Tailback A.J. Blue and wide receiver Jheranie Boyd had been practicing this play all season.
Blue, a former quarterback, takes the handoff from Bryn Renner, fakes the run, then steps back and heaves a pass downfield to the speedy Boyd. Boyd, having smoked the secondary, hauls in the pass and decelerates as he crosses the goal line.
So when offensive coordinator John Shoop called that play with less than a minute remaining in the first half against Virginia on Saturday, Blue and Boyd executed it nearly to perfection. But instead of Boyd scoring his second touchdown of the game, he slowed down after beating the safety so badly and couldn’t catch up to the throw.
“We always talk about it and I tell him to run. He’s the fastest guy in college football I think. I tell him don’t stop, just run as fast as you can,” Blue said. “After the play was over he told me he slowed down a bit and I guess that’s why it didn’t work.”
The trick play was one of two passes thrown by someone not listed as QB for UNC and was among several plays that not only opened up the playbook, but also got more of the Tar Heels’ offensive weapons involved.