KENAN MEMORIAL STADIUM/CHAPEL HILL — Both UNC and FSU took advantage of the bye week to implement new offensive formations, but through the first 30 minutes, the Tar Heels had more big plays through the air, leading to a 17-6 halftime advantage.
The Tar Heels and Seminoles motioned out of sets and ran gadget plays, which made for an entertaining half.
UNC fullback Bobby Rome competed a 31-yard pass to Greg Little off a trick play to set up the first score of the game — a 5-yard reverse by Little.
FSU kicker Dustin Hopkins nailed two field goals, including a 26-yard kick just before halftime.
Key series of the half: Defensive tackle Marvin Austin recovered a fumble after FSU quarterback Christian Ponder was sacked as he was throwing the ball.
The recovery set up a 13-yard touchdown pass from T.J. Yates to tight end Ed Barham — his first career TD reception. UNC motioned into a five-wide shotgun formation on the play and Yates carefully lobbed a pass over the FSU secondary to complete his first TD pass since the Georgia Tech game.
Key stat of the half: Nine penalties for 70 yards destroyed the Seminoles in the first half. An offensive pass interference penalty called back a 60-yard touchdown pass and several defensive penalties allowed the UNC offense to score a field goal after a trick play where Yates acted as though he was communicating with the coaches and Shaun Draughn took a direct snap on fourth-and-3 for a first down.
What to watch for in the second half: More trickery. UNC used several gadget plays to confuse the Seminoles … and they worked. UNC needs to be careful if they want to win this game. If the offense continues to use trick plays in the second half, the Seminoles might pounce on one and turn the game around.
The Seminoles will need big plays from the receiving corps if they hope to get back into this one.