CHAPEL HILL – UNC won their fourth consecutive game against the Pittsburgh Panthers Saturday, giving them a .500 record for the season.
The game opened up with the Pittsburgh Panthers receiving the kick off and Lafayette Pitt made a strong beginning. Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage kept nailing his throws down the field making it to inside the 10 yard line.
Carolina defense stepped up the defense and didn’t give up the field, forcing Pittsburgh to take a 28 yard field goal. 0-3
UNC didn’t get the same momentum off the first drive as many people were expecting. Their drive only gained 2 yards before the Tar Heels punted the ball back to the Panthers.
Pittsburgh’s second drive once again showed the power of running back James Conner when mixed with Tom Savage. The Panthers drove the ball 61 yards down the field until Kareem Martin came in with a sack forcing a fumble from Savage.
UNC’s Travis Hughes recovered the fumbled ball on the North Carolina 24. This time the Tar Heels made some successful plays and continued to move the ball down field. After 12 plays and 60 yards, Marquis Williams finished off the drive by rushing 16 yards into the in zone.
UNC’s touchdown closed out the first quarter leaving only 38 seconds for Pittsburgh. 7-3
The second quarter began in favor of the Tar Heels by pushing the Panthers back 12 yards and forcing a punt at the beginning.
UNC’s rushing game made for a big presence during their 53 yard drive down the field. They didn’t make to the in-zone, but successfully got a 38 yard field goal giving them a nice lead over the Panthers. 10-3
UNC’s defense continued to be hard hitting, forcing Pittsburgh to make small plays and forcing them to punt the ball after only a 20-yard drive.
UNC kept up the momentum after the punt with an amazing pass to Eric Ebron, gaining 58 yards on the play and moving the ball to the Pittsburgh 32. The Tar Heels kept the pressure up and continued to move the ball down the field with short passes from Williams and a couple rushes from T.J. Logan. Williams made his second touchdown with a 10-yard rush into the in-zone. 17-3
After kicking off the ball back to the Panthers, the Tar Heels defense continued to stop any progress down the field. After a few small plays, Kareem Martin sacked Tom Savage for a 10-yard loss and making the Panthers punt the ball.
UNC finished off the half with a 65-yard kick-off return by Ryan Switzer to secure a lead for the Carolina Tar Heels. 24-3
The Tar Heels didn’t start off the second half with the same momentum and force that they ended with at the half. After gaining a few yards, several incomplete passes forced the Tar Heels to punt the ball.
Carolina Defense again showed their strength by cutting out the Pittsburgh rushing game. Kareem Martin got another great sack on Tom Savage forcing a fumble and recovering the ball at the 12.
Although Carolina got a hold of the ball close to the in-zone, Pittsburgh defense was stopping the Carolina fast-paced offense. After a loss on a rush and a short pass, the Tar Heels didn’t get the first down they needed and took a successful 27-yard field goal. 27-3
The Pittsburgh Panthers answered right back to the Carolina field goal with a powerful drive taking the ball down the field. Several passes by quarterback Tom Savage led to the first downs that allowed the Panthers to continue momentum towards the in-zone. The drive ended with a 33-yard pass to Devin Street for their first touchdown of the game. 27-10
In the fourth quarter the Pittsburgh Panthers stepped up the pressure and made several strong plays. They started out with a 96 yard drive that took the Panthers all the way to the Carolina in-zone. The final play of the drive was an 8 yard pass to Isaac Bennett for the touchdown. 27-17
On receiving the kick off, UNC slowly pushed the ball a few yards up the field until a holding penalty and fumble switched possession back to the Panthers on Carolina territory.
The Tar Heels kept up the defense again and Otis sacked Tom Savage to keep them from getting a first down. The Pittsburgh Panthers made a successful field goal from 42 yards to bring them closer to the Tar Heels. 27-20
At the kick-off, the Tar Heels fumbled the ball at the North Carolina 13 and was recovered by Pitt Jason from Pittsburgh. After a short rush, the Tar Heels got a call for pass interference, leaving the Panthers only 2-yards away from a touchdown. Pittsburgh quickly launched James Conner over the line of scrimmage and into the in zone, tying up the game 27-27.
UNC didn’t have the momentum they needed for the next drive as they only made it 15-yards before needing to punt the ball back to Pittsburgh. Fortunately the Carolina defense was ready for the Panthers and quickly shut them down before any big plays could be made.
The kickoff to UNC lead to the last touchdown of the game as Ryan Switzer ran 61 yards for a kick-off return touchdown, giving the Tar Heels the lead once again with 34-27.
With 5 minutes left in the fourth, the Tar Heels needed to guarantee the Panthers didn’t make it into the in zone again. With one final drive, Savage threw a 21-yard pass to start. After getting another first down and reaching behind the 40-yard line, the Panthers kept up momentum. The Carolina defense stepped up to the plate though and held off the Panthers from making it past the Carolina 25-yard line.
With only a minute and some change left the Tar Heels held onto the ball to secure their win.
Overall Carolina had 173 passing yards, a149 rushing yards, with 17 first downs and 2 turnovers. The Pittsburgh Panthers showed up well on paper too with 313 passing yards, 46 rushing yards, and 22 first downs.
North Carolina now has a .500 record for the season and made their fourth consecutive win for the regular season.