“I was excited on the way here,” he said, grinning ear to ear. “I was more pumped today, and I don’t think I had that edge last Thursday. I didn’t have that edge like I usually have of going out, having fun and competing.”
Williams’ focus Saturday was on protecting the ball, and he did exactly that with zero turnovers.
“Just focusing on not turning the football over, that’s been the motto for us since I’ve been here,” he said. “It felt good to not turn the ball over tonight.”
Williams said he woke up on Saturday morning and was immediately excited to get back on the football field. In a lighthearted moment with the media, he shared that singing along to country music all day kept him hyped for the game.
By halftime the Tar Heels (1-1) were already up 36-0 on the Aggies (1-1). UNC’s defense was swarming and the offense was proficient, scoring touchdowns on each of its first three drives.
Coach Larry Fedora was glad to get a win in front of the home crowd and reiterated the emphasis on protecting the football each game.
“We cleaned up some things from the first game, mistakes that were made as far as turning the football over,” he said. “It’s good to get a win and to kind of set the tone for the way we want to play here throughout the season.”
Maybe it was the encouragement from Manning. Maybe it was a different, more positive outlook on the day when Williams woke up. Maybe Williams needs to sing along to country music on game days more often. Or maybe North Carolina A&T was just the right opponent at the right time to help Williams and the Tar Heels get back on track.
Regardless, the team won’t focus on the season-opening loss any more than they will this week’s win. Each week provides a new challenge and room for improvement, for Williams as a quarterback and for North Carolina as a football team.
“You just have to forget about it and move on, and I think that’s what he did,” said tight end Brandon Fritts. “We were really able to get the offense flowing, and I think that really helped in all phases of the game.”
“(Williams) led us this week and did a great job out here tonight.”