Michael Carter bided his time Saturday on the University of North Carolina sideline, watching as the first three series against California produced no points.
Starts just don’t come for freshmen. And that’s especially true for running backs.
The Navarre alumnus knew his moment would come … and that it did on UNC's fourth series.
His first touch went for 47 yards. Two first-half touchdowns later, he may not have to relinquish lead-back duties in the future.
Despite being out-touched in the backfield 13-11 by sophomore Jordon Brown, Carter debuted for a team-best 94 rushing yards and two scores on 11 carries in a 35-30 loss. That’s 8.5 yards per carry for the 2016 Daily News Player of the Year, who early enrolled in Chapel Hill in January.
In the first half alone Carter had 71 yards on seven carries. His 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter tied the score at 7 and later he flipped into the end zone on a 9-yard run in the second quarter to stake the Tar Heels to a 17-7 lead.
Well on his way to a big afternoon, Carter touched the ball only four times for 23 yards in the second half when the Tar Heels turned to their aerial attack.
Carter enters college fresh off a senior campaign of 3,345 all-purpose yards and 45 touchdowns for the Final Four Raiders. He had his pick of colleges, but in UNC he saw opportunities to make a difference early on.
Saturday’s debut affirmed that.