CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – There’s that saying: When it rains, it pours. And that it did Saturday afternoon as the University of North Carolina swamped the Idaho Vandals 66-0 during a steady rain at Kenan Memorial Stadium.
“The positive thing is the game is over,” coach Robb Akey said. “This was an ugly afternoon.”
Indeed. The Vandals (0-5) struggled offensively and the defense often found itself with its back to the end zone. The Vandals turned the ball over five times (four interceptions and one fumble), two punts were blocked and the Tar Heels converted on more than 50 percent of their third downs.
“We didn’t do a lot of good things today,” Akey said. “I think we made every mistake you can make in a college football game.”
The Vandals found themselves in a big hole quickly. Less than 90 seconds into the game, the Tar Heels – aided by a 32-yard gain on third-and-long, scored on a 36-yard pass from Bryn Renner to Sean Tapley with 13:32 left in the first. Four minute later, it was 14-0 when Erik Highsmith recovered a fumble in the end zone with 9:36 to go in the opening quarter.
Bobby Cowan’s punt was blocked after Idaho’s second drive stalled. UNC recovered it at the Vandal 5. Two plays later, it was 21-0 on Giovani Bernard’s two-yard run with 6:51 to go in the opening period. Before the opening quarter was out, the Tar Heels were up 28-0 on Renner’s 30-yard pass to Eric Ebron with 2:27 to go.
Solomon Dixon, with his second interception of the season, ended North Carolina’s final drive of the opening period at the Idaho 6. The Vandals were their most productive of the game over the next seven plays only to have Blackman intercepted at the UNC 42 with 10:35 to go in the opening half.
In one play, the Tar Heels had padded their lead to 35-0 on Bernard’s 68-yard run with 10:22 to go until halftime.
The Vandals’ offensive woes – compounded by penalties, continued and they failed to move the ball on their next possession. The defense, however, stopped the Tar Heels at the Idaho 16 on Carolina’s next possession. Still, UNC scored on Casey Barth’s 33-yard field goal for a 38-0 lead with 4:51 left in the half.
Another interception – this one by Dion Guy, put the Tar Heels at the Idaho 13. Four plays later, it was 45-0 on A.J. Blue’s three-yard run with 1:19 to go in the second.
The Carolina flood continued in the second half with the Tar Heels adding 14 more in the third and one in the fourth.