Mike Ehrlich SportSaturday Editor
Everything about Ryan Houston is meant to intimidate. His size at 6 feet 2 inches 245 pounds is imposing. His powerful bulldozing running style is threatening. And yes even his 26 tattoos are meant to bully.
COLLEGE PARK" Md. — Cameron Sexton will have a lot to remember from his time stepping in as the starting quarterback for the 2008 North Carolina football team. But Saturday's stinker against Maryland is one he'd much rather forget. ""It was easily the worst football game I've played this year"" Sexton said. This'll go down as one of my worst.""
For nearly three full quarters Saturday an old-fashioned one-possession game sat at a stalemate with one big break on either side threatening to tip the balance of power in the ACC Coastal division. No. 19 North Carolina got that break late in the third quarter when Georgia Tech punt returner Roddy Jones muffed the catch turning the ball over to UNC.
A typical defensive strategy for a football team is to swarm to the ball bringing as many players as possible to gang-tackle a rusher and keep him from getting into the open field. North Carolina will not be doing much of that today. Instead the Tar Heels will approach today's game with a novel idea: just tackle everyone wearing a Georgia Tech jersey.
On Virginia Tech's first play from scrimmage in last week's game against Boston College the ball was snapped and handed off to running back Darren Evans. And that was about all the Hokies had time to do before Evans was swallowed up and dropped in the backfield by BC linebacker Mark Herzlich.
A little after 3:30 p.m. Saturday a guy named Tate will jog out toward the end zone and wait for the opening kickoff. If it's sent his way he has the instincts and explosiveness to wind up in the other end zone before the play is over.
Before the start of training camp Shaun Draughn had something to prove. He was a sophomore safety buried on the depth chart and it looked like he was headed for another year of thankless special teams play. Until he marched into head coach Butch Davis' office — high school highlight reel in hand — and asked to play running back.
Donald Brown torched Louisville last week for 124 rushing yards and a touchdown marking the fifth time in as many games he eclipsed the 100-yard mark. And those are just his stats in the first halves of football games. Add in the numbers from after intermission and you've got the nation's leading rusher.
Redshirt freshman Mike Paulus will be North Carolina's quarterback this Saturday against Miami UNC coach Butch Davis said Wednesday. But so will junior Cam Sexton he added.