Marquise Williams said he felt fine but he didn’t look it. Williams, the North Carolina quarterback, was sacked six times on Saturday during the Tar Heels’ 47-20 defeat at Miami and he clearly wasn’t elusive as he normally is.
Which raised the question: Was Williams playing hurt? It probably wouldn’t have been the first time.
Williams has won the respect of his teammates, and his opponents, with his toughness – with his ability to absorb hits and keep getting back up and taking more. On Saturday, though, it looked as though he might have still been feeling the effects of several hard hits he took last week in a win at Virginia.
Not that coach Larry Fedora wanted to admit it.
“He was fine,” Fedora said when asked of Williams’ health. “He was 100 percent. He was 100 percent.”
Williams, under near constant pressure, completed 22 of his 32 attempts for 191 yards and an interception. He gained just 4 yards rushing – his second-lowest total of the season.
Williams said he was “fine” and dismissed questions about his health.
“It’s just one of those weeks, man – or one of those games,” he said. “Things couldn’t fall in place.”
Fedora said he considered inserting Mitch Trubisky, the redshirt freshman quarterback, into the game earlier. Trubisky played in the fourth quarter when the result was already decided.
“We’re always thinking about it,” Fedora said. “We just didn’t do it. We felt fine where we were at. I mean, we were behind so early and so fast, it was hard to stay in a game plan.”
Switzer returns one ... and it’s called back
Ryan Switzer led the nation in punt returns a season ago but it has been a frustrating time for him this season, trying to find space and room to make something happen. He found that during the third quarter on Saturday – a perfect seam – and made the most of it on a long return for a touchdown.
But the play didn’t stand. A holding penalty negated it.
“It's tough,” said Switzer, who had a career-high nine catches. “We get the first one of the year, but we’ve got to come back and keep working hard.”
Switzer’s first punt return for a touchdown last season was also negated because of a penalty.
Cayson Collins' 39-yard fumble return for a touchdown was UNC’s first fumble return for a touchdown since 2009.