glasses.”

“That was the longest 7-yard run I’ve ever seen in my life,’’ Davis said, laughing.

Actually, it was 23 yards, but you get the point.

Austin said that when he saw E.J. Wilson pressuring UConn quarterback Zach Frazer, and the ball coming toward him, “I’d been dreaming about that for years — scooping it up, taking it in.

“But it came, I bent down, I caught it. I almost fell twice, actually, but I just got to the end zone. But it was all E.J.'s fault, he just got in there and got that pressure. We just go out and play hard, like they tell us, and things will come to you.It marked one of three Tar Heel interceptions during their 38-12 win over the No. 24 Huskies. They now have 12 picks for the season – one more than all of last year.

NO QB SHUFFLE: Junior quarterback Cameron Sexton made his first start since 2006, and redshirt freshman Mike Paulus — who Davis said would play — never made it into the game. Sexton, who led the Tar Heels to a fourth-quarter comeback last week, finished 9-for-16 with one interception and one touchdown.

“I thought Camer on did an outstanding job of just managing the game,’’ Davis said. “There were lot of emotional ups and downs. It was kind of hard offensively to get into a rhythm, because you would score a in a couple of plays of the defensie would get an interception or block a punt, and it was kind of a bizarre game. I thought he managed the game well.”

RUNNING AWAY WITH IT: Sophomore Shaun Draughn became the first tailback this year to rush for over 100 yards in a game (wide receiver Brandon Tate also went over 100 earlier this season).

Draughn carried 19 times for 109 yards. Starter Greg Little had three carries for six yards.

“I guess I got the ball more than I usually get,’’ Draughn said. “The O-line is getting better, getting smarter in the things we do. It’s nothing different that what we’ve been doing from Week One, we’re just getting better at it.”

DARK DELAY: The game was delayed 22 minutes in the third quarter after two banks of lights went out. But Davis said the team handled the halt much better than during the season opener, when its game against McNeese State was delayed for more than an hour.

“We kind of circled everybody up and we said, ‘Look, sometimes you get tested in life … and if you don’t handle it very good, you’re going to get it again,’’’ Davis said. “The first time, we didn’t handle it very well, so we got it again. So I told everybody, ‘Don’t look at the stands, don’t look at the video Jumbotron, don’t be looking at the cheerleaders and the band. We’ve got to stay focused and come out of this break – whether it’s five minutes or 20 minutes – we’ve got to come out and start fast.”

And they did.

-Robbi Pickeral, The (Raleigh) News & Observer


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