Williams had just completed the most prolific half ever by a North Carolina quarterback, and it helped lead to a record-breaking performance for the team.
The Tar Heels beat Old Dominion 80-20 on Saturday at Kenan Stadium, setting school records for points, touchdowns (11) and total offense (721 yards) in addition to breaking the ACC record for yards per play (10.6)
Williams finished the game 20-of-27 for 409 yards and five touchdown passes. He added 60 yards rushing on five attempts, giving him a school-record 469 yards of total offense.
“I can’t believe it,” Williams said. “I got my chance to prove something that I can do, and it feels good.”
Williams did much of his damage against the Monarchs in the first half. He completed 17-of-22 passes for 379 yards and five touchdowns while also rushing for 46 yards on four attempts.
The passing yardage and total offense (425 yards) were school records for a half. The touchdown passes tied a school record for an entire game.
“I thought he threw the ball pretty well today,” UNC coach Larry Fedora said. “He really did. He didn’t force anything. ... He didn’t throw into coverage and did a nice job. What he’s doing is taking the ball and putting it where it’s supposed to go.”
Williams was razor sharp, hitting receivers in stride whether he was standing tall in the pocket or scrambling to the perimeter. His accuracy, combined with a couple of other factors, led to the statistical outburst.
The Tar Heels were playing against an opponent that was both overmatched and aggressive. Old Dominion ran plays as quickly as fast-paced UNC, creating a game with 20 combined possessions and 93 combined plays from scrimmage in the first half alone.
Williams took advantage of his opportunities, producing two 100-yard receivers in the first half. He completed four passes to Quinshad Davis for 124 yards and a touchdown, and he threw four passes to Ryan Switzer for 111 yards and two scores.
Each of Switzer’s scoring catches, a 43-yarder and a 57-yarder in the second quarter, came as the receiver ran past his defender on a deep post route.
“We’d seen that they like to be lazy in the back end,” Williams said. “If you want to be lazy against us, we’ll get over the top of you.”
The second of the scoring strikes to Switzer was one of Williams’s best. Switzer had just a step of separation, and Williams lofted the ball perfectly for a score. The same was true for Williams’s 27-yard scoring strike to T.J. Thorpe that gave the Tar Heels the lead for good at 14-10 with 5:05 left in the first quarter.
Many of the other throws were nothing more than pitch and catch with open receivers. No defender was near Davis as he caught a 56-yard bomb from Williams on a flea flicker on UNC’s first possession, and the Tar Heels also enjoyed success with quick throws to the perimeter.
Despite the record-breaking performance, Williams didn’t get everything he wanted Saturday. Standing on the sidelines as the Tar Heels had the ball deep in Old Dominion territory late in the fourth quarter, he hoped to see one more score.
He and his teammates had seen on the stadium video board that the UNC men’s basketball team had scored 82 points in a 10-point victory over Richmond earlier in the afternoon.
“We saw that they had scored 82, and we wanted Coach to let us kick a field goal so that we could get 83,” Williams said. “That didn’t happen, but it felt good. We were clicking on special teams and everything. I wish we could have gotten 83 so we could brag with the basketball boys, but it was great.”