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CHAPEL HILL--- Needing a victory Saturday afternoon over Old Dominion in order to become bowl eligible North Carolina left nothing to chance, scoring 49 first half points against the Monarchs behind 495 yards of total offense as UNC went on to an 80-20 rout, its fifth straight victory since starting the season 1-5.
The Tar Heels, now 6-5 and above .500 for the first time all season, have won five straight games for the first time since the 2001 season, and have earned the right to play a 13th game come December.
They can also force a multi-school tie atop the ACC Coastal Division standings if they can beat Duke next Saturday, back in Kenan Stadium.
UNC made all kinds of history against the Monarchs, as Marquise Williams finished with 469 yards of total offense, surpassing the previous single-game school mark set by T.J. Yates at Florida State in 2010. In addition, UNC surpassed 700 yards of total offense and established a new school record with approximately 721 yards, surpassing the prior record set in 1993 against Maryland.
UNC wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, as Williams found Quinshad Davis for a 56-yard touchdown on the game's first official play from scrimmage for an early 7-0 Tar Heel lead. The actual first play of the game was a pass interference penalty against Old Dominion.
ODU, unfazed by Carolina's early touchdown, would go on to score the next 10 points of the game on a 37-yard field goal by Jaron Brown, and a four-yard scoring run by Colby Goodwyn to take a 10-7 lead just over nine minutes in.
But UNC found the end zone again quickly on a 27-yard pass from Williams to T.J. Thorpe, giving the Tar Heels a lead it would not relinquish ten minutes into the game.
Though ODU would get another field goal to briefly pull within 14-13 near the end of the first quarter, Carolina would score the game's next 42 points, including 35 in the second quarter alone to take a 49-13 halftime lead.
Freshman running back T.J. Logan scored four times in the triumph, including a 99-yard kickoff return early in the third quarter, making the score 63-20, and then later a 63-yard run, giving him 100 rushing yards in a game for the first time as a Tar Heel, and providing UNC a commanding 73-20 advantage.
UNC would get one last touchdown near the end of the third quarter, as Ryan Switzer scored his fourth punt return touchdown in the last three games on a 64-yard sprint to the end zone.
Logan finished with 137 net rushing yards on 14 carries, while Williams completed 20 of 27 passes for 409 yards passing yards and five touchdowns, while also piling up 60 rushing yards on five attempts.
With the score 80-20 heading into the final period, the officials announced that the quarter would last just 10 minutes, eliciting a loud yell from the UNC supporters still in the stands.
The teams successfully ran off the clock, meaning that the Tar Heels didn't break the ACC record for points in a game, set by Clemson in 1981 when they scored 82 points against Wake Forest, but they maintained a certain level of sportsmanship.
In the game's final five minutes, UNC had moved inside the ODU 5-yard line and could have scored yet again, but backup QB Caleb Pressley downed the ball on a fourth down play instead of running up the score even more.
"Right now, it feels like probably the worst punch in the face I've had or anybody in our program has had," said Old Dominion head coach Bobby Wilder. "This one certainly didn't go the way we had planned or the way we hoped. But as I always tell my players, adversity defines your character. It defines who you are."
"We're certainly capable, but I really feel like today we just did not have enough gas left in the tank, particularly on defense," the Old Dominion head coach added.
And now it's on to Duke for the Tar Heels, as UNC looks to re-claim the Victory Bell and avoid losing to the arch-rival Blue Devils in back-to-back seasons for the first time in nearly a quarter-century.
Stay tuned for much more from Kenan Stadium as UNC annihilates Old Dominion.