Hens run with Heels for a while before UNC pulls away in fourth

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Delaware couldn’t have asked for a better start.

And, well into the third quarter, the Blue Hens still only trailed North Carolina by six points.

But the FBS Division I Tar Heels were just too much down the stretch, pulling away to a 41-14 victory over Delaware at rainy Kenan Stadium.

Leading only 20-14, North Carolina (3-1) ran off the final 21 points against the Hens (1-3) to post the victory in the first football meeting between the two schools.

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Delaware’s Kareem Williams ran for 95 yards against UNC on Saturday. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell).

Coach Dave Brock couldn’t help but be proud of the way his players competed.

“I love this team,” said Brock, a former UNC assistant coach. “I love the way they battled. They played like crazy. We gave up a couple big plays that were more us than them. We just weren’t able to finish.

“I think we got beat by a better team. But I love the fight, I love how hard the kids played. I love how they prepare. We’re going to keep battling.”

On just the second play of the game, running back Thomas Jefferson ran through a big hole off right tackle and didn’t stop until he reached the end zone 72 yards later. It was the start of a big day for the redshirt freshman who finished with 163 yards on 22 carries.

UNC came back to take a 13-7 lead into halftime and went up 20-7 on a touchdown pass early in the third quarter.

But Delaware kept battling, answering with a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive to close back within 20-14. Jefferson scored the TD on a fourth-and-one from the one with 3:21 left in the third quarter.

“I’m hopeful that we can a lot of positives out of it,” Brock said about the Hens’ drive. “We rushed for a bunch of yards. I think if we line up with our backs and the line we have… we’re going to be able to run the football.”

“We got outplayed and out-coached in the first half,” said UNC coach Larry Fedora. “Those guys came ready to play.”

Some breakdowns in the secondary, however, allowed the Tar Heels to pull away.

UNC’s backup quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, threw a 64-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and a 63-yarder in the fourth as the Heels put the game out of reach. Trubisky threw four TD passes, completing 17-of-20 passes for 312 yards after entering the game.

Delaware was playing without leading receiver Diante Cherry, who was sidelined with an injury. The Hens kept the ball on the ground, running for 279 of their 303 total yards.

Besides Washington, Kareem Williams added 95 yards on 18 carries. QB Joe Walker didn’t complete a pass until the second half, going 4-for-10 for 24 yards with an interception. The Hens held an eight-minute edge in time of possession.

From here on out, Delaware faces only Colonial Athletic Association competition. That seven-game stretch starts with a home game against William & Mary on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Brock. “We’re excited where we’re headed and we’ve got one week to get there with William & Mary coming to town.”

EXTRA POINTS

Indian River High grad Jamie Jarmon ran the ball twice for nine yards and had a six-yard catch. … Linebacker Charles Bell led the Hens with 11 tackles and a forced fumble. … Besides Cherry, defensive end Vince Hollerman also didn’t play in the contest.

 

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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