- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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North Carolina overcame yet another slow start to beat East Carolina 27-6 on Saturday.
It was not the best first half for the Tar Heels, who only led 10-6 going into the break. There were a few breakdowns deep inside East Carolina territory that cost them more, but some of those problems were corrected in the second half. Bryn Renner opened the third quarter with a 62-yard touchdown pass to Sean Tapley and the Heels cruised from there.
A big reason why UNC was able to shut down East Carolina in the second half was the play of its defensive front, which came to life to stuff quarterback Shane Carden. Kevin Reddick had one outstanding play in particular, sacking Carden and forcing a fumble that North Carolina recovered. In all, North Carolina finished with seven sacks and held the Pirates to 233 yards.
Renner finished 27-of-43 for 321 yards and two touchdowns.
Running back Giovani Bernard was back in the starting lineup after missing the last two games with a knee injury, and had 102 yards combined rushing and receiving, and two touchdowns. His 4-yard run in the third quarter essentially put the game out of reach.
One other record note in this game: Kicker Casey Barth set the school record for extra points made.