UNC receiver Sean Tapley, seen here returning a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown on Saturday at Virginia Tech, earned ACC Player of the Week honors. ROBERT WILLETT
CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina sophomore running back Giovani Bernard ran for a career-high 262 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown, during the Tar Heels’ 48-34 victory against Virginia Tech on Saturday. Sean Tapley, the UNC sophomore receiver, returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.
Both Bernard and Tapley on Monday earned ACC Player of the Week honors – Bernard as the league’s offensive back of the week, and Tapley as the conference’s specialist of the week.
Here’s the release the ACC sent out earlier today:
OFFENSIVE BACK – Giovani Bernard, North Carolina, Sophomore, TB, 5-10, 205, Davie, Fla.
Bernard rushed for a career-high 262 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown in North Carolina’s 48-34 victory over Virginia Tech. The 262-yard performance is the fifth-highest single-game rushing total in North Carolina history and the most ever gained against Virginia Tech in any game. Bernard became the first Tar Heel to rush for 200 yards in a game since Ronnie McGill totaled 244 against Wake Forest in 2003. In one stretch from the second to third quarter, Bernard had eight carries for 186 yards, an average of 23.3 yards per rush. Bernard scored on a 62-yard run on 4th-and-inches on the first play of the second quarter and later added a 51-yard run. His 11.4 yards per carry is a single-game school record.
SPECIALIST – Sean Tapley, North Carolina, Sophomore, WR, 6-1, 185, Jacksonville, Fla.
Tapley returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter in North Carolina’s 48-34 win over Virginia Tech. He finished with four kickoff returns for 152 yards. The touchdown was the first allowed by Virginia Tech on a kickoff since 1993, spanning an FBS-record 237 consecutive games. It was the first of Tapley’s career and the first for North Carolina since T.J. Thorpe had a 100-yard return last year at Clemson. Tapley also caught two passes for 43 yards and a touchdown in the win.
Other players of the week included:
Offensive lineman – Clemson OG Tyler Shatley
Receiver – Clemson WR DeAndre Hopkins
Defensive lineman – N.C. State DT Thomas Teal
Linebacker – Maryland LB Demetrius Hartsfield
Defensive back – Duke S Walt Canty
Rookie – Maryland WR Stefon Diggs
I’m on the voting committee for this, by the way, and feel I should note that I voted for UNC senior guard Jonathan Cooper for offensive lineman of the week. He led an offensive line that paved the way for the Heels’ 339 yards rushing. Not only that, but Cooper and his fellow linemen talked UNC coach Larry Fedora into going for it on that 4th-and-1 on the first play of the second quarter. That turned into Bernard’s 62-yard touchdown run.