Scores

Final

James Madison 10

(0-1, 0-1 away)

North Carolina 42

(1-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: GamePlan

3:30 PM ET, September 3, 2011

Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC

1 2 3 4 T
JMU 0 7 3 010
UNC 14 14 0 1442

Top Performers

Passing: B. Renner (UNC) - 277 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: G. Bernard (UNC) - 9 CAR, 64 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: D. Jones (UNC) - 9 REC, 116 YDS, 2 TD

Bryn Renner tosses 2 touchdowns as UNC topples James Madison

Associated Press

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Bryn Renner threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns in his first start Saturday, helping North Carolina beat James Madison 42-10 to give Everett Withers a successful debut as interim coach.

Renner completed 22 of 23 passes, with his only mistake being an interception on a deep ball in the second quarter. The sophomore completed his first eight passes -- including a 34-yard scoring strike to Dwight Jones to cap the game's opening drive -- and hit on his last 14 to tie a school record for most consecutive completions in a game and ending his day with a 21-yard TD toss to Jones midway through the fourth.

Renner also set an Atlantic Coast Conference record for highest single-game completion percentage (95.7) and finished just shy of the NCAA mark (95.8 percent) set by Tennessee's Tee Martin against South Carolina in 1998. He also had a touchdown on a sneak early in the fourth, a successful start as he replaces graduated four-year starter T.J. Yates.

Withers had spent the past three seasons as defensive coordinator before taking over when the school unexpectedly fired Butch Davis a week before training camp. Chancellor Holden Thorp said there had been too much cumulative damage to the university's reputation amid the NCAA investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct within the program, a decision that handed Withers his first head-coaching position in 24 seasons in college and the NFL.

In fact, Withers' debut was eerily similar to Davis' debut four years earlier. That also came against James Madison, with the Tar Heels breaking in a first-time starter in Yates and scoring the first 24 points en route to a 30-7 halftime lead and a 37-14 victory.

This time, the Tar Heels scored the first 21 points and led 28-7 at half when James Madison kicker Cameron Starke plunked the right upright on a 20-yard field goal just before the break.

Afterward, Withers said the team would send a game ball to Davis.

A pair of running backs who missed all last season certainly made things easier on Renner and Withers.

Redshirt freshman Giovani Bernard suffered a knee injury in his third day of practice, while Ryan Houston opted to redshirt after being cleared to return at midseason amid the NCAA probe. While Houston ran for 59 yards and a TD on 16 carries, Bernard's performance was probably more impressive. He showed impressive burst and the patience to let his blocks develop, reaching the end zone on a 12-yard run on his second carry before finishing with 64 yards and two scores on just nine carries.

Justin Thorpe threw for 152 yards and a touchdown for the Dukes in his return from a knee injury in last year's opener that sidelined him the rest of the year. But the Dukes managed just 211 total yards and never came close to repeating last season's road upset of Virginia Tech.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
JMU
UNC
1st Downs1024
Total Yards211461
Passing152277
Rushing59184
Penalties6-365-35
3rd Down Conversions2-136-9
4th Down Conversions2-20-0
Turnovers01
Possession31:0428:56

Passing Leaders

James MadisonC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Thorpe11/1515210.110
North CarolinaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Renner22/2327712.021

Rushing Leaders

James MadisonCARYDSAVGTDLG
Anderson13403.107
Scott12221.805
North CarolinaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bernard9647.1214
Houston16593.718

Receiving Leaders

James MadisonRECYDSAVGTDLG
Robinson25226.0047
Brown14141.0141
North CarolinaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Jones911612.9234
Highsmith44711.8037

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERJMUUNC
TD11:02Dwight Jones 34 Yd Pass From Bryn Renner (Casey Barth Kick) 07
TD04:41Giovani Bernard 12 Yd Run (Casey Barth Kick) 014
SECOND QUARTERJMUUNC
TD14:32Ryan Houston 1 Yd Run (Casey Barth Kick) 021
TD02:37Daniel Brown 41 Yd Pass From Justin Thorpe (Cameron Starke Kick) 721
TD01:05Giovani Bernard 14 Yd Run (Casey Barth Kick) 728
THIRD QUARTERJMUUNC
FG04:49Cameron Starke 31 Yd 1028
FOURTH QUARTERJMUUNC
TD13:24Bryn Renner 1 Yd Run (Casey Barth Kick) 1035
TD08:29Dwight Jones 21 Yd Pass From Bryn Renner (Casey Barth Kick) 1042

Research Notes

UNC QB Bryn Renner finished 22-23 with a completion percentage of 95.7, just shy of the NCAA record of 95.8 set by Tennessee's Tee Martin in 1998 (min. 20 completions).
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