QB Surratt staking claim as North Carolina starter

Sep 18, 2017 - 8:51 PM Though coach Larry Fedora was reluctant to name him the full-time starter, it would take some sort of unforeseen development in practice for Chazz Surratt not to be the starter at quarterback when North Carolina hosts undefeated Duke on Saturday.

The redshirt freshman completed 16 of 24 passes last week in the 53-23 rout of Old Dominion in making his second start. He had one touchdown pass and is yet to throw an interception this season.

Brandon Harris, the LSU transfer who many saw as the replacement for Mitch Trubisky, was in long enough to throw two passes, both of which were incomplete.

For the season, Harris is 24 of 41 passing for 276 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Surratt is 46 of 66 for 588 yards and four scores. He has not been intercepted.

Fedora was asked about Surratt's progress over the last few weeks.

"I would say just in his confidence alone because he is beginning to get comfortable out there," Fedora said. "He is beginning to get comfortable with making mistakes because you're going to make mistakes and it's not going to be the end-all.

"I think he is just getting comfortable out there doing the things that we do. I don't think he is so worried so much. I'm not going to say that the game has slowed down for him so much, but I think he is just more at ease making decisions."

Surratt, of course, will face a much bigger challenge against the Blue Devils, who are off to a 3-0 start for the second time under coach David Cutcliffe. The past two wins have been over Power Five conference members Northwestern and Baylor.

Duke sophomore Daniel Jones has settled in at quarterback and has completed just under 65 percent of his pass attempts for an average of 234 yards a game. He threw for 184 yards last week despite being under heavy pressure from Baylor. He was sacked five times.

Despite losing yardage on sacks, Jones still has 113 yards rushing for the season.

"He's the same guy," Fedora said when asked about the difference he sees in Jones from last year. "He's probably more comfortable now, and they're probably able to do more things with him.

"They're probably more comfortable with some of the calls they're going to make because they know he's going to make good decisions. I think he's a really good player."

The game will be the ACC opener for both. This is the earliest date the teams have met in the series.

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