UNC crushes Old Dominion 80-20 to attain bowl eligibility
When the final score from North Carolina basketball’s 82-72 win over Richmond came up on the videoboard at Kenan Stadium Saturday, UNC’s football team came up with an audacious goal: Outscore the basketball team.
It almost happened, despite a unique agreement by both coaches to shorten the fourth quarter to just 10 minutes.
The Tar Heels scored 80 points through three quarters and set school records for points, total yards (721) and yards per play (10.6) in an 80-20 win over Old Dominion that made UNC (6-5) bowl eligible after a 1-5 start.
“We wanted Coach to let us kick the field goal (in the final minutes) so we could get 83, but that didn’t happen,” quarterback Marquise Williams said. “It felt good. We were clicking on special teams and everything. I wish we could have gotten 83 so we could have bragged with the basketball boys, but it was great.”
In his third game since replacing injured senior Bryn Renner, Williams finished 20 of 27 for 409 yards and five touchdowns — all in the first half — and also ran five times for 60 yards in setting a school record for total offense.
Williams led an offense that had six touchdowns of at least 40 yards and nine touchdown drives of less than minute.
Freshman Ryan Switzer became the second player in NCAA history to return a punt for a touchdown in three straight games and also caught 43- and 57-yard touchdown passes, while freshman T.J. Logan had a 99-yard kickoff return and ran 14 times for 137 yards and three scores.
Old Dominion (8-4), which finished 1-4 against FBS teams as it transitions up from the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) this year to the Football Bowl Subdivision (I-A) and Conference USA membership next season, used an onside kick and a fumbled punt by UNC safety Tré Boston to take an early 10-7 lead. But the Tar Heels scored TDs on their next eight possessions en route to 80 points, the second-most ever by an ACC team. Clemson beat Wake Forest 82-24 in 1981.
Senior defensive end Kareem Martin had two sacks and freshman Brian Walker had four pass break-ups as the defense held ODU quarterback Taylor Heinicke — who won the Walter Payton Award for best offensive player in the FCS last season — to 14 of 31 passing for 130 yards.
After being banned from a bowl game in 2012 because of NCAA sanctions, the Tar Heels are back in the postseason this year as a result of their first five-game winning streak since 2001.
“At 1-5 five weeks ago, I couldn’t tell you how rough that was for me,” senior cornerback Jabari Price said. “Guys probably could have went the other way, could have turned it in, could have went 2-10, but they didn’t. Guys kept practicing hard, they kept pushing each other, they showed up to workouts, and it ended up paying off.”
Indeed, the Tar Heels were so dominant Saturday that ODU coach Bobby Wilder asked referee Jeff Flanagan if the game could be cut by five minutes. UNC coach Larry Fedora agreed to the plan.
“I felt like that was in the best interest of my team,” Wilder said. “There certainly wasn’t anything good that was going to come from the score getting any more lopsided than it already was. … That’s probably the most difficult thing I think I’ve done in 26 years of coaching.”
Fedora said that some of his coaches wanted to play the full game to give the backups more experience, but he wanted to win with class and not embarrass anybody.
“It’s a very uncomfortable situation, actually, for me,” Fedora said. “But that staff on the other side, they have families. Those kids on the other side have been working their butt off. I think we accomplished what we needed to accomplish.”
|NORTH CAROLINA 80, OLD DOMINION 20|
NC_Q.Davis 56 pass from Williams (T.Moore kick), 13:53.
ODU_FG Brown 37, 11:43.
ODU_Goodwyn 4 run (Brown kick), 5:43.
NC_Thorpe 27 pass from Williams (T.Moore kick), 5:05.
ODU_FG Brown 40, 2:39.
NC_Logan 1 run (T.Moore kick), 14:56.
NC_Switzer 43 pass from Williams (T.Moore kick), 12:22.
NC_Switzer 57 pass from Williams (T.Moore kick), 7:50.
NC_Logan 1 run (T.Moore kick), 2:31.
NC_Singleton 16 pass from Williams (T.Moore kick), 1:07.
NC_Francis 28 run (T.Moore kick), 13:31.
ODU_Thomas 2 pass from Heinicke (Brown kick), 12:27.
NC_Logan 99 kickoff return (Johnson kick), 12:15.
NC_FG T.Moore 38, 9:44.
NC_Logan 63 run (Johnson kick), 5:33.
NC_Switzer 64 punt return (Johnson kick), 3:50.
|Time of Possession||28:52||31:08|
RUSHING_Old Dominion, Ge.Johnson 9-143, Goodwyn 10-57, Boyd 8-30,
Heinicke 6-9, Washington 5-(minus 14). North Carolina, Logan 14-137,
Williams 5-60, Brunson 7-54, Francis 4-36, Morris 4-12, Switzer 4-11,
Coker 1-6, Team 1-(minus 4).
PASSING_Old Dominion, Heinicke 14-31-0-130, Washington 1-3-0-16.
North Carolina, Williams 20-27-0-409, Coker 1-1-0-0.
RECEIVING_Old Dominion, Pinkard 3-48, Thomas 3-19, Boyd 3-8,
Roberts 2-36, Goodwyn 2-7, Pascal 1-26, Vaughan 1-2. North Carolina,
Switzer 5-118, Q.Davis 4-124, Tabb 2-55, Singleton 2-32, Howard 2-29,
Thorpe 1-27, Ebron 1-11, Tapley 1-8, Logan 1-5, D.McNeill 1-0,