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Nov. 6, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -T.J. Yates threw for 439 yards and three touchdowns and Casey Barth kicked his third field goal of the game with 55 seconds left Saturday as North Carolina overcame a fourth-quarter turnover to down No. 24 Florida State 37-35.
Florida State's Dustin Hopkins missed two field goal tries in the fourth quarter, including a possible game-winner from 40 yards with seven seconds left - wide right, naturally. He's missed a 42-yard attempt with 7:51 left.
Barth hit all three of his tries in the game, including the 22-yarder that won it.
Florida State (6-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) took a 35-34 lead with 5:49 left on Lonnie Pryor's second touchdown, which was set up by a botched North Carolina snap. The Seminoles got the ball at the North Carolina 1 after Mark House's snap sailed over the head of punter C.J. Feagles, who then illegally kicked the ball out of the end zone.
But North Carolina (6-3, 3-2) managed a big win in a season plagued by eligibility questions for some of its players, while keeping Florida State from gaining control of the ACC's Atlantic Division.
Florida State's secondary had no answers for North Carolina's Dwight Jones, who caught eight passes for 233 yards, one on a 67 touchdown bomb from Yates.
The early part of the game shaped up as a duel between Yates and Florida State's Christian Ponder. The two fifth-year seniors combined to throw for 422 yards and five touchdowns by halftime.
But Yates kept it up in the second half to steer, while Florida State's offense nearly disappeared.
Yates started fast, completing a 38-yard throw to Jones on the game's first play to ignite a 60-yard scoring drive culminated by a 6-yard TD run by Johnny White, who was knocked out of the game moments later with a shoulder injury.
Jermaine Thomas' 18-yard run set up a 5-yard touchdown pass from Ponder to Willie Haulstead as Florida State tied the game 7-7 midway through the first period.
Jones blew past Florida State cornerback Greg Reid to haul in a 67-yard scoring pass from Yates, giving the Tar Heels a 14-7 lead with 2:39 left in the opening quarter.
Ponder's 27-yard touchdown throw to Rodney Smith tied the game at 14 and Taiwan Easterling scooted 7 yards with a short pass from Ponder to give the Seminoles a short-lived 21-14 lead as Yates countered with a 14-yard scoring pass to Anthony Elzy.
Pryor's 5-yard scoring run gave Florida State a 28-21 halftime lead.
Florida State was in position to regain an inside track for the Atlantic Division berth in the ACC's title game after Maryland and NC State both lost earlier in the day.
Ponder completed 24 of 34 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns and Haulstead turned his best Florida State performance with 10 catches for 154 yards.
North Carolina hosts Virginia Tech next Saturday and Florida State hosts Clemson.