Summer 2024

Sam Howell gives glory to God after record-setting day helps North Carolina upset No. 9 Wake Forest

Sam Howell etched his name into the record books as his North Carolina team delivered a major upset over in-state rival Wake Forest on Saturday.

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Howell threw for 216 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 104 yards and two touchdowns as UNC upset No. 9 Wake Forest, 58-55. With his performance, the junior quarterback set a UNC record for total career offense, as he now boasts 10,539 yards in 34 games, surpassing Marquise Williams (10,423).

Following the game, Howell deflected the personal praise but was sure to note how big of an achievement it was for him. He also gave credit to God.

“I’m not huge about records, but that’s definitely something I don’t take for granted,” he said in his postgame press conference. “I’m just super blessed to just be in this position. There’s been so many players that have helped get to this point. I credit Marquise too. Phenomenal player and role model to me. One of my biggest supporters.

“It’s just an awesome thing to accomplish. I’m so blessed by God to just be in a position where I have so many good people around me to help me get that done.”


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Howell helped lead North Carolina to overcoming an 18-point deficit and out-duel his friend and Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman, who finished with 398 passing yards and five touchdowns to go along with 78 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

The win brought North Carolina’s record to 5-4 with three regular-season games remaining. It’s a big momentum boost as the Tar Heels try to set themselves up for a bowl bid, Howell said.

“Just trying to finish this season out right,” he said in the press conference. “I’m just so happy for our guys, for our program. We’ve worked so hard and we really haven’t gotten the results we wanted the first eight games of the season. I’m just happy for our team.”

After what has already been a stellar career in a Tar Heels uniform, Howell looks to be a highly sought-after quarterback prospect for the 2022 NFL Draft. ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper currently lists Howell as his No. 5 quarterback prospect.

Howell’s rise in football has come as he’s grown in his relationship with Christ. He often wears a black “I Am Second” wristband, and earlier this summer shared on social media that he’d been baptized, calling it “a day I’ll remember forever.”

“Choosing to follow Christ has been the best decision I’ve ever made in my life,” Howell wrote on Instagram. “God has done so many amazing things in my life and has blessed me in ways I could never imagine.”

Howell regularly uses social media to share positive messages as well as give credit to God for his success.

On his Twitter account, he has a pinned tweet that he posted following his team’s loss to Texas A&M in the Orange Bowl last season. The tweet reads: “Win or lose God is always good. This is only the beginning of something special. I promise we will be back.”

North Carolina travels to face conference foe Pittsburgh on Thursday.

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