UNC Notebook: Freshman T.J. Logan debuts; Jack Tabb ejected
Sophomore quarterback Marquise Williams wasn’t the only player making his first appearance in the spotlight for North Carolina in Saturday’s 27-17 loss at Virginia Tech.
Freshman T.J. Logan, who missed the first four games with a knee injury, made his much-anticipated debut at Lane Stadium, running five times for 25 yards, catching an eight-yard pass and returning a kickoff 21 yards.
Logan, the AP state player of the year at Greensboro’s Northern Guilford High School last season, was playing in his first game since scoring eight touchdowns in the 2012 NCHSAA 3-AA championship.
UNC hopes his availability could jump-start an offense that has struggled to replace Giovani Bernard and came into Saturday’s game 112th in rushing offense at 100.3 yards a game.
“T.J. made some mistakes out there,” UNC coach Larry Fedora said. “Went the wrong way a few times, blocked the wrong guy a few times. But it’s really good to get him out there and get him some playing time, and get him hit again and get on a football field. He made some nice runs out there and he’s just going to get better every week.”
Logan, who said he was just cleared for hitting in practice this week, split carries in the backfield with senior A.J. Blue, freshman Khris Francis and sophomore Romar Morris, who was limited by an injury.
But even with Logan and a more mobile quarterback in Williams, who led the team in rushing in place of injured senior Bryn Renner, UNC still only recorded 99 rushing yards against the nation’s 19th-ranked rushing defense.
“I thought (Logan) handled the situation pretty well out there,” Fedora said. “That’s a pretty good venue, hostile crowd, and so I thought he handled himself pretty well other than the few mistakes he made. Every rep he got was going to be good for the future.”
Fedora also said that Williams handled his first start well, despite playing against a tough defense on the road.
“There’s only one throw he made that we would like to have back,” Fedora said, referring to a second-quarter interception. “Other than that I thought he threw the ball really well and that he managed the game well.”
Coming off a two-game suspension for violating team rules, sophomore Jack Tabb earned the start at linebacker because Travis Hughes was late for a team meeting. Tabb, who started UNC’s first two games at tight end, made the tackle on Virginia Tech’s first play and went both ways throughout the game.
But a great start turned into a nightmare finish when Tabb was ejected for throwing a punch during a kickoff return with four minutes left.
Tabb didn’t wait long to apologize. With the game still going on, he sent the following message from his Twitter account: “To everyone I’m sorry for what just happened.”
A UNC spokesman said that ACC will review the play before determining if Tabb will be suspended once again.
Left guard Caleb Peterson took over long-snapping duties after Conor Fry was injured on UNC’s first punt. Fry started the year as the backup long snapper but replaced Mack Lloyd, who appeared to suffer a serious knee injury in UNC’s season-opening loss at South Carolina
The Tar Heels were also down to their third-string at right tackle after freshman Jon Heck was injured late in the second quarter. Backup Kiaro Holts did not travel, so junior Nick Appel played the rest of the game.