“It was OK,” Oliver said of his play. “Definitely can get better. We can’t beat anyone else that we have on the schedule playing like we did (Saturday).”
Johnson had assured that both Marshall and Oliver would play after Oliver’s 215-yard rushing performance against the Hokies. Johnson said he told the coaching staff in a pregame meeting Saturday morning that he would swap quarterbacks if the offense didn’t score on a drive. That proved the case for Marshall – the first drive quickly ended after a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, the second with a touchdown and the third with a punt – but not Oliver, who never came out of the game after coming in for Marshall.
“This game, I felt like that with what we were doing, (Oliver) gave us the best chance,” Johnson said. “The next game might be the other guy. TaQuon went in and led us on a touchdown drive to start with. He didn’t really do anything wrong. It was a gut thing, a feel thing. Probably the rest of the way, that’s kind of what it’ll be.”
Oliver’s load was lighter (28 carries compared with 40 against Virginia Tech) and he distributed the ball more to the A-backs, though plenty of that had to do with how the Tar Heels defended the Jackets. In the second quarter, he also caught North Carolina fully sucked into what looked like a run to the perimeter before he backed up and found Searcy wide open for an 86-yard touchdown pass, the Jackets’ longest pass play since 2009.
Oliver’s expanded role did not faze him.
“I feel like it’s pretty evident I can get in and play, but at the same time, we’re at a point in the season where I don’t want to get too much of ‘I should be the starter,’” he said. “As of right now, I just want to win, honestly.”
More from Chapel Hill:
30 photos from the game
Paul Johnson’s unvarnished assessment of the game