Saturday, September 1, 2012

UNC 62, Elon 0: Reviewing the first win of the Larry Fedora era

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina cruised to a 62-0 victory in coach Larry Fedora’s first game. Here’s a breakdown of the Tar Heels’ victory.

Three things to take away from UNC 62, Elon 0:

1. The Heels get it. They get it on offense. They get it on defense. At least the base concepts of both, that is. UNC kept it pretty simple on Saturday but the results were extremely impressive, nonetheless. The sloppiness that we’ve seen out of some teams early in the college football season wasn’t evident at Kenan Stadium on Saturday – at least not when it came to what UNC did. The Heels committed just three penalties and looked like they knew what they were doing.

2. The offense is fast, indeed. UNC ran 74 plays on Saturday – 12 more than it averaged last season – and coordinator Blake Anderson still described the tempo as slow. The Heels were on pace to run more than 80 plays before Fedora called off the dogs late in the third quarter. Yes, it was against Elon, an overmatched FCS opponent. But still.

3. UNC might have been better defensively than offensively. And that’s saying something, given how sharp the Heels were on offense. But the UNC defense registered its first shutout since 1999 and Elon got into UNC territory just twice. Phoenix receiver Aaron Mellette, an FCS All-American, had just two catches for 9 yards. He averaged 149 receiving yards per game last season.


UNC led 17-0 early in the second quarter and already was well on its way. That’s when Giovani Bernard returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown. It put the Heels ahead 24-0 and the rout was on.


1. Bernard. The sophomore running back finished with 203 yards rushing and scored in three ways – running, receiving and on the punt return. He left before halftime with an injury and didn’t return but Fedora didn’t sound concerned about his status going forward.

2. Bryn Renner. The UNC quarterback completed 14 of his 21 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns. He showed a command of the offense and limited his mistakes, outside of a first-half interception.

3. Sylvester Williams. The senior defensive tackle finished with two sacks and tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage that led to a key turnover after Elon had driven to the UNC 15-yard line.


UNC’s secondary struggled at times a season ago against prolific passing offenses and gifted receivers, and Mellette gave Elon its best chance to be competitive. The Heels, though, completely owned the matchup and never allowed Mellette any room to operate. Mellette, a senior who was named to every preseason FCS All-American team there is, finished with two catches for 9 yards – his least productive game since his freshman year.


--UNC set an ACC record with 260 punt return yards. The previous ACC record was 227 yards, set by Clemson in 1987. UNC’s  previous record of 225 punt return yards had stood since 1937.

--The 62 points were the most points, by far, that UNC has ever scored in the first game under a new coach.

--The 62 points were also the 11th-highest point total in school history, and three short of tying the school record.


UNC plays at Wake Forest next week in a game that starts at 3 p.m. It will be the Heels’ first game at Wake since 2007.


Anonymous said...


THE University of NC said...

MooU sure puts out a lot of easily offended puppies.

Anonymous said...

In the old days we it was known as Cow College.