KENAN MEMORIAL STADIUM/CHAPEL HILL -- UNC quarterback T.J. Yates and the Heels' passing game finally started clicking Saturday as they lead 20-7 bolstered by three Miami turnovers.
Offensive coordinator John Shoop continued his innovative play design by using fake reverses to get receivers and backs open for short completions.
Kendric Burney picked off two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and Da'Norris Searcy also caught an interception to stall the Miami offense, which effectively moved the ball against UNC's defense but managed only seven first-half points because of turnovers and miscues.
KENAN MEMORIAL STADIUM/CHAPEL HILL -- Both UNC and FSU took advantage of the bye week to implement new offensive formations, but through the first 30 minutes, the Tar Heels had more big plays through the air, leading to a 17-6 halftime advantage.
The Tar Heels and Seminoles motioned out of sets and ran gadget plays, which made for an entertaining half.
UNC fullback Bobby Rome competed a 31-yard pass to Greg Little off a trick play to set up the first score of the game -- a 5-yard reverse by Little.
FSU kicker Dustin Hopkins nailed two field goals, including a 26-yard kick just before halftime.
Kenan Memorial Stadium/Chapel Hill -- UNC's linebackers stole the show in the first half as each starter forced a turnover.
The fifth longest fumble return in school history pushed the Heels ahead by 14, and linebacker Zach Brown intercepted Lee Chapple on the ensuing possession to put this game out of reach early for the Golden Eagles.
And to make matters worse for Georgia Southern, Bruce Carter picked off one of those pesky bubble screens and returned it 41 yards to make it 35-7.
UNC converted four Georgia Southern turnovers into 28 points. The offense, meanwhile, didn't exactly run the Golden Eagles off the field but put together an impressive touchdown scoring drive with six seconds to play.
Kenan Memorial Stadium/Chapel Hill -- North Carolina's offense continued its struggles, scoring zero points and drawing several drive-killing penalties against the Cavaliers (0-3).
UNC has scored only one touchdown in the first quarter through the first five games but outscored opponents 37-13 in the second quarter.
Key play of the half: Offensive tackle Mike Ingersoll drew a 15-yard personal foul penalty that ruined UNC's best chance at scoring in the first half. Before this game, UNC led the ACC in fewest penalty yards (31.5 per game) but committed three penalties for 40 yards in the first half alone.
Key Player(s) of the half: The punters dominated the first half, pinning the already poor offenses deep. UNC's Grant Schallock and UVa's Jimmy Howell punted a total of 10 times and each averaged nearly 45 yards per punt. UNC last punted the ball more than 10 times in a game back in 2001 against Texas (12 punts).
What to watch in the second half: Defensive end Robert Quinn recorded two sacks in the first half and harassed UVa quarterback Jameel Sewell throughout the first half, and Marvin Austin forced a fumble that was recovered by Sewell just before the half. If the Cavaliers control the pass rush, the offense has shown they can do enough to win the game.
UNC, meanwhile, will have to make drastic adjustments at the half. Virginia's defense is decent ... but UNC is making them look like the Baltimore Ravens.
TV/RAYCOM -- One half, zero points, 52 total yards. Sound familiar? UNC's offense looked worse than it did against UConn two weeks ago if that's even possible.
The Carolina defense woke up in the second quarter and slowed down the Yellow Jackets, keeping what should have been a blowout a manageable game.
Erik Highsmith caught a 30-yard pass that set up the Heels in scoring position, but Casey Barth missed a 32-yard field goal that would've broken the shutout and given the Heels some momentum heading into the half.
Key series of the half: Roddy Jones 13-yard touchdown rumble set the tone for the first half after the Yellow Jackets smashed the Heels nearly the entire length of the field, facing only one third down.
Georgia Tech's first offensive series resulted in more rushing yards (88) than Carolina has allowed in any of its first three games.
And it didn't stop after the first possession. The Yellow Jackets held the ball for over 18 of 30 minutes played and can put the Heels away with a score on their first possession of the second half.
KENAN STADIUM/ CHAPEL HILL—UNC's Ryan Houston bullied his way in for a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Heels a 21-14 halftime lead with 2:57 left in the second quarter.
ECU receiver Dwayne Harris' 6-yard touchdown run out of the wildcat formation tied the game at 14 with 6:22 left in the second quarter. The touchdown was set up by a crazy fake reverse run/pass/nobody knew who had the ball type of play. Harris actually completed a 35-yard pass to Joe Womack on the play.
Key series of the half: UNC backup quarterback A.J. Blue fumbled the snap on the second Carolina possession of the game, setting up a 7-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Pinkney to Jamar Bryant to give ECU a 7-0 lead ... but the ensuing celebration drew a 15-yard penalty.
The Heels responded by marching down the field and tied the game on a 16-yard touchdown pass from T.J. Yates to Erik Highsmith -- his first career receiving touchdown ... but he too drew a penalty for excessive celebration.
UNC's offensive line looked impressive on the scoring drive, creating room for an 18-yard reverse run by freshman receiver Jheranie Boyd. Running back Shaun Draughn chipped in a 15-yard rush and played much better in the first half than last week against UConn.
Kenan Memorial Stadium/Chapel Hill -- UNC leads The Citadel 23-0 at the half, running over The Citadel on both offense and defense.
The Bulldogs' Joseph Boateng intercepted a pass with less than a minute to play in the half, returning it to inside the Carolina 5-yard line before Bart Blanchard threw his third interception and Deunta Williams caught his second pick of the half.
The Tar Heel front seven limited the Bulldogs to 73 total yards in the first half while the offense churned out 108 yards on the ground, including Shaun Draughn's 84 yards. And three interceptions thrown by Blanchard ruined The Citadel's scoring opportunities.
The tens of thousands of you who used to subscribe to the Durham Herald-Sun might remember me.
I was a sportswriter there for 24 years, covering just about everything from the Durham Bulls to N.C. Central football and basketball to the Carolina Hurricanes to women's basketball at Duke and UNC to high school sports to spot coverage at N.C. State to USA Baseball and gosh knows what else.
But back on May 15, Paxton Media Group-which owns dozens of itsy-bitsy newspapers scattered throughout the Midwest and Southeast-decided to cancel that show and send eight or nine good, loyal employees packing along with me.
SMITH CENTER/CHAPEL HILL -- North Carolina senior Rashanda McCants started senior night on a tear, scoring 11 points in the first half and pushing the Tar Heels to a 46-34 halftime lead against the Miami Hurricanes Thursday.
Three different seniors scored early for UNC's first six points after being honored prior to tip-off.
The No. 9 North Carolina Tar Heels trailed 17-15 nearly halfway through the first half after numerous turnovers and allowing Miami to shoot wide open jumpers in transition, forcing head coach Sylvia Hatchell to burn a timeout -- a Roy Williams no-no.
Hatchell and Williams' philosophies just about only differ when it comes to timeouts. Both teams use half-court traps and the full-court press to fuel their fast-pace offense.
The Tar Heels did an excellent job keeping the Hurricanes from scoring at the rim but continued to give up wide open jump shots, allowing the Hurricanes to convert five 3-pointers, including 4-7 3-point shooting from Miami's Epiphany Woodson.
Off the bench, Jessica Breland grabbed seven rebounds and nailed several big shots for the Tar Heels and pushed the lead to 35-25 with 5:28 to play.