North Carolina's Michael Carter, Javonte Williams set NCAA record with 544 yards rushing

ByANDREA ADELSON via via logo
December 12, 2020, 9:09 PM

North Carolina running back Michael Carter said he had a good feeling about Saturday's game against Miami after looking over at backfield teammate Javonte Williams during pregame warm-ups.

"I just told him, 'We're about to do numbers today,'" Carter said. "We expected to have a good game, but I don't know if it amounted to this."

What it amounted to was NCAA history.

Carter and Williams combined for 544 yards on the ground in the 62-26 win over No. 10 Miami, rushing for the most yards by teammates in a game in NCAA history. The previous NCAA record was 523 yards, set by Jarvis Thrasher (324) and Quincy Daniels (199) of Division III Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2007, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Buffalo running backs Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks Jr. had the previous FBS mark of 506, against Kent State on Nov. 28. Patterson ran for 409 yards and Marks ran for 97 that day.

On Saturday, Carter ran for 308 yards and two touchdowns and Williams ran for 236 yards and three touchdowns.

"What those guys did tonight is just remarkable," North Carolina coach Mack Brown said. "I'm not sure anybody picked it that way. I sure wouldn't have thought that we could have accomplished the things we did tonight. We were able to run the ball at will against a great defensive coach and great defensive players."

Carter and Williams each went over 1,000 yards on the season as well. Brown said the plan going into the game was to be more patient with the running game after the Tar Heels struggled to gain much ground in a 31-17 loss to Notre Dame two weeks ago. In that contest, Carter and Williams combined for 85 yards and no scores.

Williams said he thought they might be in for a big performance after the Tar Heels saw Miami had only one linebacker in the box on the first few drives.

"It was really just the O-line, receivers blocking downfield, [quarterback] Sam [Howell] making the right decisions, Coach calling the right plays, a good week of practice," he said. "This whole week, everything's been feeling good, and it's great feeling to have."

Even as he watched Carter and Williams dash off one long run after another, Brown said he had no idea his running backs were on the cusp of making history.

"I'd look every now and then up on the scoreboard, and it would say 344 yards rushing," Brown said. "I'd say, 'Really?' But you see Michael for two years here bounce out, and he makes 42 yards and I don't think anything about it. I don't think that I had any clue how many yards we had rushed for at the end, and I didn't understand how many those guys had rushed for. It was just amazing. And I should have because you just see chunk after chunk after chunk, but these guys run tough up inside. Tonight, a lot of their yards were inside and bounced out, and that's something we didn't have opportunities against Notre Dame, so just really, really proud of everybody involved with that offense."

In addition, Carter and Williams became the third pair of teammates in FBS history to each record 200 rushing yards against an AP-ranked opponent.

As a team, North Carolina rushed for 554 yards, six touchdowns and 10.1 yards per carry. That is the second-highest rushing total in school history, behind the 555 yards the Tar Heels gained against Virginia in 1945.

On the other side of the ball, Miami set two unfortunate records: rushing yards allowed and total yards allowed (778).

"We got our ass kicked," Miami coach Manny Diaz said. "It was a humiliating performance. We have to give credit to North Carolina. They were phenomenal. That was probably as good as they can play matched up with probably as badly as we can play, and that's the result."

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