Freshman running back Javonte Williams ran for three touchdowns and Nathan Elliott threw for two scores as North Carolina snapped a six-game losing streak by defeating visiting Western Carolina 49-26 on Saturday at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C.
It’s only the fifth victory in a two-season stretch for the Tar Heels (2-8), with two of those coming at home against Football Championship Subdivision member Western Carolina.
Elliott was 18-for-24 for 308 yards with two interceptions in parts of three quarters.
Williams collected 93 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Western Carolina quarterback Tyrie Adams completed 18 of 34 passes for 290 yards, though he scored on two rushing plays and picked up 104 total yards on the ground.
The Catamounts (3-8) closed the season with eight straight losses, with six of those by double-figure margins.
North Carolina committed three first-half turnovers, but Manny Miles came on for a Hail Mary attempt for his first pass of the season — a touchdown heave of 38 yards to tight end Jake Bargas to end the first half with a 35-16 lead.
Adams’ 1-yard run less than four minutes into the game opened the scoring. That was set up after Western Carolina’s Michael Murphy returned an Elliott interception 75 yards to the North Carolina 25.
Thomas Jackson’s 17-yard touchdown reception gave the Tar Heels their first points.
Williams put the Tar Heels ahead on a 1-yard run and Jordon Brown added a 22-yard scoring scamper early in the second quarter to make it 21-7.
Western Carolina’s Will Horton kicked second-quarter field goals from 43, 45 and 33 yards.
Elliott threw a 54-yard scoring pass to open Rontavius Groves, a sophomore who scored his first touchdown. It was the longest passing touchdown play of the season for the Tar Heels.
Horton added a 26-yard field goal in the third quarter. Adams scored on a 23-yard run in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
—Field Level Media