Williams Directs UNC's Winning Drive

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Marquise Williams closed out a career performance with a textbook final drive to lift North Carolina to a 48-43 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday.

With 3:07 left on the game clock, Williams had already checked off a litany of quarterback achievements under the lights at Kenan Stadium.

A variety of QB scrambles, including a 13-yard touchdown run? Check.

A variety of play-action and zone-read plays that resulted in positive yardage? Accomplished.

A variety of passes, including check downs, screens and deep throws with just the right amount of touch? Done.

All that was lacking was a last-minute come-from-behind march down the field as the clock inched towards triple zeros. Williams only needed 2:56 of that final 3:07 to direct UNC on a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive that culminated with T.J. Logan’s two-yard touchdown run.

As Williams readied to take the field following DeAndre Smelter’s 75-yard touchdown run that flipped the score in Georgia Tech’s favor at 43-42, Larry Fedora reminded him of the time on the clock.

Williams responded by telling his head coach, “We do this every week; it’s no big deal.”

“And he’s right,” Fedora told reporters during his postgame press conference. “We work two-minute every week and have been doing that since the first day we got here. He’s comfortable with it.”

Williams looked the part, checking down on several occasions and completing a trio of third down passes to keep the drive alive. By the time Fedora called his first timeout, his quarterback had already moved his team down to Georgia Tech’s 25-yard line with 48 seconds left.

UNC scored three plays later.

“This is where the best quarterbacks perform,” Williams said. “Under pressure, you’re down and nobody’s expecting you to get anything. I felt like we had three timeouts, 3:07 [left], just move the ball down, don’t force anything…

“I knew we just needed three to win and we found a way just to keep executing on the offensive side of the football.”

Williams completed 38 of his 47 passes for 390 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.

The junior quarterback set the school record for completions in a game (38) and broke the school record for completions in a half (23). He also completed 14 consecutive attempts in the second half, one shy of the school record. His 898 yards of total offense over the last two games are also a school record.

Williams’s 47 attempts equal the third-most in a game in UNC history and his 390 passing yards are the eighth-most in single-game history.

His interception came on UNC’s second drive, and after Georgia Tech capitalized with a score on its next possession, Williams answered with UNC’s longest scoring drive of the night, both in time (4:28) and yardage (13 plays, 76 yards).

“I never looked back,” Williams said of his approach to overcoming the interception. “I’m the quarterback. You can’t dwell on one play because if I was sad on that play, I would have come back and thrown another pick. But I was actually excited. I had to find something to get me going.”

It worked.

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