CHAPEL HILL, N.C. –– Omarion Hampton won’t be denied.
Before today, there were only 31 instances in North Carolina football history where a player hit the 1,000-yard marker. Today marks 32.
“I’m proud he got 1,000 this early in the season, that’s pretty cool,” head coach Mack Brown said.
The HOF coach has claimed that his team got their mojo back after a 59-7 beatdown over Campbell Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Tar Heels break a two-game losing spell that, if continued, could have torn apart their postseason aspirations.
Just nine games into the season, Hampton joins an elite group of Tar Heel running backs who have achieved the feat. In the blowout, Hampton ran for 144 yards with 15 catches and two touchdown runs.
His first score came in the second quarter with a 54-yard rush, as he pulled away from his defenders and charged down the open field to break the tie and take the Tar Heels to a 14-7 lead.
Nine minutes later, after the defense left the ball in the red zone, the ensuing drive resulted in a four-yard rush from Hampton. He looked like a freight train out there, shoving his way through the Camel’s offense to take the advantage to 21 points.
Before today, he ranked seventh in the FBS with 923 yards. His total is now up to 1,067 yards and with three games left, he’s already cemented himself as one of the greatest in program history.
“It’s a good honor, I know I have to keep pushing it,” the sophomore said humbly of his performance.
While he isn’t a man of many words, he is amazed and honored to be in the same company of UNC’s greatest.
He’s the first running back to do so since Ty Chandler in 2021 when he hit 1,092 yards. Before that the feat was achieved by Michael Carter and Javonte Williams who each hit the mark back in 2020.
The only person to reach the target more quickly was Giovanni Bernard back in 2012. He finished that season with 1,228 yards.
Today also marks Hampton’s fourth consecutive 100+ yard game this season. He ran his season high against App State with an astounding 234 yards. By letting him loose early Tar Heel fans saw Hampton’s sheer strength and speed on display even in a relatively crowded room.
UNC boasts a stacked running back unit, yet the squad seems to have taken a hit over the past couple of weeks – a shortage that has seemingly opened up room for Hampton to shine.
British Brooks has still been productive, as the most veteran member of the room. He finished today with. 10 catches for 64 yards. Brooks has also scored two touchdowns this season. Junior back Elijiah Green opted to redshirt this year along with sophomore George Pettaway and freshman Jordan Louie. Caleb Hood has been ruled out with no update to when he’ll be back and interestingly, his brother Kellan was put in towards the end of the third (mind you Kellan is a walk-on, yet he made his debut as the Tar Heels had their way with the competition).
In this final trio of games, the Tar Heels will face a Top Ten defensive unit in Clemson on Nov. 18th. The Tigers rank sixth in the FBS in total defense. And for homecoming next week North Carolina will host their blue-deviled foes, a defensive unit that ranks 28th.
In what is sure to be a high-strung competition next week, the game against Duke will prove an accurate measurement of if the Tar Heels have made genuine, long-lasting improvements, or if it’s just another sad tale of their flaws and inconsistency.
It’ll be a battle of the blue-bloods and while North Carolina might’ve gotten their mojo back, nothing is a given in college football.