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William and Mary

UNC Rallies Back to Edge No. 3/4 Tribe, 21-17

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The No. 3/4 William and Mary football team held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, but North Carolina rallied back with a pair of touchdowns in the final 10 minutes to edge the Tribe, 21-17, on Saturday afternoon at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. The loss snapped W&M’s six-game winning streak.

Complete First Half Video Highlights
Complete Second Half Video Highlights

Junior quarterback Michael Paulus threw a pair of touchdown passes to senior wide receiver Chase Hill, and redshirt freshman placekicker Drake Kuhn kicked a 28-yard field goal to help the Tribe (6-2) take a 17-7 lead at halftime. Despite being held scoreless in the third quarter, North Carolina (5-3) outgained the Tribe, 280-94, during the final 30 minutes en route to rallying back to earn the narrow victory.

Paulus finished the contest by completing 24-of-35 passes for 209 yards with two touchdowns, while Hill totaled six catches for 59 yards with a pair of scores. Junior wideout D.J. Mangas hauled in six receptions for 53 yards, while sophomore Ryan Moody registered six catches for 72 yards.

Defensively, sophomore linebacker Dante Cook recorded his fifth double-digit tackle performance in the last six games with 11 stops, while senior linebacker Wes Steinman tallied seven tackles and an interception.

After forcing a punt on North Carolina’s opening possession, the Tribe put together a 12-play, 75-yard drive but was unable to score when a 23-yard field goal attempt missed. Senior quarterback Mike Callahan completed 2-of-3 passes for 26 yards on the drive before suffering an injury and being replaced by Paulus.

W&M did get on the scoreboard moments later, however, on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Paulus to Hill to give the College a 6-0 lead with 4:37 showing. The Tribe failed to convert the extra point. The short 3-play, 18-yard drive was set up following an interception by Steinman at the UNC 32-yard line that he returned 14 yards.

North Carolina took its first of the contest, 7-6, on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by T.J. Yates with 5:34 remaining in the second quarter. The short scoring run capped off a 14-play, 82-yard drive that lasted 6:47.

The Tribe answered with a touchdown on its following possession, as Paulus connected with Hill on a 9-yard scoring strike. Paulus then found Gottlieb on a successful 2-point conversion, as the tight end stretched across the goal line to put W&M ahead, 14-7, with just 0:23 remaining in the half. Paulus completed all seven of his passing attempts during the drive, totaling 70 yards through the air.

Sophomore linebacker Jabrel Mines recovered a UNC fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and Kuhn kicked a 28-yard field goal four plays later as the second quarter clock expired to extend the margin to 17-7 at the half.

The Tribe outgained UNC, 192-141, in the opening half. Paulus was extremely efficient through the first two quarters, as he completed 13-of-14 passes for 118 yards with two touchdowns.

After a three-and-out by W&M on the opening possession of the second half, UNC marched to the Tribe’s 20-yard line but Casey Barth missed a 37-yard field goal attempt wide to the right.

The Tar Heels cut the margin to 17-14 when Yates threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Taylor with 8:32 remaining. The score punctuated an 18-play, 90-yard drive that lasted 6:33. Keying the drive were a pair of fourth-down conversions – a fourth-and-6 from the W&M 46 and a fourth-and-1 from the W&M 14.

After a three-and-out by the Tribe on its next possession, North Carolina went ahead 21-17 when running back Johnny White broke off a 67-yard touchdown scamper with 5:27 left to play.

W&M marched to the UNC 34 on its next drive, but an 11-yard sack on third down forced a fourth-and-17 that the Tribe was unable to convert.

After forcing a three-and-out, W&M retook possession at its own 29-yard line with 1:09 remaining and no timeouts. Although the College moved the ball to near midfield, Paulus was whistled for an intentional grounding that moved the ball back to the 28 with just 0:02 remaining. Quarterback Brent Caprio then entered the game for Paulus, who was shaken up on the play, and was intercepted on a last-second deep pass down the middle.

The Tribe will return to conference action next weekend when it plays at No. 9/10 New Hampshire.

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