Photo courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications
PITTSBURGH– What a win for Carolina. This time, the Tar Heels survived a furious rally by Pittsburgh on the road to get back to a .500 record and continue what is shaping up to be a November to remember for Carolina football.
With the game locked at 27 points apiece in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, freshman Ryan Switzer summoned some more magic.
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The youth movement is an extraordinary phenomenon for the Tar Heels. Of Carolina’s 36 touchdowns this season, 28 have been scored by freshmen or sophomores. And on Saturday, all four of the red zone entrances were earned by underclassmen.
Head Coach Larry Fedora says the game of football never stops amazing him. He says the Tar Heels are just thrilled to escape Pittsburgh with a victory.
“The game of football never ceases to amaze me. And the things and the problems you create for yourselves. It was an amazing game. It really was. We’re fortunate to get out of here with a win on the road. They’re always tough on the road in the conference. We’re happy to get out of here with a win,” Coach Fedora says.
Coach Fedora says the defensive pressure on Pitt quarterback Tom Savage was what really made the difference in the game.
“We were getting great pressure on him. Towards the end of the game, we started not getting that pressure. They started completing some passes and moving the ball. We couldn’t get back to getting in that rhythm. I thought our defensive front, and the guys that were coming did a great job of getting home,” Coach Fedora says.
Senior defensive end Kareem Martin created the most havoc on the Pitt offense Saturday. In all, Martin recorded eight tackles, 3.5 sacks, and forced two fumbles.
Martin says despite his gaudy numbers, it was an overall team effort that did the job for the defense against Pitt.
“As a defense, we were able to get a lot of pressure on the quarterback. We probably had five or six sacks in that first half alone. You credit that to Coach Seth calling the right plays, us up front getting the pressure, and of course the DB’s in the back just holding their receivers long enough for us to get back there. It was a team effort fully,” Martin says.
Next up for the surging Tar Heels is an encounter with 8-3 Old Dominion. A home victory over the Monarchs would ensure a bowl game for Carolina