Saturday, Sam Howell became the first true freshman to start an opening game for the Tar Heels, but he looked like anything but in the 2nd half of UNC’s win over South Carolina.
Mack Brown and the coaching staff at North Carolina put together an outstanding game plan – focusing on establishing the ground game early to take some of the pressure off of their young quarterback, and then allow Howell to open things up in the 2nd half.
“We were very conservative with Sam Howell obviously around the goal line early. We felt like at halftime, you know, he’s a quarterback. We’ve got to turn him loose. We’ve got to let him go, and he just played a tremendous second half,” Coach Brown said after the game.
“They did a good job of putting him in some good situations. They ran the ball really good in the second half which opened up a lot of single high coverage and he was able to make some really good throws,” Gamecocks’ head coach Will Muschamp said about Howell’s play.
After the win, the Monroe, NC native says he felt no pressure playing in his backyard, he was just focused on seizing the moment.
Howell finished 15 of 24, for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns.