CHAPEL HILL– Something was eerily different about Carolina’s football contest in Blacksburg last Saturday. And it all had to do with the man starting behind center.

For the first time since 2010, Bryn Renner started a game from the sideline. The 27-17 loss at Virginia Tech snapped the 29-game streak of starts for the fifth-year senior quarterback.

And not surprisingly, Renner says he took it hard.

“It was one of the tough experiences of my career. Not to be out there with my teammates, it really hit me right before the game. I broke down and brought the team in and kind of wanted to talk to them. It was very difficult for me,” Renner says.

Despite the disappointment, Renner says he saw some positive takeaways from the offense and his replacement, Marquise Williams, against the Hokies.

“I think we ran the ball decently. I think Marquise did a great job in between the tackles. I think he was our leading rusher. So I think he did a good job running the ball. We made explosive plays,” Renner says.

Another spark of energy for the Tar Heels came in the form of running back T.J. Logan. He quelled all talks of red-shirting by providing some much needed rushing support for the maligned offense. And Renner says he does an excellent job of pounding for that extra yardage.

“I thought he looked great. He runs with his pads low. He gets tough yardage. I think he did a great job stepping in and getting three or four yards when it didn’t look like anything was there. He’s really fast, and we are looking forward to having him healthy and back for Miami,” Renner says.

Renner says despite the discouraging 1-4 start to the season, the team will be fighting to the finish in hopes of scratching and clawing their way to a bowl game at year’s end.

“It’s really going to be determined by what kind of season we want to have. We’ve talked about it as seniors. Five of the last seven games are at home. We have a chance to still get it to a bowl game. And that’s our goal,” Renner says.

More importantly, perhaps, are Renner and company’s aspirations to save some pride with a strong finish to the 2013 campaign.

“We aren’t going to be satisfied unless we finish the whole season with our good character and play for pride. That’s all we have right now,” Renner says.

For now, the Tar Heels will continue to grind it out on the practice fields in hopes of finding some answers before a nationally televised Thursday night home game Oct. 17 against the resurgent Miami Hurricanes.