ACC Football: North Carolina 14, Louisville 7
CHAPEL HILL — Tailback Giovani Bernard and receiver Dwight Jones each scored touchdowns, as North Carolina overcame a slow start to win 14-7 on Saturday against a Louisville team that played without its offensive coordinator.
A Louisville team spokesman confirmed Saturday that Mike Sanford, who did not travel with the team, was still with the program. Quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson called plays during the game.
The Tar Heels (5-1) earned their eighth straight victory over a nonconference opponent. Bernard gained 109 yards on 25 carries to become the first Tar Heel to rush for at least 100 yards in four straight games since Ethan Horton did it five straight games in 1984.
Jones caught a 43-yard scoring strike from quarterback Bryn Renner. Jones won a tug-of-war with two Louisville defenders over the last four yards into the end zone.
Bernard gained 109 yards on 25 carries to become the first Tar Heel to rush for at least 100 yards in four straight games since Ethan Horton did it in five straight games in 1984.
Louisville (2-3) sacked Bryn Renner four times and held North Carolina to 62 yards of offense in the first half to keep the contest close. Cardinals kicker Chris Philpott missed field goals of 40 and 36 yards in the first half.
The Tar Heels nearly stalled out on their first scoring drive when Louisville’s Marcus Smith sacked Renner for the second time in the game, creating a third-and-16.
A 14-yard reception by Christian Wilson made it fourth-and-2 at the Louisville 6, and the Cardinals defensive line then jumped offside, giving North Carolina a first-and-goal from the Louisville 3. Bernard then picked a clear path to the end zone to put the Tar Heels on the board.
Louisville’s only successful drive came late. Freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater connected with tailback Dominique Brown from 18 yards out with 42 seconds left in the game.
The Cardinals owned the first half. The Louisville defense sacked Renner four times and held UNC to 62 yards of offense in the first half to keep it close. But kicker Chris Philpott also missed field goals of 40 and 36 yards in the first half.
After losing its previous two meetings with Louisville 34-0 in 2004 and 69-14 in 2005, North Carolina evened the series at 3-3.
Louisville’s offense, guided by quarterbacks coach, and former Nebraska offensive coordinator, Shawn Watson, was able to move the ball at will, monopolizing the clock with 41 plays to North Carolina’s 18 in the first half.
The disparity didn’t show up in the score. The Cardinals failed to score on three decent chances, including the two field goal misses.
In the other case, early in the second quarter, North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown picked off Bridgewater on second-and-17 from the North Carolina 30 to halt a 16-play Cardinals drive.
The Tar Heels offense made enough mistakes to limit their own chances. Carolina’s four first-half possessions ended in a punt, a dropped third-and-long pass that would have put the Heels deep in Cardinal territory, the first fumble of the year by Bernard, and a punt.
The Associated Press