ACC Football: Idaho was overwhelmed by UNC
CHAPEL HILL — For Idaho coach Robb Akey, the first quarter couldn’t have ended fast enough.
The winless Vandals couldn’t get first downs, couldn’t stop North Carolina’s offense and couldn’t keep the Tar Heels from blocking two punts in the opening period of a 66-0 road loss Saturday.
“The positive thing is the game is over,” Akey said. “We didn’t start well, we didn’t play well, Carolina played a hell of a game and we didn’t. I thought we’d come out and play, and I know my players expected to come out and play. We didn’t survive the early onslaught.”
The Tar Heels (3-2) scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and led 28-0 by the end of the quarter despite committing two turnovers. The Vandals (0-5), meanwhile, managed 18 yards and went three-and-out on their first five possessions as the Tar Heels sped out of sight.
Idaho didn’t get a first down until early in the second quarter on a 6-yard run by Ryan Bass. The Vandals never pushed past the North Carolina 36-yard line all afternoon.
“Were our guys ready to play? Yeah,” Akey said. “They feel the same way that I do. We all feel not real good right now. Nobody tries to do what just happened.”
For North Carolina, Gio Bernard scored twice, Bryn Renner threw three touchdown passes and the Tar Heels set a school scoring record.
Freshman Quinshad Davis had two TD catches for the Tar Heels, who had five different players reach the end zone in the first half. North Carolina had 371 yards and 45 points by halftime before finishing with 575 total 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.
Backup quarterback Marquise Williams scored on a 4-yard keeper early in the fourth, breaking the previous record of 65 points against Virginia Medical in 1914 and Wake Forest in 1928.
There were few positives for the Vandals, who had 110 yards by halftime and finished with 189.
In fact, the game looked a lot like North Carolina’s opener against Elon in Larry Fedora’s debut as coach. 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 rest of the game in a largely empty stadium as fans bolted early amid the driving rain and lack of on-field drama.
The win offered North Carolina the chance to build some 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.
Renner completed 14 of 18 passes for 231 yards in the first half, coming in after halftime only to throw an incompletion when Williams had to come out for a play after losing his helmet.
The Vandals, who had seven turnovers in the past two games, also threw two first-half interceptions that led to quick touchdowns and finished with five turnovers.
The game came on North Carolina’s military appreciation day. The Tar Heels had an American flag pattern on the interlocking “NC” logo on their helmets and at midfield.