Williams leads No. 18 North Carolina over Syracuse
Javonte Williams rushed for three fourth-quarter touchdowns to help No. 18 North Carolina post a 31-6 victory over Syracuse on Saturday in the season opener for both teams at Chapel Hill, N.C.
Sam Howell passed for 295 yards and tossed a touchdown pass to Garrett Walston as the Tar Heels pulled away to win a sluggish ACC matchup. North Carolina (1-0 overall, 1-0 ACC) outgained the Orange 463-202 and racked up seven sacks with Chazz Surratt and Tomari Fox each recording two.
Tommy DeVito was just 13-of-31 passing for 112 yards for Syracuse (0-1, 0-1.)
The Tar Heels led just 10-6 before pulling away in the final stanza.
Williams scored on a 1-yard run on the first play of the quarter to boost the lead to 11 points. A 45-yard run by Michael Carter was the key gain on the six-play, 77-yard drive.
The next time North Carolina had the ball, it needed just four plays to travel 68 yards. Williams capped the drive with a 6-yard scamper to make it 24-6 with 11:33 remaining.
Dazz Newsome’s 38-yard punt return to the Orange 44-yard-line set up the next score. Howell connected on a 38-yard gain with Dyami Brown (six receptions, 94 yards) and Williams followed with a 6-yard run with 9:37 left to push the margin to 25.
Howell completed 25 of 34 pass but also was intercepted twice. Syracuse star Andre Cisco recorded his 13th career pick while Mikel Jones collected the first of his college career.
Giovanni Biggers had an interception for the Tar Heels as he picked off Orange backup Rex Culpepper in the final quarter.
North Carolina led 7-3 at halftime. The touchdown came on the Tar Heels’ first possession when Howell tossed an 11-yard scoring pass to Walston to cap a 10-play, 65-yad drive.
The Orange got on the board in the second quarter when Andre Szmyt kicked a 37-yard field goal with 10:43 left in the half. Szmyt later missed wide to the right with 29 seconds to play in the half.
Szmyt redeemed himself with a 24-yard field goal with 8:11 left in the third quarter to pull Syracuse within one. But Grayson Atkins connected on a 31-yard-field goal to give the Tar Heels a 10-6 advantage with 3:18 remaining in the quarter.
–Field Level Media