North Carolina

UNC falters late against Louisville, losing 47-35, after big game by Lamar Jackson

Louisville's Lamar Jackson (8) evades a tackle attempt by UNC's Tomon Fox (12) during the second quarter in a game between UNC and Louisville at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill on Sept. 9, 2017.
Louisville's Lamar Jackson (8) evades a tackle attempt by UNC's Tomon Fox (12) during the second quarter in a game between UNC and Louisville at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill on Sept. 9, 2017. cseward@newsobserver.com

No matter how well North Carolina played offensively Saturday against No. 17 ranked Louisville, it could not stop Lamar Jackson.

Jackson, the reigning Heisman trophy winner, recorded 525 total yards, the most by a single player against UNC, and the Cardinals won 47-35. He also added six touchdowns (three passing and three rushing).

“When you’re in a situation in one-on-one with him in space, he’s going to win,” UNC coach Larry Fedora said. “And there’s times when you’re in a two-on-one, and he’s going to win. There aren’t a lot of guys that can do that.

“He’s special.”

The game was back and forth, and UNC had a shot in the fourth quarter.

Down by five, 33-28, and facing a fourth-and-1 from Louisville’s 30-yard line, the Tar Heels decided to go for it. But transfer quarterback Brandon Harris threw an incomplete pass, and the Tar Heels turned the ball over on downs.

“As a competitor any time a coach says they want to go for it on fourth down, I want to do everything in my will to get this fourth down completed or executed in any type of fashion,” Harris said, “and we just came up short.”

Louisville (2-0, 1-0 ACC) took over, and Jackson engineered a five-play, 70-yard touchdown drive in just under two minutes, to put the Cardinals ahead 40-28.

On its next drive, UNC got the ball all the way to Louisville’s 3-yard line, but could not score.

Louisville added one more touchdown on a 99-yard drive for good measure.

There will still be questions at quarterback for UNC. But this time it will be because both played well on Saturday. Chazz Surratt played the first half of the game, before appearing to have sustained an injury. He was seen on the sideline in the second half pedaling on a bicycle. He completed 12 of 14 passes for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Brandon Harris played the entire second half. He completed 17 of 23 passes for 216 yards and 1 touchdown.

UNC now falls to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in the ACC. It is the first time the Tar Heels have started 0-2 since 2010.

The Cardinals finished with 705 yards of total offense. Jackson completed 25 of 39 passes for 393 yards. He ran for 132 yards on 19 rushing attempts.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @jonmalexander

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