After suffering a letdown on the road against Georgia Tech last weekend, the North Carolina football team (3-2, 2-2 ACC) kept the victory bell Saturday, routing rival Duke (3-2, 0-1 ACC), 38-7.
Both offenses were held silent late into the first quarter until junior Sam Howell tossed a 75-yard touchdown pass to graduate transfer running back Ty Chandler on a wheel route to give the Tar Heels an early 7-0 lead.
On their first drive of the second quarter, the Blue Devils got the ball moving, picking up two first downs on two rushes. After throwing two incompletions on their third set of downs, sophomore defensive lineman Kevin Hester was able to bust through the line for UNC to force a fumble on a 3-yard sack. It was recovered by senior safety Trey Morrison and returned 63 yards for a touchdown to extend the Tar Heel lead to 14.
Midway through the second, the UNC offense struck again on its second drive of the quarter, scoring on a two-yard touchdown pass to sophomore tight end Kamari Morales. The red zone catch for Morales marked his third straight game with a touchdown reception.
On their last drive of the quarter, the Tar Heels marched the ball down the field for 54 yards on nine plays, but were forced to settle with a field goal to make the score 24-0 heading into halftime. After being held scoreless in the first half, the Blue Devils put themselves on the scoreboard on their first play of the second half with an 80-yard touchdown catch from junior receiver Jalon Calhoun.
Early in the fourth quarter, the UNC offense responded, capping off an 83-yard drive with a 14-yard rushing touchdown from Chandler to extend the lead back to 24. To cap things off, the Tar Heel offense added another score midway through the fourth quarter when Howell connected with sophomore receiver Josh Downs for a 63-yard touchdown.
Who stood out?
Chandler led the way for the UNC offense, scoring a touchdown on the ground and through the air. The shifty Tar Heel running back accounted for 140 total yards, with 87 receiving yards and 53 rushing yards. Sophomore receiver Josh Downs also had another outstanding game, catching eight passes for 168 yards and one touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Tar Heels relied upon a group effort with five sacks from sophomores Myles Murphy, Kevin Hester Jr., junior Chris Collins, and brothers Tomon and Tomari Fox. The UNC defense also accounted for two turnovers off of a forced fumble by Hester and an interception from junior safety Cam’Ron Kelly.
When was it decided?
The score remained close through the first quarter, but the Tar Heels were able to pull away in the second, scoring 17 unanswered points to head into halftime with a 24-point advantage. For a Duke offense that struggled to convert on opportunities all day, the three-possession advantage ended up being insurmountable.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels were able to add another conference win to their record after losing their second ACC contest against the Yellow Jackets last weekend. UNC was also able to add another tally to its win streak against the Blue Devils under Mack Brown, who has yet to lose to against the rival from Durham since his return to Chapel Hill.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will be back in action again next Saturday in Kenan Stadium against the Florida State Seminoles for their fifth ACC contest of the season. The kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. or 3:30 p.m.
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