***Listen to the story***
The opportunistic nature of the defense, which recovered four fumbles and snagged two interceptions, certainly was key in UNC’s effort in week one.
“The defense started creating all those turnovers. We have spent a lot of time emphasizing that all spring ball and all fall camp. Those guys have picked up on it. I think we created more fumbles this game than we did all last season. I’m proud of that fact,” Coach Fedora says.
But it didn’t take long for the Tar Heels to strike on offense. With 11:25 left in the opening quarter of play, Marquise Williams hooked up with Bug Howard.
***Listen to the play***
That was Jones Angell of the Tar Heel Sports Network with the call.
But after the promising start, it looked like the Tar Heels were in trouble against the heavy underdog Liberty Flames with sloppy mistakes and turnovers, but an electrifying third quarter put an emphatic end to the upset bid.
Coach Fedora says the team came out of the locker room with a renewed energy level.
“I think they were upset with where we were in the first half. There wasn’t a whole lot of talking from the coaches. The energy from the team at halftime and in the third quarter was created just from the energy they brought. They had as much energy in the third quarter as they did in the first quarter. I was proud of them,” Coach Fedora says.
The defensive effort was spearheaded by the veteran leadership of linebacker Jeff Schoettmer. With 5:42 left in the third quarter, Schoettmer made some history.
***Listen to the play***
The interception and touchdown were both firsts in the collegiate career of Schoettmer. The incredible play put the Tar Heels up 35-22.
From there, Williams and Trubisky alternated with scores of their own. Williams scampered into the end zone from 18 yards out and Trubisky found senior tight end Jack Tabb for six points.
The pair both saw significant minutes. Williams says the Tar Heel offense is just scratching the surface of its potential.
“Everybody got their feet wet today. It’s a new start and a new year. Different bodies are at different positions. It’s going to be sloppy sometimes, but once guys get going, it’s going to be an ugly sight for people,” Williams says.
Trubisky says the defense’s spike in play really inspired the offense to respond.
“They had our backs. They picked us up. We were able to get the stops and get the ball back. The defensive touchdown was a huge momentum shift for us. When we got the ball on their side of the field, we had that much more confidence to go down and punch it in. We just need to keep our tempo up on offense and stay confident in ourselves,” Trubisky says.
Despite the rather comfortable victory, Coach Fedora says there’s plenty to work on for his quarterbacks. He wasn’t happy with the three combined interceptions and says both Williams and Trubisky need to get sharper in a hurry.
“We had too many interceptions. We had some wasted opportunities with some picks that shouldn’t happen. Those things can’t happen if we’re going to be a good football team,” Coach Fedora says.
Next up for the Tar Heels is another game under the lights in Chapel Hill. This time, the San Diego State Aztecs come to town for an 8 p.m. kickoff Sept. 6.