Fast start helps North Carolina upset No. 19 BC

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- The kick came low and short, bouncing

to Wallace Wright at his own 10-yard line. With defenders racing

toward him, he nervously bobbled the ball a couple of times before

finally gaining control.

Then he started running.

"My whole mentality was to pick up the ball and go, find

somewhere to go," Wright said. "Protect the ball first, then get

up-field and get whatever yards I can get."

He got them all.

Wright returned that opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown,

Connor Barth broke out of a season-long slump with three field

goals and North Carolina held off No. 19 Boston College 16-14


Jesse Holley set career highs with eight catches for 125 yards

for the Tar Heels (4-4, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who got

their second consecutive upset at home. Two weeks ago, they beat

then-No. 23 Virginia 7-5, and their defense was every bit as stingy

in this one.

"Well, that may not have been as pretty as some people would

like it to be," North Carolina coach John Bunting said, "but it

certainly is what I have been looking for in terms of having a

complete game. It was a whole effort."

After the Eagles (6-3, 3-3) drove 63 yards on their opening

drive to tie it 7-7, they gained only 274 the rest of the way.

Coach Tom O'Brien went to backup quarterback Matt Ryan in the

fourth quarter, and he made the final margin much closer with a

10-yard touchdown pass to Larry Lester in the final minute.

But North Carolina tight end Justin Phillips recovered the

ensuing onside kick to hand BC its second loss in a row. The first

came about 10 days ago at Virginia Tech and dropped the Eagles out

of contention for the Atlantic Division title, and this one means

they are left fighting for bowl positioning down the stretch in the

crowded ACC.

Quinton Porter was 16-for-26 for 144 yards before giving way to

Ryan, and leading rusher L.V. Whitworth was held to 58 yards.

"You've got to give it to them, obviously they addressed it all

after that first drive," Porter said. "I thought we'd get into a

rhythm and get it going."

Wright set the tone early, even though his return hardly was a

thing of beauty. He appeared hemmed in deep in his own territory

before breaking a tackle, then picked up a nice block from Brandon

Tate to reach open space along the sideline.

It was the second time this season North Carolina scored on the

opening kickoff, with Tate going 100 yards for a TD against Utah.

"It's the best feeling in the world," Wright said. "I've been

waiting for years for that to happen. It couldn't have been a

better day."

Barth did his part, too. The sophomore came in 3-for-11 in 2005

-- with misses on his previous three kicks -- but was perfect against

the Eagles. His 20-yarder late in the first quarter gave the Tar

Heels the lead for good, and he added one from 44 yards in the

third quarter to stretch the margin to 13 points.

"Everyone has so much support for me, especially my teammates,

just keeping me up, telling me how much confidence they have in

me," Barth said. "And it's just awesome to have teammates like

that. That's what's helped me so much."

That proved to be more than enough to hold off BC, particularly

with a plodding-yet-consisent offense providing just enough for an

edge in field position. Matt Baker was 20-for-32 for 211 yards and

one interception, while Ronnie McGill gained a bruising 75 yards on

20 carries.

"We had them on their heels," Baker said. "We tried to keep

the ball, I thought they looked a little tired. So we just kept

pounding the ball."

And Holley continued his impressive season. Early in the fourth

quarter, the Tar Heels took over on their own 9 when Holley was at

his best. He reached behind him to rip a pass out of the hands of

linebacker Tyronne Pruitt that went for 17 yards on third-and-10,

then later put North Carolina in field goal range with a dazzling,

leaping catch over DeJuan Tribble.

The 29-yard gain put North Carolina on BC's 30, and although

Baker threw his lone interception on the next play, the Eagles were

out of chances.

"Man, I got in the zone," Holley said. "It just was like

nothing else mattered. I didn't care what coverage they were in. I

didn't care who was draped over me, where the ball was thrown."

O'Brien wouldn't commit to a starting quarterback next week

against North Carolina State, and by now, Porter and Ryan both

probably should be ready. Each has played in seven of the eight


"Whatever happens next week, happens," Ryan said. "I'm just

disappointed that we lost."