ACC Football: Louisville 39, UNC 34: Salisbury's Morris shines for Tar Heels
LOUISVILLE - North Carolina may have gotten beaten 39-34 by Louisville on Saturday but the Tar Heels found a receiving threat.
Out of the backfield.
Salisbury's redshirt freshman tailback Romar Morris helped the Tar Heels rally from a 36-7 halftime deficit. He caught five passes for 149 yards, scored twice and ran four times for 23 yards.
Louisville scored on its first six possessions thanks to three first-half touchdowns and 218 yards by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He finished 23 of 28 for 279.
But Louisville went from cruising to 3-0 to desperately trying to remain undefeated.
Andrew Johnson deflected a fourth-down pass in the end zone by North Carolina's Bryn Renner with 1:53 left to salvage the win.
Renner settled down from a rough first half to rally the Tar Heels (1-2) with four second-half touchdowns, including a screen pass to Morris for a 50-yard touchdown with 4:23 remaining.
North Carolina's Norkeithus Otis then forced Adrian Bushell to fumble the ensuing kickoff, and the Tar Heels recovered at the Cardinals' 10. But after moving to the 3, North Carolina was penalized for a false start. Two plays later Renner's pass for Highsmith was batted away by Johnson.
Renner was 26-of-41 passing for 363 yards with one interception.
"I thought second half we came back and competed our butts off," Renner said.
It marked a second consecutive close loss for North Carolina (1-2), which rallied from a 21-14 deficit to briefly lead at Wake Forest before ultimately falling 28-27. It was also the Tar Heels second straight game without star tailback Giovani Bernard. Receiver Jheranie Boyd also sat out.
At the start, North Carolina was out of sync and dug its hole with two first-half turnovers that Louisville quickly converted.
"We came out playing football from another universe or something," Tar Heels tight end Eric Ebron said.
Right after Louisville marched 62 yards for its first touchdown and a 6-0 lead, Renner lofted a pass right at Louisville's Marcus Smith.
After John Wallace's 22-yard field goal made it 15-0, Renner hit Morris for 15 yards, which would have left the Tar Heels with fourth down. But he fumbled after coming down with the ball, upheld on review, and was recovered by Adrian Bushell at North Carolina's 45.
North Carolina got on the board with Renner's 44-yard scoring pass to Morris, cutting the lead to 29-7.
The junior also hit Eric Ebron for a 2-yard TD in the third quarter and Highsmith for a 9-yard score early in the fourth.