CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Nathan Elliott threw four first-half touchdown passes as North Carolina cruised past Western Carolina 65-10 on Saturday.
The Tar Heels scored 21 points in a span of 2 minutes, 46 seconds in the second quarter to take control.
After punting on its first possession, North Carolina (3-8) scored six touchdowns the next six times it touched the ball, including a 28-yard fumble return by Jonathan Smith for a 28-7 lead.
Josh Cabrera caught two touchdown passes in the second quarter to stake the Tar Heels to a 42-7 halftime lead. Elliott, who had a first-half streak of 10 consecutive completions, finished 18 of 28 passing for 240 yards in his second career start.
“You just keep building off it, and you could feel the momentum,” Elliott said. “We were going out there just expecting to score.”
Michael Carter had 16 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown for the Tar Heels, who outgained the Catamounts 231-32 in the second quarter. By the time backup quarterback Chazz Surratt ran 59 yards early in the fourth quarter for a touchdown, the Tar Heels’ longest play from scrimmage this season, UNC had 576 total yards to Western Carolina’s 235.
Western Carolina (7-5), a member of the Football Championship Subdivision, led 7-0 on Connell Young’s 1-yard reception. But the Catamounts found little success after that in dropping to 0-54 all-time against Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
Western Carolina: The Catamounts had North Carolina grasping at air early behind the nifty moves of quarterback Tyrie Adams. But Western Carolina couldn’t slow the UNC offense and fell to 0-29 all-time against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents. Detrez Newsome led the Catamounts with 107 yards on 26 carries, putting him over the 1,000-yard mark for the third consecutive season.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels outgained WCU 611-304. They have not had much to get excited about this season, but they do have momentum on their side heading into next week’s finale against rival N.C. State. UNC, which has won two in a row, also got one of its injured starters back in the lineup. Senior wide receiver Austin Proehl played for the first time since the Sept. 23 loss to Duke.
Western Carolina: The Catamounts’ season is complete at 7-5. They finished 5-3 in the Southern Conference.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels close out coach Larry Fedora’s sixth season with a game at 25th-ranked N.C. State on Nov. 25. UNC is 3-2 against the Wolfpack in Fedora’s tenure.