Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

RYAN'S FLYIN' FOR UNC ; Ex-GW Star Switzer Closing in on Tar Heels Receiving Records

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

RYAN'S FLYIN' FOR UNC ; Ex-GW Star Switzer Closing in on Tar Heels Receiving Records

Article excerpt

If there was any team against which Ryan Switzer would tie an ACC record, Pittsburgh was perfect. Switzer and the Panthers? His feelings for them go way back - specifically to 2007, when Switzer was growing up in Charleston and watched Pitt upset West Virginia and knock the Mountaineers out of the BCS title game.

"I think I cried for two weeks straight, Switzer said to a GoHeels TV reporter after his fourth game - and fourth win - against the Panthers as a North Carolina wide receiver. "And I was an older kid, and I shouldn't have been crying.

The tears have rolled down Pitt's face since Switzer became a Tar Heel. His record against Pitt is spotless, his performances against the Panthers utterly dominant. In four games, he has caught 26 passes for 423 yards and three touchdowns. Add to that the two punts he returned for touchdowns versus Pitt as a freshman.

(He nearly had another punt return for a TD last Saturday, but it was called back on a penalty. If good, it would have been his eighth and tied the NCAA record. "That's four, Switzer said of punt return touchdowns that have been called back.)

The George Washington High graduate did get to tie a conference record with his 16 catches, 208 yards and touchdown last week versus Pitt. His reception total marked the ninth time an ACC player has caught 16 passes in a game.

No way would the Panthers ever discount Switzer's abilities. Yet he and his fellow UNC wide receivers didn't believe they were receiving the respect they've earned. The unit made its feelings known in the pregame warmups versus Pitt. Switzer, Mack Hollins and Bug Howard all donned bathrobes. The country, they felt, was sleeping on them.

No one should be sleeping on Switzer after that Pitt game. One rival coach definitely isn't. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who hosts the Tar Heels on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium, gushed over Switzer's abilities in his weekly press conference.

"He can stick his foot into the ground, he knows how to set you up and change speeds, Fisher said. "He knows where the hole is going to be. He knows where he's trying to get to. He can stop and stick his foot and be really fast. …

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