CHAPEL HILL--- North Carolina broke open a close game with back-to-back third quarter touchdowns on its way to a 27-6 victory Saturday afternoon over East Carolina in Kenan Stadium. The win helps UNC get over a pair of close losses on the road the past two weeks at Wake Forest and Louisville.
The Tar Heels (2-2) struck first blood 10 minutes into the first quarter, as quarterback Bryn Renner found Giovani Bernard for a 14-yard touchdown strike.
Bernard, playing for the first time in three weeks, had a solid game running and catching passes for the Tar Heels.
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East Carolina (2-2) pulled within 7-3 in the first minute of the second quarter on a Warren Harvey 22-yard field goal, and following a Casey Barth field goal for UNC midway through the period, Harvey connected again from 26 yards out to make the score 10-6 in favor of the Tar Heels at halftime.
UNC took control in the third quarter, taking advantage of a slew of ECU mistakes to seize field position and momentum.
The biggest play came on a 62-yard touchdown pass from Renner to Sean Tapley, which made the score 17-6 at the 10:45 mark of the third quarter, and less than three minutes later UNC scored again, as Bernard raced in from four yards out.
Leading 24-6, the Tar Heels held onto their lead down the stretch through a combination of stellar defense and effective clock management, and a second field goal by Barth, this one from 41 yards out at the 3:36 mark, gave UNC its final points of the day.
The UNC defense attacked ECU quarterback Shane Carden all afternoon, sacking him seven times on the afternoon.
In one of his more solid performances so far as UNC's starting signal-caller, Renner went for over 300 passing yards with a pair of touchdown tosses and no turnovers against the Pirates.
It's the second straight game in which Renner has thrown for over 300 yards---a career first---and over the last two games, Renner has set a UNC school record for most passing yards by a Tar Heel quarterback with 684 passing yards.
Stay tuned for much more postgame coverage from UNC's convincing victory over the Pirates here at Tar Heel Illustrated.