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The Daily Tar Heel

Little Things Help UNC's Offense

In Saturday's game against then-No. 6 Florida State, North Carolina's tailbacks were only able to pick up 69 rushing yards in 41 carries, but no one really cared. The North Carolina 41, Florida State 9 seemed to overshadow it all.

There were other little things that UNC's offense did that it hadn't done before. Kept the quarterback safe. Gave him time. Created holes for the tailbacks. Held onto the ball. Didn't make stupid mental errors.

Although UNC didn't move the ball particularly well, they did it well enough to complement the passing game. In the first half, four players combined for 41 yards, including true freshman Jacque Lewis' 27-yard carry in just his second career series.

"It was shocking," Lewis said. "I mean I couldn't believe that I got a big run."

While UNC's rush yardage went down in the second half, tailback Andre Williams still was able to break open for an 11-yard touchdown run.

"I think the offensive line and the offense just came together and were like, `We're going to push the ball in as a team,'" Williams said.

Ronald Curry scored the Tar Heels' last touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run up the middle.

Before Saturday's game, UNC first-year coach John Bunting preached about the importance of cutting down on turnovers. Going into Saturday's game, North Carolina ranked 112th in the country in turnover margin, having turned the ball over 11 times this season.

"It's always a point of emphasis," Bunting said. "The most important guys are the running backs. I had talked to Andre, and to Jacque and to our quarterbacks, because they're the ones with their hands on the ball every single play.

"They're the ones who are most responsible -- they carry the weight of the team on their shoulder when they touch the ball."

North Carolina did not fumble the ball at all, but had two inconsequential interceptions of Darian Durant. Bunting said for the Tar Heels to be successful, they must play turnover-free football.

"There's a future this season," Bunting said. "Not just next season. There's a future this season."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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