Heels, Blue Devils, Wolfpack all winners
By AARON BEARD
AP Sports Writer
CHAPEL HILL (AP) — Michael Carter ran for a career-high 214 yards and two touchdowns — including a 62-yarder midway through the fourth quarter — to help eighth-ranked North Carolina beat No. 19 Virginia Tech 56-45 on Saturday.
The Tar Heels (3-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) leaned on a dominating running game. Javonte Williams also ran for a career-best 169 yards and two scores of his own, with both backs finding gaping lanes and weaving through defenders to keep the chains moving on the way to 399 yards on the ground.
UNC said it was only the second time in program history that the Tar Heels had seen two players crack the 150-yard mark in the same game, the other coming 39 years earlier.
Throw in Sam Howell’s three touchdown passes, and UNC finished with its highest scoring output ever against the Hokies along with 656 total yards — the No. 2 total ever posted against Virginia Tech’s defense, which was severely depleted in the secondary.
Carter’s huge run around the right side with 8:49 left finally gave the Tar Heels some cushion after they had seen the Hokies rally from a 42-17 deficit early in the third quarter to make it a one-possession game entering the fourth quarter.
Khalil Herbert ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns for Virginia Tech (2-1, 2-1), which again played shorthanded due to a combination of coronavirus and injury issues. Hendon Hooker, a returning starting quarterback who had yet to play this year, threw for two scores and ran for another.
This was UNC’s first home game since Gov. Roy Cooper announced the state would ease public -gathering restrictions related to the pandemic by allowing schools to fill 7% of their stadium capacity for fans. That cleared the way for 3,535 fans scattered about the 50,500-seat Kenan Stadium.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies have gone from being down 23 players and two full-time coaches against North Carolina State, to 21 players and two coaches against Duke, and then 15 players Saturday. Hooker’s return was a promising sign as he took over fully for Braxton Burmeister after halftime, along with the Hokies’ third-quarter run of 20 straight points — fueled by an onside-kick recovery — to pull within 42-37 entering the fourth. But the defense gave up way too many big plays nearly all day as coach Justin Fuente had to piece together a secondary with few options at safety.
UNC: The Tar Heels had won five straight games dating to last year, with four straight lopsided margins followed by a close win at Boston College last weekend. They looked on their way to another blowout with three straight scoring drives to open the game while taking leads of 21-0 and 35-14 despite being down three defensive starters. That third-quarter stumble aside, the Tar Heels rolled much of the day with an offense that looked equally as prolific whether throwing or running.
The Tar Heels turned in an impressive performance for much of the day that could inch them up in the AP Top 25, while the Hokies could slide after trailing the entire way.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies host Boston College next Saturday.
UNC: The Tar Heels visit Florida State next Saturday.
Duke overcomes turnovers, beats Syracuse 38-24
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Chase Brice threw for two touchdowns, Mataeo Durant rushed for 163 yards and two more scores, and Deon Jackson rushed for a career-high 169 yards and Duke finally won a game, holding off Syracuse 38-24 on Saturday.
Duke (1-4, 1-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) won despite three lost fumbles and an interception, but Syracuse (1-3, 1-3) only turned them into seven points. The Blue Devils entered the game with 15 turnovers, the most in the nation, while Syracuse was second nationally in turnovers gained with 10.
On this day, it finally didn’t matter for the Blue Devils, who used the backfield tandem of Jackson and Durant to wreak considerable havoc while the Syracuse offense sputtered. Quarterback Tommy DeVito never found any sort of rhythm, misfiring repeatedly on long throws, and failed to capitalize on any of the turnovers. He finished 13-of-26 passing for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He was injured when sacked early in the fourth quarter for the fifth time and replaced by Rex Culpepper.
Duke came from behind with two touchdowns late in the second quarter to gain a 14-point halftime lead. Durant’s 15-yard run and Brice’s 52-yard pass to Jarrett Garner with a minute to go made it 24-10 and sapped some energy from the Orange after a big play by its defense in the first minute of the quarter.
Brice lost the ball when he was hit from behind by Cam Jonas and Orange linebacker Geoff Cantin-Arku scooped it up and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown and a 14-10 lead. Brice finished 22 of 38 for 270 yards, one yard off his career high.
Syracuse closed to 27-21 in the third when DeVito hit tight end Luke Benson on the left side for a 53-yard score.
Charlie Ham added his third field goal, a 21-yarder, late in the third for a 30-21 lead and Andre Szmyt responded with a 48-yarder for the Orange with just over 10 minutes left in the fourth.
Durant sealed it with a 3-yard run late in the fourth.
Duke took the opening kickoff and marched quickly downfield, scoring in seven plays, capped by Brice’s pretty 26-yard toss to Jalon Calhoun on a crossing pattern. Jackson ripped off a 20-yard run early in the drive to set the tone for the game for the Blue Devils, who repeatedly racked up big gains on the ground in the first half. They outrushed Syracuse 179-15 in the opening quarter, with Jackson netting 94, including a 50-yard run, and Durant adding 63, including a 48-yarder.
Syracuse struck back in two plays as DeVito hit Taj Harris in stride down the right side for a 79-yard touchdown.
Duke went up 10-7 on Ham’s 36-yard field goal late in the first, compliments of a drop on a potential interception by Syracuse’s Trill Williams, who lost the ball after it caromed off his chest.
Last year, Syracuse rushed for 286 yards, led by a pair of 100-yard rushers in Moe Neal and Jarveon Howard in a 49-6 win. The Orange scored four rushing touchdowns and the defense held the Blue Devils to 157 yards passing. On this day, the ground game belonged to Duke, which outrushed Syracuse 247-39 in the first half, averaging just over seven yards a carry, ran 30 more plays, and had 22 first downs to five for the Orange. The Blue Devils finished with 282 yards rushing.
Syracuse was coming off a bye week after their first win of the season, 37-20 over Georgia Tech in the first game in the refurbished Carrier Dome.
NO CISCO KID
Preseason first-team All-American safety Andre Cisco, the rover in the Orange’s new 3-3-5 defensive scheme, did not play for the second straight game. He suffered a lower body injury in a collision in pregame warmups before Georgia Tech.
Duke: The Blue Devils finally demonstrated they can win despite the mistakes. They had just one turnover in a 38-31 loss last week to Virginia Tech but the lost fumbles and an interception against Syracuse indicate that’s still a problem. The backfield tandem of Jackson and Durant creates problems for opponents.
Syracuse: The Orange finally found that missing link in the run game in the previous game with freshman Sean Tucker, who rushed for 112 yards and two scores against Georgia Tech two weeks ago, but he was not a factor against
Duke. The Orange offense needs better balance. Not being able to take advantage of the turnovers doomed them.
Duke is at North Carolina State next Saturday.
Syracuse continues a four-game homestand with a game against Liberty next Saturday.
Leary, Knight lead Wolfpack past Virginia, 38-21
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Devin Leary threw two touchdown passes and Zonovan Knight ran for 101 yards and two scores, leading North Carolina State to a 38-21 victory over Virginia on Saturday.
Leary hit Trent Pennix with a 5-yard scoring pass and Cary Angeline with a 32-yarder as the Wolfpack (3-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) built a 24-0 lead in the first half. Knight scored on runs of 35 and 2 yards, the latter score cementing the victory with 1:49 to play.
The meeting was just the second between the teams since 2012 and the Cavaliers (1-2, 1-2) proved generous hosts. They threw three interceptions, lost a fumble and had a punt blocked. Alim McNeill returned one of the interceptions 18 yards for a touchdown.
Virginia also lost quarterback Brennan Armstrong to an injury late in the first half and turned to seldom-used senior Lindell Stone, who finished 30 of 53 for 240 yards.
Leary was 11 for 25 for 184 yards and one interception.
Stone threw three touchdown passes in relief of Armstrong, but also threw the pass that McNeill got a hand on, tipping it to himself and taking it to the end zone to put N.C. State ahead 31-14 with 11:10 remaining.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack’s dominant first half could have been even more impressive but what appeared to be a spectacular one-handed touchdown catch by Porter Rooks was overturned and Christopher Dunn hit the crossbar with a 51-yard field-goal attempt.
Virginia: Armstrong left the game late in the first half after getting up slowly following a 3-yard run. The Cavaliers also had an apparent touchdown taken away when the officials ruled Wayne Taulapapa had come up a yard short after initially signaling that he’d scored. Virginia tried two runs by Armstrong from the 1-yard line and got stuffed both times.
The Wolfpack is at home against Duke next Saturday.
The Cavaliers travel to Wake Forest next Saturday.
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