UNC: Four plays that changed the game

September 7, 2013 

A quick look inside North Carolina’s 40-20 victory against Middle Tennessee:

•  Score: 0-0, midway through first quarter.

•  Situation: MT ball, third-and-goal from UNC 7.

•  The play: UNC’s Tre Boston intercepts Logan Kilgore‘s pass in the end zone.

•  Why it mattered: South Carolina needed just three plays to score on its opening drive last week against UNC, and MT seemed to duplicate that on its opening drive after Kilgore’s pass to Kyle Griswould initially was ruled a touchdown. The play was overturned on review, giving MT first-and-goal at the 1. A stuffed run and MT penalty pushed the ball back to the 7. After an incompletion, Boston cut in front of an MT receiver to pick off Kilgore’s soft pass. UNC then went 80 yards in five plays (taking just 1 minute, 45 seconds), scoring on Romar Morris’ 26-yard run.

•  Score: UNC 6, MT 0, late first quarter.

•  Situation: UNC ball, third-and-12 from UNC 25.

•  The play: UNC quarterback Bryn Renner handled a low snap, wheeled and hit Mark McNeill streaking down right sideline for a 59-yard gain.

•  Why it mattered: After allowing a quick score on UNC’s first drive, MT was in optimal position to force a three-and-out on UNC’s second drive. Busted coverage allowed McNeill to slip past MT’s corner and extend a 73-yard drive that ended with Renner’s 1-yard TD run for a 13-0 lead.

•  Score: UNC 13, MT 0, early in second quarter.

•  Situation: UNC ball, first-and-10 at UNC 28.

•  The play: Renner is sacked and the ball comes loose. MT recovers at UNC’s 20, but the play is reviewed.

•  Why it mattered: MT already had a TD overturned, and this time it lost a turnover when officials ruled Renner was down before the ball came loose. UNC retained possession and eventually punted. But instead of taking over inside UNC’s 20, MT started its next drive at its 29. That drive ended with Kilgore’s second interception.

•  Score: UNC 13, MT 0, midway through second quarter.

•  Situation: UNC ball, first-and-10 at MT 33.

•  The play: Renner tried to hit Quinshad Davis on a deep post, but threw into double coverage. MT’s Sammy Seamster picked it off at MT’s 8.

•  Why it mattered: UNC started the drive at its 7 and four plays later was at MT’s 33. Renner went for the home run knowing another UNC touchdown would put the game out of reach before halftime. It didn’t work, but a series later, UNC drove 82 yards in 2:27 to go ahead 20-0.

Chris Wright

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