UNC held off by No. 19 Louisville

UNC held off by No. 19 Louisville

Published Sep. 15, 2012 7:21 a.m. ET

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Teddy Bridgewater threw three first-half
touchdowns and No. 19 Louisville scored on its first six possessions,
and then had to hold off North Carolina with a late defensive stand to
come away with a 39-34 victory on Saturday.

Bryn Renner settled down from a rough
first half to rally the Tar Heels (1-2) from a 36-7 deficit with four
second-half touchdowns, including a screen pass to Romar Morris for a
50-yard touchdown with 4:23 remaining.


North Carolina's Norkeithus Otis then
forced Adrian Bushell to fumble the ensuing kickoff, and the Tar Heels
recovered at the Cardinals' 10. But after moving to the 3, North
Carolina was penalized for a false start. Two plays later Renner's
fourth-down pass intended for Erik Highsmith was batted away in the end
zone by Andrew Johnson with 1:44 left.

Bridgewater threw for 279 yards for the Cardinals (3-0), 218 in the first half. He finished 23 of 28.

Renner was 26-of-41 passing for 363 yards and five touchdowns with one interception.

"It was just a tale of two halves," Louisville Coach Charlie Strong said.

It marked a second consecutive close
loss for North Carolina (1-2), which rallied from a 21-14 deficit to
briefly lead at Wake Forest before ultimately falling 28-27. It was
also the Tar Heels second straight game without star tailback Giovani
Bernard. Receiver Jheranie Boyd also sat out.

At the start, North Carolina was out of
sync and dug its hole with two first-half turnovers that Louisville
quickly converted.

Right after Louisville marched 62 yards
for its first touchdown and a 6-0 lead, Renner lofted a pass right at
Louisville's Marcus Smith.

Bridgewater made it 12-0 on the next
play, eluding the rush to find Charles Gaines wide open in the end zone
on a post pattern.

After John Wallace's 22-yard field goal
made it 15-0, Renner hit Morris for 15 yards, which would have left the
Tar Heels with fourth down. But he fumbled after coming down with the
ball, upheld on review, and was recovered by Adrian Bushell at North
Carolina's 45.

Seven plays later Bridgewater hit Eli
Rogers for a 15-yard score with the sophomore alone for the final 10. A
rout was building at that point, and the Cardinals didn't let up.

Louisville went into sustained-drive
mode, at least by its standards. The Cardinals went 84 yards but in just
five plays, highlighted by Bridgewater's 36-yard crossing pass to
Andrell Smith for first down at the Tar Heels' 44 and an 11-yarder to
Scott Radcliffe.

Wright carried twice for the final 33
yards, capped by a 12-yard run. The next one went 10 plays and 69 yards,
ending with Nick Heuser's 4-yard TD pass from Bridgewater.

North Carolina got on the board with
Renner's 44-yard scoring pass to Morris, cutting the lead to 29-7. The
junior also hit Eric Ebron for a 2-yard TD in the third quarter and
Highsmith for a 9-yard score early in the fourth.