CHAPEL HILL--- The Larry Fedora Era at North Carolina began with a bang Saturday afternoon, as UNC piled up over 700 all-purpose yards on its way to a 62-0 blowout victory over Elon. Remarkably, the Tar Heels came just three points shy of tying the school record for points in a game in Fedora's debut as Carolina's head coach.
The Tar Heels (1-0) had the game well in hand after a 27-point explosion in the second quarter, which broke open a 14-0 game at the end of the opening period.
It took UNC less than six minutes to find the end zone, as Giovani Bernard broke free on a 59-yard scoring run for an early 7-0 advantage, and the sophomore tailback followed it up with a scoring reception from six yards out five minutes later, which gave the Tar Heels its 14-0 advantage.
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Following a 21-yard field goal by senior place kicker Casey Barth, Bernard found the end zone for a third time on a breathtaking 70-yard punt return. On the scoring play Bernard broke upfield before trailing right and leaving everyone in his rear view.
Bernard gave way in the second half after suffering some discomfort in his left knee, but the good news for Tar Heel fans is he hasn't suffered any injury, and was held out as a precaution.
Despite playing just half the game---he had nine rushing carries, two catches and two punt returns---Bernard amassed a whopping 203 all-purpose yards all by himself.
UNC established a new school record for punt return yardage, taking nine punts for 260 return yards on the day, and finished with well over 500 yards of total offense.
Quarterback Bryn Renner enjoyed a solid game, completing 14 of 21 passes for 236 yards and three scores. He connected with senior Jheranie Boyd from 35 yards out at the 9:48 mark of the second quarter---a score that made the count 31-0---and then found Jack Tabb from 23 yards out in the first five minutes of the third quarter, which made the score 48-0.
In-between Renner's scoring tosses to Boyd and Tabb, Barth connected on a second field goal, this one from 32 yards out, and A.J. Blue ran in from 1 yard out in the final thirty second of the first half, leading to North Carolina's 41-0 halftime advantage.
Blue would score a second time late in the third quarter, piling across the goal line from four yards out, for Carolina's final touchdown of the afternoon. It was preceded by Marquise Williams' first scoring play as a Tar Heel, as he kept the ball and ran over from three yards out.
Williams, as well as several other Tar Heel backups, got heavy action as UNC built its substantial second half lead. It was a chance for those guys not only to get much-needed game action, but also more reps for the coaches to evaluate them.
All in all, it was a pretty perfect day for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Stay tuned for much more postgame coverage here at Tar Heel Illustrated.