When did I know Tar Heels’ true freshman Sam Howell was legit?…
It was 4th and 17 from their own 40 with 2:55 remaining in the 4th quarter. Several fans started making their way to the exits with the 4th quarter magic from the week before seemingly a fluke. The Tar Heels, who were having trouble moving the ball since the 2nd quarter, trailed Miami 25-20. The typical call here would be to punt and hope your defense plays well enough to give you the ball back with time on the clock. The Heels didn’t have enough timeouts for this strategy to work, so they decide to put it all on the time and go for it. Sam Howell stood calmly in the pocket and completed a 20 yard pass to a wide open Rontavius Groves. Five plays later he connected with Dazz Newsome for the winning touchdown.
“We had play we have a lot of confidence in,” Howell said about the 4th down conversion. “Toe had a double move and he was wide open. He made a great catch, because it really wasn’t a great throw. But I just tried to put it in a place where he could make the play and he made it.”
Sam may simplify things, but on a stage that big with a stadium full of people nervously expecting the worse, he was the calmest person in the bunch.
“That boy cold. He bad,” UNC defensive end Tomon Fox said after the win. “Our offense is already hot, but with the addition of Sam…he’s like the fuel to the fire.”
“He’s got ice in his veins,” Coach Mack Brown said about his quarterback. “He’s very confident. The weirdest thing about him is, he gets sacked and throws a touchdown pass and you can’t tell the difference in his demeanor.”
It’s that calmness and confidence that has orchestrated two 4th quarter comebacks in a row and made the Tar Heels one of the most exciting teams to watch so far this season.