KENAN STADIUM/ CHAPEL HILLUNC’s Ryan Houston bullied his way in for a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Heels a 21-14 halftime lead with 2:57 left in the second quarter.
ECU receiver Dwayne Harris’ 6-yard touchdown run out of the wildcat formation tied the game at 14 with 6:22 left in the second quarter. The touchdown was set up by a crazy fake reverse run/pass/nobody knew who had the ball type of play. Harris actually completed a 35-yard pass to Joe Womack on the play.
Key series of the half: UNC backup quarterback A.J. Blue fumbled the snap on the second Carolina possession of the game, setting up a 7-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Pinkney to Jamar Bryant to give ECU a 7-0 lead … but the ensuing celebration drew a 15-yard penalty.
The Heels responded by marching down the field and tied the game on a 16-yard touchdown pass from T.J. Yates to Erik Highsmith — his first career receiving touchdown … but he too drew a penalty for excessive celebration.
UNC’s offensive line looked impressive on the scoring drive, creating room for an 18-yard reverse run by freshman receiver Jheranie Boyd. Running back Shaun Draughn chipped in a 15-yard rush and played much better in the first half than last week against UConn.
Key Player(s) of the half: Carolina receiver Boyd juggled and finally caught a 59-yard touchdown pass from Yates; Boyd’s first career reception put the Tar Heels up 14-7 and was set up when UNC’s defensive end E.J. Wilson forced a fumble recovered by cornerback Charles Brown.
Boyd’s 18-yard run on the first scoring drive and the 59-yard catch showed glimpses of the freshman’s speed.
Brown’s recovery ended the Pirates’ drive that started on Carolina’s 28-yard line after a shanked punt.
What to watch in the second half: The quarterback that stays hot in the second half will win this game.
Yates and Pinkney each led two touchdown drives and both teams’ running backs had little to say as the passing games dominated.
Neither quarterback threw an interception, and the bomb from Yates to Boyd was the big difference between the two statistically.
Keep an eye on the punting situation as well. ECU punter Matt Dodge won the field position battle over Carolina punter Grant Schallock, who shanked a punt that gave ECU the ball on Carolina’s 28-yard line.