It’s a good number, said sophomore running back Elijah Hood, who, in the mix of the tangled emotions spewed by the team and fans on senior day, contributed to North Carolina’s 59-21 win over Miami quietly and strongly, just like he always does.
“Elijah’s a quiet guy, but he always seems to get the job done,” junior receiver Ryan Switzer said. “He runs harder than anyone I’ve ever been around.”
“He’s explosive, powerful. He’s intense. He loves running the football,” Williams said. “To have two Charlotte guys in the backfield doing some successful things is the best feeling for me.”
That 34-yard run, Hood’s longest of the game, contributed to his — and the Tar Heels’ — immense offensive production on the ground. UNC finished with a season-high 298 rushing yards. Averaging 7.8 yards per rush to UNC’s team average of 6.5, Hood ran for his second-most yards this season with 132.
“We really wanted to send (the seniors) out the right way, 7-and-0, at home,” he said. “What else could you do? I mean, we made history, it was awesome.”
Hood led the team in rushing and added a touchdown, maintaining his team high of 12 on the ground. Williams added 101 rushing yards of his own and played a part in four of UNC’s touchdowns.
“This team offensively feels like they can do either one (run or pass),” Coach Larry Fedora said. “We understand that a defense can take one away from you, they can load up for the run or load up for the pass, and we feel like we’re good enough to beat you with the other.”
With nine straight wins, UNC is riding its longest winning streak since 1914. And for the first time since 1980 — the most recent time the Tar Heels won the ACC Championship — the team is 7-0 at home.
UNC controls the Coastal Division, needing to win just one of its next two games against Virginia Tech and N.C. State, both on the road, or a Pittsburgh loss to clinch a spot in the ACC Championship game.
With a statement win against Miami, preceded by a dominating performance against Duke, there was a kind of giddiness and electricity in the air, mixed with the constant reiteration from the players about their focus and their belief in the team.
“We played our most complete game of football in all three phases of the game this year,” Hood said. “And I just think that was for the seniors.”
For the seniors. Hood took advantage of Miami’s off-the-ball coverage, took advantage of the deep safeties and “ran it down their throats a little bit.”
And in his quiet, productive way, he sent the seniors off from Kenan Stadium in the best fashion the Tar Heels have closed out home games in years.
Seven-and-0. For the seniors.