CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Ronnie McGill ran for 114 yards and had
four touchdowns and Cam Sexton threw for two scores in his first
career start to help North Carolina beat Furman 45-42 on Saturday
McGill ran for three scores and also had a 58-yard TD catch from
Sexton on the third play for the Tar Heels (1-2), who barely
avoided what could have been a disastrous loss for sixth-year coach
Jerome Felton ran for 67 yards and four touchdowns to lead the
Division I-AA Paladins (2-1), who had no trouble moving the ball
all game long. Furman bounced back from a horrible start and led
35-31 midway through the fourth quarter before the Tar Heels got
some big plays in the final minutes to earn their first win of the
Sexton threw for 265 yards and found Jesse Holley downfield for
a 50-yard touchdown strike that put the Tar Heels ahead to stay at
38-35 with 9:30 left. McGill then sealed it by leaping over the
line for a 1-yard TD run with 1:53 to play.
Behind McGill and Sexton, the Tar Heels finished with 446 total
yards and 20 first downs. That was just enough to offset an
impressive showing from Furman's offense, which finished with 521
yards and 30 first downs. The teams combined to convert 16 of 24
third downs and punt just five times.
Furman was trying to repeat its surprising 28-3 win here in
1999, the program's only victory in 16 games against I-A opponents
Sexton got the start over Joe Dailey, who had started in losses
to Rutgers and Virginia Tech. Dailey, a junior transfer from
Nebraska, had thrown four interceptions with just one touchdown to
continue his turnover troubles that began with the Cornhuskers.
Bunting said Sexton had shown enough to earn a shot at the
starting position as part of a rotation with Dailey. But Sexton
played the entire way, turning in a solid effort to keep Dailey
standing on the sideline wearing a headset. He had only one
interception and completed 14 of 20 passes, none bigger than his
scoring toss to Holley on a third-and-14 from midfield.
Sexton confidently hit Holley around the 25, where Holley jumped
to beat Austin Holmes to the ball before breaking free and racing
to the end zone for the lead. Sexton also got off to a good start
when he found McGill for the quick touchdown on a screen pass, part
of an opening flurry that made it seem like this might be an easy
Furman muffed the ensuing kickoff to give the Tar Heels the ball
at the 8, and McGill ran it in two plays later for a 14-0 lead less
than 3 minutes in. McGill also had a 30-yard TD run late in the
But Furman -- in an early indication of its offensive success --
answered the early burst with a 65-yard scoring drive that ended
with Cedrick Gipson's 11-yard touchdown. The teams traded scores,
with Felton answering a 34-yard touchdown run from Barrington
Edwards with the first of his three 1-yard TD runs early in the
His last touchdown, a 3-yard score, gave Furman a 35-31 lead
with 12:09 left.
Renaldo Gray threw for 310 yards and one TD for the Paladins.
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