Current Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 16:16:15 -0400
Larry Fedora lived up to his reputation as an aggressive coach even in the second half of North Carolina’s 66-0 romp against Idaho on Saturday, breaking UNC’s record for points scored in a game set in 1928 against Wake Forest.
With the Tar Heels leading 45-0 in the third quarter, Fedora decided to go for it on 4th and 3 at the Idaho 35-yard line.
Marquise Williams, who replaced starting quarterback Bryn Renner at halftime, floated a ball that Quinshad Davis grabbed in front of an Idaho defensive back, sprinting in for a 35-yard touchdown.
“Whenever the ball’s up in the air, I feel like it’s mine, so I just went up there and got it,” Davis said.
The touchdown was Davis’ second on the day and Williams’ first for UNC. Davis had already caught his first collegiate touchdown on a 35-yard pass from Renner in the first quarter. Williams added two more rushing touchdowns later in the second half.
“It’s great to get as many reps as we’ve gotten with them,” Fedora said about UNC’s young offensive players. “That’s only going to pay off for us when those guys have to play for us.”
Early on in the contest, special teams highlighted the difference between the teams.
The Tar Heels blocked two punts in the first half, including Romar Morris’ second blocked punt of the year. Morris blocked a punt in UNC’s failed second-half comeback against Louisville two weeks ago.
“It was just a great feeling because coach Fedora believes in me and puts me on punt-block team every week,” Morris said. “I could’ve had about two or three today but they were holding me and jumped offside.”
In the second quarter, the Vandals committed three consecutive penalties before successfully punting. The penalties included a holding penalty for an illegal block on Morris, who stormed the middle of Idaho’s punt formation for another potential block.
UNC didn’t punt until the first possession of the second half, after Williams had replaced Renner at quarterback.
Five different Tar Heels scored touchdowns in the first half en route to a 45-0 lead, the most points in a first half for UNC since it put up 52 against Duke in 2000.
The Tar Heels opened the scoring on a flea flicker in which Renner handed the ball to Giovani Bernard, who pitched it back for Renner to throw to a 36-yard touchdown to an open Sean Tapley.
Bernard had only two rushing attempts but scored touchdowns on both plays, including a 68-yard run that was the longest of his career.
“It’s something that I pride myself on: Whenever I touch the ball, I’ve got to do something special,” Bernard said. “We wanted to show that we can do it in the first half and not just wait until the second half to come back.”
UNC outgained Idaho by more than 250 yards in the first half, and improved on its 41-0 halftime lead against Elon in the season opener despite two Renner turnovers, an underthrown interception and a fumble on a muffed handoff.
UNC’s opportunistic defense created five turnovers, including interceptions by Tre Boston, Dion Guy, Darien Rankin and T.J. Jiles.
UNC has now outscored opponents 155-6 in three games at Kenan Stadium this season. It’s the first time UNC has had two shutouts in the same season since 1996.
The only consolation for Idaho might be the $800,000 check it will receive from UNC for the trip to Kenan Stadium.