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After starting year in QB rotation, Williams takes over to get Tar Heels' offense rolling

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CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina — Marquise Williams suddenly has North Carolina's quarterback job to himself. And the Tar Heels' offense is rolling.

After spending the first month rotating with backup Mitch Trubisky, Williams has led UNC from start-to-finish in the past two games. With Williams putting up big numbers, the Tar Heels are consistently finishing drives in the end zone to build some momentum heading into Saturday's trip to Virginia.

Even if Williams doesn't want to take credit for UNC's offensive uptick.

"This game is not about me, man," Williams said Monday. "It's about the rest of those 10 guys on the field. I'm doing whatever I can to help those guys be successful. That's who I play for."

The junior has tallied 898 yards of total offense in the past two games for the Tar Heels (3-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), moving the chains through the air, on the ground and even managing a receiving score in the shootout loss at Notre Dame.

Williams threw for 390 yards and four touchdowns to go with a school-record 38 completions in the 48-43 weekend win against Georgia Tech, including directing the go-ahead touchdown drive in the final 3 minutes. He also ran for 73 yards and a score.

A week earlier, he threw for 303 yards and ran for 132 more while accounting for four touchdowns in the 50-43 loss to the Fighting Irish.

On Monday, Williams was named the ACC's offensive back of the week for the second straight week.

PHOTO: North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams looks to pass the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia Tech in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams looks to pass the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia Tech in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

"Marquise obviously is playing out of his mind right now," linebacker Jeff Schoettmer said.

The Tar Heels had rotated Trubisky in on the third series of the first five games, then played Trubisky from there depending on game flow. While the Tar Heels had some big scoring outputs, the offense had lacked consistency and was alternating flurries of big plays with empty drives.

The plan suddenly changed heading into Notre Dame. Williams went the whole way against the Fighting Irish and came out for one play against the Yellow Jackets to shake off a brief injury on the sideline while Trubisky took the snap.

Now, with Williams building a rhythm by staying in the game, UNC has scored on 10 of 15 drives going back to the Notre Dame loss. Nine of those have gone for touchdowns.

The Tar Heels converted 10 of 15 third downs and both of their fourth-down chances in the win against the Yellow Jackets.

Williams currently ranks second in the ACC and 17th nationally in total offense (317.7 yards per game), right behind Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston of Florida State.

"If you have a reaction (to the big stats), you might come out the next week and throw for like 20 yards," Williams said. "Like I said, I put the ball in the playmakers' hands. I can just throw the ball deep to (receiver) Ryan Switzer. I'm pretty sure my grandma could throw the ball deep to Ryan Switzer and he'd still score."


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PHOTO: North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams looks to pass the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia Tech in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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