Two North Carolina honorees lead a group of nine student-athletes recognized as Atlantic Coast Conference Football Players of the Week, as announced by the conference on Monday. Running back/punt returner Giovani Bernard was honored as ACC Specialist of the Week, while guard Jonathan Cooper earned Offensive Lineman of the Week honors following the Tar Heels’ dramatic 43-35 ACC win over NC State on Saturday.
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina, Sr., OG, 6-3, 295, Wilmington, N.C.
Cooper played 85 snaps, posted 18 knockdown blocks and graded out at 90 percent as the Tar Heels recorded 570 yards of offense in a 43-35 victory over NC State. Carolina rushed for 212 yards, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Cooper has not allowed a sack all season.
SPECIALIST – Giovani Bernard, So., North Carolina, 5-10, 205, Davie, Fla.
Bernard had 304 all-purpose yards to lead North Carolina to a 43-25 victory over rival NC State. Bernard scored on a 74-yard punt return with 13 seconds to play to give the Tar Heels the victory and snap the Wolfpack’s five-game winning streak in the series. The punt return was Carolina's first for a score against NC State since 1986. It was Bernard’s second punt return touchdown of the season, tying the school record. Bernard finished with a game-high 135 rushing yards on 23 carries and two rushing touchdowns. He also had eight catches for a career-high 95 yards and led the Tar Heels in both rushing and receiving. He scored three touchdowns and has 15 for the season in seven games and has 29 touchdowns in 20 collegiate games. In the fourth quarter, Bernard had 89 yards rushing, a 19-yard reception and a 74-yard punt return for a total of 182 all-purpose yards in the final 15 minutes. Bernard has now rushed for 930 yards and 10 touchdowns, an ACC-leading average of 132.9 per game.