CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Shane Carden twice directed the East Carolina offense to long first-half drives that stalled at the worst possible time. And when things slowed down after halftime, the Pirates were left to lament those missed chances.
Carden threw for just 124 yards and was sacked seven times in East Carolina's 27-6 loss at North Carolina on Saturday, a rough day for an offense that squandered its chances to build some early confidence.
First came a 70-yard drive that reached the 4-yard line only to see Hunter Furr taken down for a 1-yard loss on third-and-short, forcing the Pirates to settle for a field goal from Warren Harvey immediately after UNC's first touchdown.
On the next drive, Carden led the Pirates to the 9 before overthrowing an open Danny Webster in the back of the end zone on third down. Harvey kicked another short field goal to make it a 10-6 game late in the first half.
The Pirates never got near the goal line again. And when the Tar Heels scored two touchdowns in in a 3-minute span of the third quarter, those missing points became even more glaring.
"We've couldn't finish drives," Carden said. "We started out the second quarter well, we were driving the ball and we've got to finish those drives. We do that and we've got two touchdowns, and I think we let them kind of get to us."
For North Carolina, Gio Bernard scored two touchdowns in his return from a knee injury to lead the Tar Heels.
He had missed two straight games since hurting his left knee in the season-opening win against Elon, but he returned with a 14-yard scoring catch from Bryn Renner in the first quarter and added a 4-yard TD run in the third.
Bernard didn't have a big rushing day for the Tar Heels (2-2), finishing with 50 yards on 18 carries. But Renner had little trouble through the air, completing 27 of 43 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yard scoring pass to sophomore receiver Sean Tapley early in the third.