#21 North Carolina Downs The Citadel, 40-6
Sept. 5, 2009
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - T.J. Yates threw two touchdown passes in the decisive first half, and No. 21 North Carolina routed The Citadel 40-6 on Saturday night.
Ryan Houston had touchdown runs of 5 and 3 yards, and Shaun Draughn rushed for 118 yards while helping the Tar Heels roll up 375 yards total offense. They had a 261-30 advantage on the ground.
Da'Norris Searcy returned a late punt 77 yards for a touchdown. Yates was 9 of 20 for 114 yards in three quarters, with scoring passes of 18 yards to Johnny White and 21 yards to Greg Little for the Tar Heels.
They played their first opener as a ranked team since they were No. 12 in 1998, and were upset 13-10 by Miami of Ohio. This one was nowhere near that close, after a second quarter in which North Carolina scored on four straight possessions.
The halftime stat sheet was all Tar Heels: They led 23-0, outgained the Bulldogs 204-73, held a 108-16 advantage in yards rushing and forced four turnovers.
After that, the only thing in question was whether North Carolina could polish off its first shutout since beating Duke 38-0 in the 1999 finale. Sam Keeler spoiled that with a 42-yard field goal with about 7 1/2 minutes left, then added a 28-yarder in the final minute.
Bart Blanchard was 21 of 37 for 117 yards for The Citadel, but threw three first-half interceptions. Two were picked off by Deunta Williams - including one in the end zone that thwarted the Bulldogs' best chance for a touchdown.
At least The Citadel kept things closer than it did its last time out - a 70-19 loss to eventual national champion Florida in last year's finale. That wasn't much consolation for a Championship Subdivision team looking to beat one of the big boys for the first time since 1992.
This was a punishing all-around effort from the Tar Heels. They entered coach Butch Davis' third season hoping to take the next step toward becoming an annual contender in the Atlantic Coast Conference - but also looking for a way to replace three receivers taken in the NFL draft.
Yates spent his night trying to spread the ball around. Six players caught passes from him, although nobody had more than two catches.
He capped the Tar Heels' second possession of the second quarter with his scoring pass to White to make it 10-0, before hooking up with Little shortly before halftime for the play of the game.
Yates was flushed right but found Little outside the hash marks. The one-time running back spun around one defender and shook off three arm tackles while cutting back across the field for his first receiving touchdown since 2007.