College football: No. 12 Tar Heels hold on to edge Boston College

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 4, 2020

Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — North Carolina safety Trey Morrison stepped in front of the 2-point conversion attempt and saw a path to the other end zone, 99 yards away.

He went for it, and sealed a long-awaited victory for the 12th-ranked Tar Heels.

Morrison intercepted Phil Jurkovec’s pass on the potential game-tying 2-point play and ran it back for a score with 45 seconds left Saturday to help North Carolina beat Boston College 26-22 for its pandemic-delayed second victory of the season.

With the cancellation of one game because of the coronavirus and a scheduled off week leaving North Carolina idle since Sept. 12, the Tar Heels (2-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) sent BC (2-1, 1-1) to its first loss under new coach Jeff Hafley.

Carolina had nine penalties, a missed field goal and a mental error on a kickoff return that led to BC’s first touchdown.

“We were concerned about the three weeks off, and having a sloppy game,” coach Mack Brown said. “And that’s just what happened.”

Sam Howell completed 14 of 26 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns, including a 41-yard score to Javonte Williams that gave Carolina a 21-13 lead with just over a minute left in the first half. Williams ran for 57 yards and caught two passes for 56, and Michael Carter carried 16 times for 121 yards for the Tar Heels.

North Carolina led 24-16 with just under six minutes left before Jurkovec drove BC into Tar Heels territory and completed three passes in the end zone. The first two were negated by penalties, but a 6-yard pass to C.J. Lewis made it a two-point game with 45 seconds left, with the 2-point conversion to come.

Jurkovec scrambled and threw to the end zone, but Morrison picked him off and ran down the left sideline for the rare defensive 2-point conversion.

“I just saw the ball in the air and I just went to go get it,” Morrison said. “I just caught the ball and I just ran it all the way back.”

A week after rallying to beat Texas State — a three-touchdown underdog — Boston College almost pulled off another comeback for what would have been its first victory over a ranked team since 2014. Just as he did last week, Hafley told his team that it would be up for grabs at the end.

“I told them all week we were going to win it in the fourth, and we were in a position to,” he said. “We just came up short on the two-point conversion.”

Jurkovec completed 37 of 56 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns, hitting tight end Hunter Long nine times for 96 yards. Boston College, which led the ACC in rushing last year behind A.J. Dillon’s third straight 1,000-yard season, totaled just 40 yards rushing.

The Eagles traded field goals for touchdowns most of the game but still had a chance after forcing a 47-yard field goal attempt that Grayson Atkins missed wide to the left with 5:46 to play. Jurkovec connected on a 10-yard pass to Lewis, who was called for offensive pass interference, and later a 22-yard strike to Long that was negated by a holding call.


It was 14-13 with just over a minute left in the first half when Howell scrambled across the BC logo at midfield and — straddling the line of scrimmage — found Williams in the middle. Catching the ball at about the 25, he eluded two tacklers on his way to the end zone. (A replay confirmed Howell’s back leg was behind the line when he threw the ball.)

Again, BC drove deep into Carolina territory, with Jurkovec completing five straight passes at one point. But the Eagles came away with just Aaron Boumerhi’s field goal, a 30-yarder that was his third of the game.


Falling behind after answering a pair of touchdowns with two field goals, the Eagles got one break when the Tar Heels called for a fair catch on a kickoff that bounced. That left them on their own 4 yard-line.

Two plays later, Jahmin Muse deflected Howell’s pass into the air and Brandon Sebastian fielded it to give BC the ball at the Carolina 5. Three plays after that, Jurkovec hit David Bailey for a score that made it 14-13.


The Tar Heels should remain ranked for another week.


North Carolina: The Tar Heels improved to 6-2 vs. BC, with a 4-0 record in the ACC, but Brown had never faced the Eagles.

Boston College: BC was going for its first 3-0 start since 2007 and just its second in a half century. Instead, Hafley will try to regroup before next week’s game against Pittsburgh.

North Carolina: After having two weeks off because of the cancellation of the Charlotte game, the Tar Heels return home to play Virginia Tech — the first of six straight games until Thanksgiving.

Boston College: Next week’s game is against a Panthers team that will likely drop out of the Top 25 after losing 30-29 to North Carolina State on Saturday.


More AP college football: and

Virginia Tech 38, Duke 31

DURHAM (AP) — Khalil Herbert ran for 208 yards and two touchdowns, including a 60-yard score with 2:20 left, to help the shorthanded Hokies hold off Duke.

The Kansas graduate transfer’s huge day included an 83-yard kickoff return that set up a short third-quarter scoring drive for the Hokies (2-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). They were down 21 players and two full-time coaches due to a combination of coronavirus and injury.

Deon Jackson scored twice on the ground for the Blue Devils (0-4, 0-4). Chase Brice threw for 271 yards and a touchdown for Duke, off to its worst start in 14 years. “We have enough playmakers to win football games,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “It’s the most unique time in college football, most unique time in my career, so I don’t know what you have to do step by step.”

Fla. State 41, Jacksonville State 24

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Jordan Travis came off the bench to lead the Seminoles to touchdowns on five straight drives. He completed 13 of 18 passes for 215 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown pass to Keyshawn Helton. The redshirt sophomore also added a touchdown run, one of four TD runs from the Seminoles .

Florida State (1-2) trailed 14-0 in the first quarter and went scoreless on four opening drives under the direction of true freshman quarterback Tate Rodemaker.

Wake Forest 66, Campbell 14

WINSTON-SALEM (AP) — Christian Beal-Smith ran for three touchdowns and Donavon Greene returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown as the Demon Deacons won Friday night.

Wake Forest (1-2) matched the fourth-most points in program history, aided by collecting four Campbell turnovers.

Beal-Smith scored from 2 and 10 yards out in the first quarter, giving the redshirt junior his first career two-touchdown game. He tacked on a 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Kenneth Walker III scored on a 12-yard run, Sam Hartman threw a touchdown pass and Zion Keith returned an interception 45 yards for a score as part of Wake Forest’s domination of Campbell (0-4), a Football Championship Subdivision program.

Top 25

No. 2 Alabama 52, No. 13 Texas A&M 24: In Tuscaloosa, Ala., Mac Jones launched his first pass far to John Metchie III for a 78-yard touchdown and passed for a career-high 435 yards and four touchdowns as the Crimson Tide romped.

TCU 33, No. 9 Texas 31: In Austin, Texas, the Longhorns ran out of comebacks against Max Duggan and TCU. The Horned Frogs quarterback ran for the go-ahead score with 4 minutes left and the defense made it stand with a goal-line fumble recovery to beat No. 9 Texas in a game that had 26 penalties and ended with TCU taking a safety to run out the final seconds.

In doing so, the Horned Frogs (1-1, 1-1) dealt another tough blow to the Big 12’s College Football Playoff hopes now that Texas and Oklahoma, the league’s highest-ranked teams at the beginning of the season, each have early home losses to unranked opponents.

TCU coach Gary Patterson is now 7-2 against Texas since TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012.

After Duggan’s touchdown, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger marched the Longhorns to the lip of the end zone. A 52-yard pass to Keaontay Ingram put Texas in scoring position, but Ingram then fumbled on the TCU 1-yard-line with 2:32 to play.

Other games

Georgia State 49, East Carolina 29: In Atlanta, Cornelious Brown IV threw for three touchdowns, including two to Sam Pinckney, and Destin Coates rushed for two scores as Georgia State topped the Pirates. The Panthers (1-1) rolled up 303 yards offense on their way to a 35-13 halftime lead, setting a school record for points in a half.

On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Brown had his pass intercepted in the flat and returned 28 yards for a touchdown by Warren Saba. But the Panthers scored on their next three drives in under seven minutes. The Panthers outgained the Pirates 485-292.

Holton Ahlers was 29-of-50 passing for 242 yards with no scores and three interceptions for ECU (0-2).

Florida Atlantic 21, Charlotte 17: In Boca Raton, Fla., Nick Tronti accounted for three touchdowns, coach Willie Taggart collected his first win as the Owls started their season with awin over Charlotte in Conference USA. Trailing 10-0, Tronti broke loose for a 49-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter, and then tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Logan Peterson. The Owls (1-0, 1-0) forced a fumble on the next series, and Tronti connected with T.J. Chase on a 16-yard touchdown two plays later.

Tre Harbison III bulled in from the 1 for Charlotte to cap the scoring with 13 minutes left. Inside the final two minutes, the 49ers drove to the FAU 9 when time expired.

Chris Reynolds was 24-of-32 passing for 314 yards with a touchdown pass to lead Charlotte (0-2, 0-1).

Army 55, Abilene Christian 23: At West Point, N.Y., Army quarterback Jemel Jones had 14 carries for a career-high 138yards rushing and two touchdowns and added a 33-yard TD pass as the Black Knights cruised. Jones was 4-of-7 passing for 52 yards. Freshman Tyrell Robinson added a season-high 126 yards rushing on seven carries for Army (3-1) and Anthony Adkins ran for 70 yards and two scores.

The Black Knights bounced back after a 24-10 loss at No. 14 Cincinnati on Sept. 26 and won their fifth consecutive home game.  Abilene Christian (0-2) was stopped on fourth down on each of its first two drives and went three-and-out on its third before Army recovered an onside kick and Jakobi Buchanan’s 3-yard TD run made it 23-0 with 10:15 left in the second quarter.

Sandon McCoy, an A.L. Brown standout, scored on a 1-yard run to open the scoring midway through the first quarter.

West Virginia 27, Baylor 21 (2OT): In Morgantown, W.Va., Leddie Brown scored a 3-yard touchdown run in the second overtime after West Virginia’s defense made a stop, and the Mountaineers outlasted Baylor. West Virginia (2-1, 1-1 Big 12) squeaked out the win in a game where mistakes were plentiful.

West Virginia’s defense chased down Baylor’s Charlie Brewer all day. They sacked him six times, had 11 tackles for loss and forced two interceptions. Brewer threw three touchdown passes, but his interception in the second overtime proved costly. West Virginia sophomore Tykee Smith made an over-the-shoulder catch on a pass intended for Trestan Ebner along the line in the back of the end zone. The call was upheld upon review.