For the first quarter, it looked like the Tar Heels would be the second team of the day to fall to an FCS team as they trailed 21-14. The Dukes were marching down the field with ease, scoring on their first three drives.
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But then UNC finally got into its game and found a rhythm.
Led by quarterback Mitch Trubisky, the Tar Heels scored touchdowns on their first five drives of the game. The Tar Heels offensive attack was what we thought it would be going into the season.
Now with two consecutive wins and a eight-game win streak at Kenan Memorial Stadium, the Tar Heels are entering ACC play.
Before we get all set for Pittsburgh, let’s take a look at three key stats from the game.
Mitch Trubisky’s record-breaking day
The quarterback had another fantastic day for the Tar Heels offense. Backed by Trubisky, they exploded for 56 points as the quarterback played well.
Sep 17, 2016; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) looks to pass in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
For the second-straight week, he didn’t turn over the football. That allowed UNC to run their gameplan on offense and get into a rhythm. But there’s one key stat that stands out in Trubisky’s big day.
Trubisky has now attempted 155 consecutive passes without throwing an interception. That mark is not a school record, breaking Oscar Davenport’s streak of 154.
The quarterback has attempted a total of 189 passes in his three years with the Tar Heels, throwing just four interceptions in that span.
He didn’t throw one in 47 attempts in 2015, as all four game in 2014 when he had 78 attempts.
As the starter, Trubisky is obviously going to be throwing more in the Tar Heels offense so let’s see how long he can keep this up.
If Trubisky keeps this up, the Tar Heels offense might be a tough one to stop this season.
Penalties rack up for Tar Heels
The Tar Heels were flagged a total of 10 times for 110 yards. That’s a lot in any level of football you’re playing.
But the alarming part is the types of penalties.
UNC was flagged four times for unsportsmanlike conduct, resulting in a total of 60 yards just from those penalties. They were also flagged once for unnecessary roughness which is also a 15 yard penalty.
As you can imagine, head coach Larry Fedora was not happy with that:
Larry in with us now. Very upset with penalties. Calls them "unacceptable." Said there was much negative energy early.
The unsportsmanlike ones are the biggest killers on the field. Those show that the team is undisciplined and usually end up backfiring at some point in a game.
Committing them against an FCS team is one thing, but against better competition in the ACC could really hurt the Tar Heels.
Keep an eye on this throughout the season.
8-straight home wins
Sep 17, 2016; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora and linebacker Marlon Petty (57) and punter Joey Mangili (14) run out before the game at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Tar Heels defeated the James Madison Dukes 56-28. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
The Tar Heels returned to Kenan Memorial Stadium for the first time since beating Miami in November of 2015. They played four-straight on the road, dating back to last season.
It’s safe to say they were happy to be home.
With the Tar Heels win over the Dukes on Saturday, they extended their home winning streak to eight games. That’s the longest win streak at home for the Tar Heels since 1998.
In 2015, they went undefeated including wins over Illinois, Miami and Duke. They will play Pittsburgh next week to open the 2016 ACC season.
Their home schedule also features games against Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, The Citadel and North Carolina State.