UNC Football: Tar Heels fall short in overtime

The UNC Football program falls short on the road at Pitt on Thursday night, as their bowl chances take a big hit with just two games left

Well, that didn’t end how we all wanted it too.

With a chance to move one step closer to bowl eligibility, the North Carolina Tar Heels fought back from 14 points down in the second half to force overtime but fell short on Thursday night at Pitt.

The win for Pitt was the first over UNC since they joined the Atlantic Coast Conference back in 2013, snapping a six-game skid. It kept Pitt alive in the wild Coastal Division and put another dent in UNC’s bowl chances.

Pitt got the scoring started early in this one, getting a field goal on their opening drive to go up 3-0 on the Tar Heels. This came after UNC was stopped on a 4th and 1 on their opening drive in Pitt territory.

UNC would strike back with Howell tossing a 21-yard pass to Beau Corrales for the Tar Heels first score of the game. Pitt would then score touchdowns on back-to-back drives in the second quarter to extend their lead to 17-7 before Noah Ruggles hit a field goal to cut the halftime deficit to 17-10.

Pitt got the only points of the third quarter on a A.J. Davis 8-yard run. But then it was Howell’s turn to strike.

Mr. 4th quarter himself, Howell, was back at it again in this one. With the Tar Heels trailing 24-10 going into the fourth quarter, Howell tossed two touchdown passes and led UNC on three scoring drives to get them right in it. His touchdown passes gave him 10 in the fourth quarter this season, the most in all of college football.

Howell led a 13-play, 60-yard drive late in the fourth quarter that ended on a Noah Ruggles field goal to send the game into overtime.

In overtime, Pitt converted on a 3rd and 14 to get themselves out of a long field goal attempt in the extra period. It would pay off in the form of a win.

Shortly after, Pitt found the end zone to score first in overtime and forced UNC to score a touchdown in their frame. The Tar Heels could not do so as Howell’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete in the end zone.

Howell finished the game 27 of 43 for 322 yards, 3 touchdowns and just 1 interception. He was a little shaky early on in the game missing some throws he would normally make. But when he settled down in the second half, he was on again.

Antonio Williams led the Tar Heels in rushing, finishing the game with 107 yards on 12 carries.

The loss drops the Tar Heels to 4-6 overall and they now need to win out to become bowl eligible this season. All six of their losses have come by just one score. They will host Mercer next week and then travel to Raleigh to take on N.C. State in the season-finale.

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