Sunday Storylines: Quinshad's Big Night
Thursday night in Charlottesville, the Tar Heels looked good on national TV, winning 37-14 in their blue chrome helmets and navy pants. It was a chance for the football-viewing public to get a glimpse at Carolina football, and Giovani Bernard in particular.
Gio finished with 104 all-purpose yards and a touchdown, but with the Virginia Cavaliers keying on him, the Tar Heels turned to the air and freshman wide receiver Quinshad Davis. When the Virginia defense tried to prevent the run, Carolina checked to the perimeter screen and Davis. "We knew we could throw it if they did that," Fedora said. "We’ve always said in this offense, we’re going to take what the defense gives us, and they were giving us the throw, so we were going to take them. We don’t care how we win as long as we win."
The Tar Heels drove 91 yards for a touchdown on their second possession. On that drive, Davis contributed three catches for 55 yards. Carolina's second touchdown drive was helped along by a 32-yard Davis reception. Time and time again, Bryn Renner went to Davis. Time and time again, it was working. He tied an ACC record with 16 catches, and totaled 178 yards on the night. He also passed Bernard's freshman receptions record with 52 on the 2012 season (Bernard had 45 in 2011).
"He’s just maturing. He’s 18 years old (and) he gets better each week. He’s brimming with confidence right now," Fedora said of Davis. "He really feels good about what he’s doing. He expects to make plays now. He learned a lesson last week: he took a screen, got tackled on the one yard line, (and) I didn’t pat him on the back after that one and so then he realized, 'Oh you know what? I’ve got to get in the end zone,' so he’s getting better each week."
Fedora said that Davis has just scratched the surface of his potential, and the young man agreed. " I think I can better my route running, work on getting a little bit bigger and get my speed up a little bit, so Coach Fedora, he’s right."
Davis's success on the screen pass involves the quarterback getting him the ball, making the catch and then moving downfield, but don't overlook the job done by his fellow receivers blocking for him. "Hey, that’s the best thing. I’ve got teammates. Teammates out there that block their butts off," Davis said. "Especially (Sean) Tapley. He got a lot of good blocks in tonight. Mook, he got a lot of blocks in and that’s the thing people don't understand. You can’t make plays without people blocking for you, people doing something for you to make plays, so I really appreciate it."
"Those blocks go unnoticed," Renner said. "Quinshad having 16 catches or something like that, that’s the stat, but the real stat is going to be Jack Tabb, Sean Tapley, Erik Highsmith blocking on the perimeter for him and really doing a great job of holding their blocks."