UNC 66, Idaho 0
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) The points kept coming touchdown after touchdown until North Carolina had a new school record to go with a shutout win.Gio Bernard scored twice, Bryn Renner threw three touchdown passes and the Tar Heels set a single-game scoring record in a 66-0 win against Idaho on Saturday.
The Tar Heels (3-2) had six different players reach the end zone. Backup quarterback Marquise Williams scored on a 4-yard keeper early in the fourth, breaking the previous record of 65 points in shutout wins against Virginia Medical in 1914 and Wake Forest in 1928.
It also marked the first time UNC had two shutouts in the same season since 1996.
“It says this team is very capable of doing some special things,” first-year coach Larry Fedora said. “If we keep preparing the way we’ve prepared the last couple of weeks and we keep playing with a lot of energy, then we can do some really, really good things.”
The Tar Heels finished with 575 yards despite playing in a steady downpour nearly all afternoon. The game was so one-sided that Bernard had just two carries while Renner played one snap after halftime against the Vandals (0-5).
UNC defensive tackle Sylvester Williams said he kept watching the offense on Kenan Stadium’s videoboards as if he was “at home on the couch watching another football game.”
“We’re like fans at that point,” Williams said. “We’ve just got to watch the show maybe ask for an autograph or something when they come off (the field).”
In fact, the game looked a lot like the opener against Elon in Fedora’s debut. The Tar Heels led 41-0 by halftime of that one and spent the second half playing in a nearly empty home stadium fans left early amid stifling heat in a 62-0 win.
This time, the Tar Heels scored three touchdowns in the first eight minutes, led 45-0 by halftime and played the second half in a largely empty stadium as fans bolted early amid the driving rain and lack of on-field drama.
North Carolina had scored at least 60 points 10 times in its first 121 seasons, but has done it twice in five games under Fedora. UNC had never scored 60 points twice in the same season before Saturday.
The win gave North Carolina momentum heading into next week’s home game against Virginia Tech, the first of seven straight Atlantic Coast Conference games to close Fedora’s first season. The Tar Heels have won two straight home games by a combined score of 93-6 and haven’t given up a touchdown since allowing a short scoring pass in the final minute of the first half at Louisville on Sept. 15 a span of 10 quarters.
UNC even blocked two punts in the first half, the first deep in Idaho’s end to set up a 2-yard scoring run from Bernard. The sophomore also broke free for a 68-yard scoring run in the second quarter on what turned out to be his final carry.
Renner completed 14 of 18 passes for 231 yards in the first half, coming in after halftime for one play when Williams had to come out after losing his helmet.
Fedora said his players had focused on getting off to a faster start after sluggish first halves in losses at Wake Forest and Louisville. They did that with 28 points in the first quarter Saturday despite two turnovers by Renner deep in Idaho territory.
North Carolina has now outscored opponents 99-10 in the second half, including 66-0 in the third quarter.
“A lot of people have been really saying, `The Tar Heels are a second-half (team), they can’t do much in the first half,’ but for us, that’s what we really wanted to show,” Bernard said. “We wanted to show everybody we can do it in the first half and with a game like (Virginia Tech) coming up here, we’ve got to start faster.”
There were few positives for the Vandals, who had 110 yards by halftime and finished with 189.
Idaho went three-and-out on its first five possessions and didn’t have a first down until the second quarter. The Vandals, who had seven turnovers in the past two games, had five against UNC.
“You can start to press and stress a little bit about the rocks that can get thrown when you haven’t won a game,” Idaho coach Robb Akey said. “But we can’t listen to that outside world. We’ve got to believe we can make good things happen.”