Coach Larry Coker had a decision to make: should he go for the first down and possibly give Houston easy field position for the win, or should he punt the ball and put the game in the hands of the defense.
Coker mulled the decision over with offensive line coach Mario Cristobal to see if his line could get the push needed for the one yard.
"Coach Coker walked over to the offensive line coach and asked if he had faith in us and he said that yeah he did, so Coach Coker laid his job on the line for us and we came through for him," guard Andrew Bain said.
"If we didn't get that first down, then there are just more distractions that we have to deal with. I think Coach Coker is a great coach, those two losses at the end of the year were part of a learning process for our team. He is our head coach and he is directing us in the right direction."
The offensive line turned in its best performance of the season versus Houston Saturday, paving the way for 230 rushing yards and not allowing a sack.
"Going into the bye week we said we were going to finish strong on plays and when you finish you get big runs," Bain said. "The offensive line has taken it upon ourselves to carry the offense because it all starts with us. We are going to play hard and finish and control the clock and impose our will on the defense."
"We are pleased as a unit. We rushed real well and had a lot of positive plays. But, there is some things we can address to make those 20-yard runs in to 40 and 60-yard touchdowns. We are working hard and improving our technique and our offensive line each week."
Most importantly from Saturday's game was the emergence of freshman Javarris James. In his first career start for UM, James averaged over eight yards per carry on 148 yards rushing.
"All our backs are very talented and Javarris has his dimension to the team with speed and able to cut quickly. He is a very diverse back. Charlie is a solid back that will get you the yards you need and Derron showed his talent at the end of the game."
With North Carolina coming to the Orange Bowl this Saturday, Bain hopes the offensive line can carry the momentum of their solid play versus Houston into this week.
The line should be as successful this week with UNC ranked last in the ACC with six sacks on the season and last in rushing defense, allowing 217 yards per game.
"It is starting our ACC run and now most of our games are in conference," Bain said. "Like every team in the ACC, North Carolina is very talented and we are going to have to play real hard to beat them and be successful in our journey this season."
David Lake can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bain, O-Line Ready for North Carolina
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