RALEIGH — The North Carolina coaching staff put a muzzle on Eric Ebron, the junior tight end, after he made clear earlier in the week that that he wasn’t too concerned with playing against N.C. State.
After UNC’s victory against Boston College last week, Ebron told reporters that “ain’t nobody worried about N.C. State.” Then Ebron took to his Twitter account, and wrote in capital letters that Wolfpack fans would be in for a “rude awakening.”
Ebron wasn’t available for interviews in the days leading into the game on Saturday. Makes sense, though, that he savored UNC’s victory more than most.
“The talking that I did was more for my teammates and myself and for more for the State fans because I wanted a challenge,” Ebron said after catching nine passes for 70 yards. “If this is really your state, then come prove it.”
Ebron was referring to N.C. State’s “Our State” motto, which has been used on billboards and in commercials. For the game on Saturday, N.C. State’s midfield logo at Carter-Finely Stadium was a red state logo with a Mr. Wuf mascot logo inside.
Ebron said he wanted to let N.C. State know “that this is our state.”
“If we don’t have your respect already, we’re going to keep on taking it, until the point where you have no choice but to respect us,” he said. “I mean, this is our state. Our win ratio to losses (against N.C. State) – I mean, we’re killing them. So we’ve just got to let them know whose state this really is.”
UNC QUARTERBACKS PLAY THROUGH INJURIES
UNC coach Larry Fedora late in the third quarter worried that he might have to turn to Kanler Coker, a redshirt freshman, to play quarterback. The Tar Heels’ first two quarterbacks, Bryn Renner and Marquise Williams, sustained injuries in the third quarter that temporarily forced them out of the game.
Williams left after absorbing a hard hit, while Renner suffered a dislocated left shoulder that UNC’s training staff popped back into place. Both injuries happened on back-to-back drives, and both Renner and Williams returned.
As has been the case the past two games, UNC again rotated Renner and Williams. Renner started the game and played the first two drives before Williams came in on the third drive and UNC on a 74-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 2-yard fade pass to Quinshad Davis in the back corner of the end zone.
UNC’s longest passing play of the game, though, came on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Switzer, the freshman receiver, to Davis. Switzer threw long after catching a pass behind the line of scrimmage from Renner.
UNC ran for a season-high 152 yards. Williams ran for 51 of those and for the second consecutive week led the Tar Heels in rushing. … Davis, whose only two catches resulted in touchdowns, now has 96 receptions in his first two seasons at UNC. Only two players – Hakeem Nicks (113) and Jarworski Pollock (102) – caught more passes in their first two seasons. … T.J. Logan, the freshman running back, scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 14-yard run in the fourth quarter. … Ebron now has 21 catches for 336 yards in UNC’s past three games.
Carter: 919-829-8944; Twitter: @_andrewcarter