After a stat sheet stuffing 62-0 victory over Elon in the first game of the Larry Fedora Era, Carolina heads to Winston-Salem to face Wake Forest on Saturday, Sept. 8. The game is the ACC opener for both schools. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. on the Regional Sports Network.
Carolina’s 62-point outing matched the fourth-highest total in school history and was just the 11th time the Tar Heels had scored 60-or-more points. Tailback Giovani Bernard scored a touchdown rushing, receiving and on a punt return before leaving the game in the first half. QB Bryn Renner completed 14 of 21 for 236 yards and three touchdowns. The UNC defense posted its first shutout in more than 13 years and held the Phoenix to just 170 total yards.
Wake Forest began the year with a 20-17 victory over Liberty Saturday in Winston-Salem.
ACC Opener Notes
Last year, Carolina snapped a nine-game losing streak in ACC openers with a 28-17 win over Virginia in Chapel Hill. Prior to that win, the Tar Heels had not won a conference opener since 2000. From 2001-2010, the Tar Heels lost the ACC opener to Georgia Tech (2002, 2005, 2009, 2010), twice to Virginia (2004, 2007), twice to Virginia Tech (2006, 2008), once to Maryland (2001) and once to Florida State (2003).
The last time Carolina won back-to-back ACC openers was 1996 (Clemson) and 1997 (Maryland).
Series Notes with Wake Forest
• Although the two schools no longer meet on an annual basis, the Carolina-Wake Forest rivalry is one of the oldest in the nation. This is the 105th meeting and Carolina leads the series 68-34-2, including a 20-13-0 mark in road games.
• Last year, Carolina ended a two-game losing streak to the Deacons with a convincing 49-24 victory in Chapel Hill.
• The last time these two schools met in Winston-Salem, Wake Forest whipped the Tar Heels 37-10. In that game, Carolina surrendered a kickoff return for a touchdown, an interception return for a touchdown and two other rushing touchdowns.
• Carolina’s most recent victory in Winston-Salem was a 31-24 win in 2004.
• Carolina and Wake Forest met every year from 1944-2004, but have met just three times since.
Ties With The Deacons
• North Carolina wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer was a two-year letterwinner at Wake Forest, where he earned his degree in science and health sports in 1987. He was the strength and flexibility coach at Wake in 1986-87.
• Although they were not on the same staff, UNC head coach Larry Fedora and Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe both spent time as assistant coaches at Air Force under Fisher DeBerry. Fedora was in Colorado Springs in 1997 and 1998. Grobe was at Air Force from 1984-94.
• Bill Dooley coached both the Tar Heels (1967-77) and Deacons (1987-92) during a 26-year coaching career. He compiled a 161-127-5 overall record, which included a 69-53-2 mark at UNC and a 29-36-2 record at Wake.
• Wake Forest football athletic trainer Don Steelman graduated from UNC and worked nine years for Carolina’s sports medicine program.
• Wake defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Dan McCartney was a member of the 1984 Carolina football staff.
Tar Heels Face Second Team From North Carolina
• For the second straight week, Carolina faces a team from North Carolina. Last Saturday, the Tar Heels welcomed Elon to Chapel Hill and this week, Carolina will travel to Winston-Salem to face Wake Forest.
• Carolina plays five teams from the state this year, including the four other FBS teams - Wake Forest, Duke, East Carolina and NC State.
Tar Heels Set ACC Punt Return Record
• Carolina established a school and ACC record for single-game punt return yards with 260 on nine returns. The previous UNC mark of 225 yards was set against VMI in 1935. The previous ACC mark was 227 by Clemson against Georgia Tech in 1987.
• The punt return unit, which is coached by head coach Larry Fedora, included returners Roy Smith (6 for 127 yards), Giovani Bernard (2 for 100 yards, TD) and Erik Highsmith (1 for 33 yards). Smith ran track at UNC last year and asked Fedora to try out for the football team this fall. Smith played high school football at powerful Northwestern in Miami. Bernard and Highsmith are both starters on offense.
• Bernard’s 70-yard punt return for a touchdown was the first by a Tar Heel since Da’Norris Searcy had a 77-yarder vs. The Citadel in 2009.
• Carolina’s 260 punt return yards were more than the Tar Heels had in 2010 (128) and 2011 (74) combined.
• Carolina’s 62 total points against Elon were the most since Sept. 30, 1995, a 62-0 win over Ohio. The 62-0 win also equaled the fourth-largest margin of victory. It marked the 11th time in school history that the Tar Heels had posted 60-or-more points and equaled the fourth-highest total in school history.
• Carolina’s 41 first-half points were the most in a half since 42 against Georgia Southern in 2009.
• Five different Tar Heels scored a touchdown against Elon, including Giovani Bernard (3), Jheranie Boyd (1), A.J. Blue (2), Jack Tabb (1) and Marquise Williams (1). It was the first score of their careers for Tabb and Williams.
• Carolina had 14 different receivers catch a pass in the win and no one caught more than three balls.
• Carolina ran 63 play through the first three quarters of the Elon game before purposely slowing down the pace. The Tar Heels finished with 74 plays for 524 yards. Last season, Carolina averaged 62.5 plays per game.
• Six of Carolina’s seven touchdown drives vs. Elon took 1:55 or less. The Tar Heels’ touchdown drives were 10 seconds, 19 seconds, 50 seconds, 1:26, 1:04 and 1:55. UNC also had a touchdown drive that took 3:29 in the first half.
• The time of possession for all nine of Carolina’s scoring possessions vs. Elon was 11 minutes, 48 seconds.
Pitching a Shutout
• Carolina 62-0 shutout victory was the first for the Tar Heels’ first since a 38-0 win over Duke to close out the 1999 season and the first season-opening shutout since a 45-0 win over Clemson to start the 1996 season. It was the first time Carolina shut out its opponent in a UNC head coach’s first game since Carl Snavely did it in 1945, a 6-0 win against Camp Lee, Snavely’s second stint as head coach. He also shut out Wake Forest in 1934 in his first stint as UNC’s head coach.
• The Carolina defense held Elon to just three rushes greater than 10 yards and a long of 16 yards. The Tar Heels forced the Phoenix to punt 10 times which is the most since Oklahoma punted 11 times in the season opener in 2001.
Renner Outstanding in Opening Game
• QB Bryn Renner finished the Elon game 14 of 21 for 236 yards and three touchdowns despite playing in just one series after halftime. Renner hit Giovani Bernard for a 6-yard TD strike in the first quarter before hooking up with Jheranie Boyd for a 35-yard touchdown in the second. His final pass of the day was a 23-yard TD strike to Jack Tabb.
• Renner now has 29 career touchdown passes and the Elon game was his fifth career game with at least three passing scores. He also registered his first career reception, an 18-yard gain from Erik Highsmith in the second quarter.
• Renner, who operated a version of the spread offense in high school, had surgery immediately after the 2011 season to remove bone spurs in his ankle. He admittedly struggled in the first week of the spring, but has become increasingly comfortable with Fedora’s spread offense. In the Spring Game, he completed 23 of 28 attempts for 295 yards and two TDs.
• Renner is a candidate for the Manning Award and Davey O’Brien trophy, which are presented to the nation’s top quarterback. In 2011, he ranked first in the ACC and 10th in the nation in pass efficiency with a 159.4 rating as a sophomore. He completed 68.3 percent of his attempts and was 239 for 350 for 3,086 yards and a single-season school record 26 touchdowns.
Bernard Impressive in Season Opener
• Sophomore TB Giovani Bernard matched a career high with three touchdowns (one each rushing, receiving and punt return) and finished with 203 all-purpose yards in the win over Elon. Bernard finished with 93 yards rushing on just nine carries and two receptions for 10 yards.
• Bernard scored on a 59-yard run in the first quarter, the second-longest scoring run of his career (60, 2011 vs. Rutgers). He caught a 6-yard scoring pass later in the first before taking a punt return 70 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Bernard, who did not play in the second half, finished with 100 total punt return yards in his first career game as a return man.
• Bernard now has 17 career touchdowns, including 14 rushing scores.
• Bernard earned consensus freshman All-America honors in 2011 and was a first-team All-ACC selection. The Davie, Fla., product rushed 239 times for 1,253 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2011, an average of 5.2 yards per carry and 96.4 yards per game. He also had 45 receptions (third on the team) for 362 yards and a score. He finished first nationally among freshman rushers while ranking third in the league and 28th in the country overall. Bernard became the first Carolina player to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season since Jonathan Linton in 1997. He rushed for 100-plus yards seven times in 2011, breaking the previous UNC freshman mark of six set by Amos Lawrence in 1977.
Morris Makes Debut
• Redshirt freshman tailback Romar Morris of Salisbury, N.C., made his Carolina debut in the win over Elon, rushing 10 times for 49 yards. He also caught one ball for 30 yards. Morris entered the season as the backup to Giovani Bernard.
• Morris, who redshirted in 2011, is a speedy back who ran for 40 yards, had 35 yards receiving and scored three touchdowns in the 2012 Spring Game.
Highsmith Highlights Receivers
• Senior Erik Highsmith headlines a group of receivers returning in 2012 that must increase its production to make up for the loss of senior Dwight Jones. Jones accounted for nearly a third of Carolina’s receiving yardage and scored nearly half of the team’s receiving touchdowns a year ago. Highsmith finished second on the team a year ago with 51 receptions for 726 yards and five touchdowns. In the Independence Bowl vs. Missouri, he had a career-high eight catches for 77 yards and a score.
• Highsmith hauled in three passes for 44 yards against Elon, returned his first career punt for 33 yards and completed a pass to Renner for 18 yards. He now has 115 career catches.
• Jheranie Boyd caught his 13th career touchdown in the win over Elon and now has 41 career catches after grabbing a 35-yard scoring pass in the second quarter. More than 30 percent (13) of his 41 catches have gone for touchdowns. Boyd has averaged 20.4 yards per catch in his career, and his 97-yard reception vs. LSU in 2010 is the longest catch in UNC history.
Veteran Offensive Line
• With four starters returning, the offensive line is arguably the strength of the entire team, provided it stays healthy. That health was shaken this offseason when senior guard Jonathan Cooper had shoulder surgery, tackle Brennan Williams had knee surgery and center Russell Bodine hurt his knee. All three missed the Spring Game but were able to return for fall training camp. Cooper, a preseason All-America selection, is joined on the left side of the line by junior tackle James Hurst. Second-team All-ACC picks in 2011, Cooper and Hurst opened many holes for Bernard to become the first 1,000-yard rusher at UNC in more than a decade. Guard Travis Bond anchors the right side of the line as he enters his third year as a starter, while Williams is right tackle.
• Bodine replaces departed starter Cam Holland. Holland started for three years and was a two-time Rimington Award candidate. Bodine started two games in 2011 and saw significant playing time as the Tar Heels’ employed several six-man offensive line formations.
• The Carolina offensive line has 96 combined starts among the five starters.
• In the season opener vs. Elon, Carolina played 12 offensive linemen. Bodine graded out best with a 95 percent grade and a team-high 17 knockdown blocks.
More From the Elon Game
• A total of 63 Tar Heels saw action in the season-opening 62-0 win over Elon, including eight true freshmen - WR Quinshad Davis, WR Kendrick Singleton, WR Damien Washington, CB Malik Simmons, CB T.J. Jiles, Bandit Shakeel Rashad, DS Conor Fry and DE Jessie Rogers.
• QB Marquise Williams was 5 of 6 passing for 27 yards in addition to six carries for 43 yards in his collegiate debut • TE Jack Tabb scored his first career touchdown, a 23-yard reception in the third quarter • TB A.J. Blue scored his second and third career touchdowns, a 1-yard rush late in the second quarter and a 4-yard scamper late in the third • CB Jabari Price and CB Tim Scott each corralled their second career INT in the first half • The secondary led the defense in tackles as Price and Pete Mangum each registered six tackles and Tre Boston chipped in five.
Barth Keeps Booting Kicks
• PK Casey Barth (Wilmington, N.C.) returned to the field after missing the final 10 games of the 2011 season and converted all 8 PAT attempts and two field goals in the win over Elon. Carolina has now made (128) consecutive extra points, and Barth has made a school-record (90) in a row.
• Barth is now one field goal shy of the school record (Connor Barth, 54) after converting a pair of field goals - 21-yard FG in second quarter, 32-yard FG in second quarter of the Elon game It was the 11th time in school history that Carolina converted 8 PAT attempts in a game and the first time since Jeff Reed did it against Duke in 2000.
• Barth has made 53 of 65 career field goal attempts and a school-record 90 consecutive extra points. He needs just one field goal to tie his brother Connor’s school-record total of 54.
• Barth’s 2011 season was cut short due to injury. He was limited to three games due to an injured groin and was granted a medical hardship waiver from the Atlantic Coast Conference. The waiver allows Barth to play a fifth year in 2012. Barth made all 11 extra points and one field goal - a 46-yarder vs. Rutgers - in the first two and a half games in 2011 before the injury.
Reddick Captains the Defense
• A preseason All-America candidate, Kevin Reddick is in his fourth-year as a starter at middle linebacker. Reddick fought off a couple of nagging injures (ankle, abdominal strain) in 2011 to post 71 tackles, 6.0 tackles for losses, one sack and one fumble recovery. Against Elon, he had five tackles and assisted on a tackle for loss in limited duty.
Sly Headlines Defensive Line
• Senior defensive tackle Sylvester Williams turned down an opportunity to leave early for the NFL and returned for his senior season. A junior college standout, Williams improved his resume with his outstanding play during his first season with the Tar Heels. He started every game and finished the season with 54 tackles, including seven for losses, and had one interception and three pass breakups. Williams is a raw talent, who had an interesting journey to major college football, which included stops at Modine Manufacturing Company and Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. After two seasons at Coffeyville, he earned junior college All-America honors in 2010 and accepted a scholarship to Carolina.
• Against Elon, Williams was a standout performer with two sacks for 12 yards. He also batted a pass that was intercepted by teammate Jabari Price.
• At the weakside linebacker Travis Hughes appears won the battle to start on opening day and posted three tackles. As a true freshman in 2011, Hughes started at Georgia Tech and saw significant time on special teams, registering 13 tackles.
• A former walk-on from Miami, Tommy Heffernan provides the only experienced depth.
• As part of the changes to its defensive scheme, the Tar Heels have created the “bandit” position, a hybrid between a linebacker and a defensive end. According to the coaching staff, this player will have the ability to play as a down lineman in a 4-3 scheme or play off the line in a 3-4 look. Senior Dion Guy started the first game and posted five tackles and assisted on a tackle for a loss. Sophomore Norkeithus Otis and true freshman Shakeel Rashad will push him for playing time.
• Junior Kareem Martin returns at defensive end where he had 40 tackles, seven tackles for losses and four sacks a year ago. Martin was outstanding through the first six games of the 2011 season, and is a good pass rusher. He will face competition this year from junior Tim Jackson, who is more adept at stopping the run.
• Since settling into the safety position, Tre Boston has been one of Carolina’s top defensive playmakers. Last season, he finished third on the team with 70 tackles and tied for the team lead with three interceptions. Boston takes chances at times, but fits well in the 4-2-5 scheme with his ability to play the run and cover.
• Sophomore Tim Scott and junior Jabari Price are the two starting cornerbacks entering the season. As a true freshman in 2011, Scott started eight games and had 43 tackles, one interception and six pass breakups. After a productive freshman campaign in 2010, Price injured his hand in last season’s training camp and was limited to just eight games, posting 16 tackles and two pass breakups.
• Redshirt freshman Sam Smiley won a starting spot at safety during the spring and had three tackles against Elon.
A Look At the 2012 Schedule
In Fedora’s first year, the Tar Heels play a seven-game home schedule that includes contests against in-state opponents East Carolina (Sept. 22) and NC State (Oct. 27). The home slate also features ACC opponents Virginia Tech (Oct. 6), Georgia Tech (Nov. 10) and Maryland (Nov. 24) and non-conference games vs. Elon (Sept. 1) and Idaho (Sept. 29).
The Tar Heels go on the road to face Wake Forest (Sept. 8), Louisville (Sept. 15), Miami (Oct. 13), Duke (Oct. 20) and Virginia (Thursday, Nov. 15). Carolina faces a quick turnaround from its home game against Georgia Tech on Nov. 10 to travel to Charlottesville for its first road Thursday night game at Virginia since 2006. The Virginia game will be televised nationally by ESPN.
• This is the first time Carolina has faced Maryland since 2008 and the first time the two teams have met at Kenan Stadium since a 16-13 UNC victory in 2007. This is the first time Carolina and Maryland have met in the final game of the regular season. It is the first time Carolina has played an opponent other than Duke or NC State in the final game of the year since playing at Virginia Tech in 2005.
• This is the first year the game at Duke has not been played on the final weekend of the regular season since 1998. That year, the Tar Heels played NC State in Charlotte on Nov. 28.
• The Tar Heels play five opponents from the state of North Carolina - Elon, Duke, NC State, Wake Forest and East Carolina - for the first time since the 1940s.
• Carolina and East Carolina will meet for the fifth time in the last six years. The Tar Heels are 3-1 in the four previous meetings, including a 35-20 win in 2011 and a 42-17 win in 2010.
• Carolina travels to Louisville for the third time in school history and the first since 2005. The series with the Car dinals is tied at three following the Tar Heels’ 14-7 win in Chapel Hill last year.
• The meetings with Elon and Idaho are the first in school history.
UNC Football Television/Radio Information
The schedule for North Carolina football head coach Larry Fedora’s television and radio shows are set for the 2012 season.
“Inside Carolina Football with Larry Fedora,” is a half-hour television program seen each week on Fox Sports South and WTVD in the Triangle. The show features highlights of the previous game, interviews with current and former Tar Heel players, and a preview of upcoming action.
Fans will have an opportunity to ask questions of the head coach every week during the football season on the “Larry Fedora Live” radio show, broadcast Wednesday nights from Top of the Hill restaurant in downtown Chapel Hill.
The first radio show is set for Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. Jones Angell, who enters his second year as the Tar Heels’ radio play-by-play man, will host the show.
TELEVISION: Inside Carolina Football with Larry Fedora airs every Saturday morning on Fox Sports South at 9 a.m. throughout the southeast and every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on WTVD (Triangle Market). All shows will be available on demand via Time Warner Cable Channel 1234 (a free On Demand channel).
RADIO: Larry Fedora Live will air Tuesday nights from 7-8 p.m. The show originates from Top of the Hill Restaurant in downtown Chapel Hill. Aug. 28; Sept. 4, 11, 18, 25; Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; Nov. 6, 20 (no show on Nov. 13)