North Carolina 48, Illinois 14
It’s about time Ryan Switzer got some recognition. The sneaky athletic gym rat is a threat to score on every single touch, but has comically spent his entire career for the Tar Heels under the radar. While the media continues to sleep on Switzer, and his entire team for that matter, the gutsy return man/slot receiver etched his name in the UNC record books on Saturday with 168 return yards in a single game. The previous record was set in 1951 by Bud Carson who totaled 166 yards in punt returns against NC State, a program notorious for refusing to kick away from dangerous return men. Switzer, as humble as he is gritty, said of the record, “1951? That’s a long time. I wish I did know (Carson). I’ll have to do my homework a little bit.”
Switzer wasn’t the only record-setter against the Illini on Saturday. Wide receiver Quinshad Davis scored his 22nd career touchdown, surpassing UNC legend Hakeem Nicks who had 9 career touchdowns for the Heels.
Northwestern 19, Duke 10
Duke’s defense played well enough to win, but that’s not good enough in these parts as college football fans in North Carolina never settle for “we should have won” as an accomplishment. In a major reversal from seasons past, Duke’s special teams let them down as Northwestern returned the 2nd half kickoff for a touchdown and punt returner Ryan Smith fumbled away a critical 4th quarter fair catch to ultimately sink the Devils.
After looking the part for the first two games of his career, quarterback Thomas Sirk looked hesitant and checked down more often than the guy at your poker table who defends DraftKings as a game of skill against Texas Hold ‘Em as a game of chance. Duke’s not good enough to beat a ranked team while losing two of the three phases of football, so what do they need to do to turn things around against an angry Georgia Tech team coming to Durham next Saturday?
Hmm, if only there was a guy on campus who had a history of sparking the offense when the defense is playing well enough to keep the game within reach. Like Duke’s own version of Ryan Switzer.
NC State 38, Old Dominion 14
Nobody watched this game. NC State did move up in the ACC Power Rankings though.
Navy 45, East Carolina 21
Call us when there’s a Talk Like a Midshipman Day, Navy.
This week’s Michael Campanaro Award: North Carolina College Football Player of the Week
Wake Forest punter Alex Kinal takes this week’s honor for his game-winning hold against Army on Saturday. While Kinal’s punting puts him in the Heisman conversation, his versatility as a holder has to put him over the top as the early season favorite.
This week’s Cam Newton Award: North Carolina’s Pro Football Player of the Week
For the 35th consecutive week, Cam Newton is the winner of this week’s Cam Newton Award.
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) September 20, 2015