Williams, No. 21 Tar Heels dominate rival Blue Devils 66-31
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Marquise Williams kept pushing the ball downfield, confident that North Carolina's receivers would make the catch against a defense ranked among the nation's best.
There was no let up, either, from a flea-flicker for a touchdown on the first snap to a last-second TD heave just before halftime - all part of a dominating show by a team inching closer to a trip to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
Williams threw for 404 of his school-record 494 yards by halftime Saturday in No. 21 North Carolina's 66-31 win against rival Duke.
Williams threw for four touchdowns and ran for another, breaking the school passing mark in the opening minutes of the second half. The senior's performance was the biggest highlight on an afternoon full of them for the Tar Heels (8-1, 5-0 ACC), who haven't lost since the opener and firmed up their hold on the Coastal Division race by blowing out the Blue Devils (6-3, 3-2).
''I'm always dialed in,'' Williams said. ''That's the thing, as a quarterback you have to be dialed in every day. I came to practice with a mindset this week that we were going to come out and win this football game.''
Seven players scored for UNC, from Elijah Hood running for three touchdowns to Mack Hollins and Ryan Switzer each hauling in TD catches on 100-yard receiving days. And by the end, the Tar Heels had scored more points than ever against the Blue Devils to keep the rivalry's Victory Bell for another year.
Now 5-0 in the ACC for the first time since 1997, the Tar Heels can clinch a spot in the ACC title game next weekend with a home win against Miami along with a Pittsburgh loss at Duke.
''We don't look ahead and say, `If we beat this team and this team beats that team,''' linebacker Shakeel Rashad said. ''But it is in the front of our minds that we are in control of our own destiny. If we keep winning out, then we're going to reach our goal.''
The same was true of the Blue Devils, despite last week's final-play loss to Miami on an eight-lateral kickoff for a touchdown - a score that the ACC later said shouldn't have counted in an officiating-marred finish. But they offered little resistance to UNC's high-speed charges downfield in an uncommonly ugly result under David Cutcliffe.
''We just got whipped badly in every aspect,'' Cutcliffe said.
Williams connected with a wide-open Switzer on the flea-flicker for an 89-yard touchdown on UNC's first offensive snap. He later connected with Hollins for a 74-yard TD with 1:30 left in the half, then found Bug Howard with a 49-yard deep ball with 1 second left in the half.
By then, Williams had thrown for 404 yards and UNC led 38-10. He broke the single-game record of 439 yards - set by T.J. Yates against Florida State in 2010 - on the first drive after halftime and was called it a day before the end of the third quarter.
UNC had 664 yards - more than any ACC team had managed in a game all season entering the weekend - by the end of the third and finished with 704, the third-highest total in program history. And that production came against a unit ranked eighth nationally in passing yardage defense, ninth in total defense (295 yards) and 10th in scoring defense (16.1).
''We're stunned that we came in and that they hung as many points as they did and that we had a showing like we did,'' Duke linebacker Dwayne Norman said.
Thomas Sirk ran for two scores to lead Duke, which had 533 total yards but never got closer than two scores after the opening quarter.
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