Kyle Wright accounted for all three touchdowns but also for four interceptions. It’s hard to give him a grade here, because he led the ‘Canes back from a huge hole. However, he is also largely responsible for creating that deficit. While Wright made several big plays, he also held onto the ball too long at times, and two of the interceptions he threw were unacceptable. In other words, he fluctuated between Peyton Manning and Trent Green.
Running Backs: B
The backs did everything they could. The play calls were iffy at times, and they rarely had good holes to run through. This cannot be blamed on Javarris James and Graig Cooper, both of whom continued to run hard all game.
Receiver Corps: B
When the ball was delivered to them, they made plays. The play of the group was highlighted by Darnell Jenkins’s 97-yard touchdown catch. Sam Shields provided a spark in his return to the lineup.
OffensiVe Line: C-
The big boys did not consistently provide room to run for Cooper and James. They gave Wright time to throw in the third quarter but buckled under pressure too many times.
Defensive Line: B
Teraz McCray led the way with his two sacks, but the line did not get enough pressure on Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates to justify any higher of a grade. At times it seemed Yates had all day to throw in the pocket.
They made the plays that were in front of them, but nothing more. Losing Colin McCarthy early to injury did not help the cause. Tavares Gooden continues to play well in coverage and pursuit, although his name was not called as much on Saturday as it has been in the past.
Aside from Kenny Phillips, they were susceptible to the big play and missed tackles. It may be time to bench Carlos Armour, who seems to be consistently out of position and misses far too many tackles. The open field play early in the first quarter in which Armour bounced off of UNC running back Anthony Elzy comes to mind when I think of this unit’s performance.
Special Teams: F
There were big plays in the return game, specifically from Cooper and Ryan Hill, but Francesco Zampogna is yet another disappointing kicker for the ‘Canes. He missed a chip shot and an extra point, neither of which is acceptable for an ACC contender. Damien Berry is becoming a coverage demon on the kickoff team.
Patrick Nix was too unimaginative with his play calls in the first half, and the 27-point deficit proved too great to overcome late. Randy Shannon rallied his team in the halftime locker room and made good adjustments. The defense gave up only six points in the second half and the offense showed a killer instinct, but too many mistakes and too much first half conservatism killed the effort.
Visit TheMiamiHurricane.com to read Dan Stein’s commentary on Saturday’s game.