North Carolina football: 3 overreactions from runaway win over Syracuse

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North Carolina football

Sam Howell, North Carolina football (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

3. Sam Howell is already out of the Heisman race

Sam Howell came into this season with a lot of expectations and over time became a popular dark-horse Heisman candidate. His stat line of 25-for-34 for 295 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions doesn’t jump off the page as Heisman numbers.

He struggled early on as I predicted against Syracuse’s rarely used 3-3-5 defensive scheme. Adding the extra defensive back helps contain pass heavy offenses and is a confusing look at first especially for a guy who’s never faced it.

On the first drive, Howell looked like a Heisman contender going 5-for-7 for 71 yards and throwing a touchdown to Garret Walston. After that possession, Carolina didn’t score the rest of the half and Howell really struggled until the mid-third quarter. He was 8-12 for 60 yards and two interceptions after the first drive.

Once Carolina’s offense got rolling they looked tough to stop.

Howell and the Heels went for four straight scoring drives including three touchdowns and Howell was 10-for-12 with 153 yards. Nothing too extraordinary but Syracuse’s scheme can be tough to figure out and their secondary played great.

Howell’s Heisman odds were +2000 prior to Saturday and are now sitting at +3300. Which makes sense given other guys had better performances. But Howell’s name should for sure still be in the conversation. Nobody else really took the world of college football by storm and if Carolina is going to go on the run a lot of people expect, it’s going to be on the shoulders of Howell.

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