Sam Howell threw for 287 yards with two touchdowns and Michael Carter added a season-high three scores on the ground as 17th-ranked North Carolina beat Western Carolina, 49-9.
The Tar Heels (7-3) hopped out to a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter with a 17-yard touchdown run from Carter. After giving up a 40-yard field goal to WCU’s Paxton Robertson, UNC scored 42 unanswered points in the final three quarters. The Catamounts’ (0-3) only touchdown came with 5:56 to go in the fourth quarter off a 42-yard fumble return by Nigel Manns.
Another solid win for Mack Brown, who reached bowl eligibility for the second straight season in Chapel Hill. It was the sixth time North Carolina broke the 40-point plateau this season. Twice as many times compared to a year ago and the most since 2015. UNC holds a 5-1 record when scoring 40+ points with their only loss at Virginia on Halloween by a score of 44-41. Brown is now 14-9 during his second stint with North Carolina.
A near perfect game for Howell and the UNC offense as well. He finished with three incompletions, no interceptions and wasn’t sacked for just the second time in his career. The Tar Heels racked up 540 yards of total offense with 10.7 yards per pass.
North Carolina finishes 4-0 against in-state teams this season. They were scheduled to play Charlotte on Sept. 19, but the game was canceled and isn’t likely to be rescheduled (COVID-19).
Michael Carter needs 63 yards for his second consecutive 1,000-yard season out of the backfield. He’s currently ninth among rushers in the nation (2nd, ACC) with 937 yards and seven touchdowns.
North Carolina goes to South Beach to face No. 10 Miami on Dec. 12 (3:30 p.m./ Radio: WBT) The Hurricanes are sitting in the top ten as a one-loss team and are still out of the hunt for an ACC title.