There's a reason football games don't end after two quarters. The North Carolina football team's expectations have changed, such that it's now reasonable to ask head coach Mack Brown about a dismal second quarter in a 31-6 blowout win.
"People are questioning quarters now, I remember that happening when we got really good before," Brown said at his press conference on Tuesday. "'What happened at the second quarter, man?' Well they don't count quarters, they count games."
There's plenty of things the Tar Heels could improve on before their game on Saturday against UNC-Charlotte: catching punts cleanly, cutting down on the penalties, finding better success on deep throws. But at the end of the day, UNC defeated a conference opponent by a margin of 25 and opened its season with wins over a Power 5 two years in a row for the first time since 1996 and 1997.
Brown contended the "disastrous" second quarter wasn't even that bad. UNC only had the ball on offense twice due to a fumbled punt return by Dazz Newsome, and the Tar Heels limited the Orange to just three points. For the rest of the game, Howell threw two interceptions, one a poor throw deep and one a tipped pass that was recovered by the Syracuse defense.
There's plenty to be optimistic about for UNC heading into its next game. The Tar Heels established the run, outrushing Syracuse 160 to 68, and involved star backs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams in the passing game.