North Carolina at Illinois

Trubisky leads North Carolina past Illinois, 48-23

By David Mercer
AP Sports Writer
  •  

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) In a story Sept. 11 about North Carolina's game against Illinois, The Associated Press misspelled the last name of North Carolina's quarterback on some references. It is Mitch Trubisky, not Trupisky.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Trubisky leads North Carolina past Illinois, 48-23

Tar Heels ride Trubisky's big night to 48-23 win at Illinois

By DAVID MERCER

Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Nursing an eight-point lead with just over 12 minutes left Saturday, North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky heaved the ball deep toward Ryan Switzer but instead connected with the back of an Illinois defensive back.

No problem, as it turned out. The ball bounced high and came down in the hands of Tar Heel tight end Jake Bargas for a first down that set up a touchdown that gave North Carolina a 38-23 lead.

Sometimes, it's just your night, and Saturday was Trubisky's.

The junior quarterback threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more scores Saturday to lead the Tar Heels to a 48-23 win at Illinois.

''We took what the defense gave us,'' Trubisky said. ''We were just rolling; whoever was open was making plays. Our o-line did a good job all night. We just kept attacking the areas they were giving us on the field.''

Trubisky was coming off a workmanlike performance a week earlier against Georgia that wasn't enough to deliver a win.

On Saturday, he was 19-24 passing and didn't throw an interception. And he carried the ball nine times for 42 yards.

''He played well tonight, he took care of the football,'' North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said. ''He ran the ball effectively and I thought he was into it, sharp, focused and tough and that's what I expect from him.''

Early on, Trubisky had to lead the Tar Heels (1-1) from behind.

Illinois (1-1) went up 7-0 on the opening drive on a 65-yard Ke'Shawn VAugh touchdown run while North Carolina's offense started slow.

Trubisky jump-started the attack, rushing for two short touchdowns by the end of the first quarter and giving UNC a 17-14 lead it never gave up.

The Tar Heels held Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt to 127 yards and two touchdowns on 17-35 passing.

Illinois also struggled with penalties. They were flagged 13 times for 99 yards.

First-year Illinois coach Lovie Smith called the game a learning experience for his team, but had no explanation for the penalties.

''If you have a penalty, how do you explain it? Don't do it,'' he said. ''Sometimes you have to see what they do to your team. Winning teams don't do it.''

A year ago North Carolina easily handled Illinois at home, winning 48-14 and beginning a run that took the Tar Heels to the ACC title game and a bowl game.

THE TAKEAWAY

NORTH CAROLINA: Trubisky looked like a quarterback who can take North Carolina places, and while he was sacked twice his line otherwise protected him against an Illinois defensive line that punished Murray State in its opener. But before a late 62-yard touchdown when the game was all but decided, North Carolina struggled to get tailback Elijah Hood going. Aside from that TD he finished with 26 yards on 14 carries. UNC will need him when ACC play starts Sept. 24.

ILLINOIS: A week after a 52-3 win over Murray State gave the beginning of Smith's tenure a feel-good start, the new Illinois coach has a much better idea of what he needs to fix. The Illini ran the ball well at times and the defense limited the Tar Heels' run game. But 13 penalties cost Illinois 99 yards. And North Carolina's speed exposed Illinois' secondary.

LUNT IN CHECK

Lunt credited the North Carolina defense for shutting off his receivers for much of the night, calling the Tar Heel secondary the strength of their defense. Just seven of Lunt's 17 completions went to Illinois wideouts.

INJURY REPORT

The game was potentially costly for Illinois. Starting left guard Gabe Megginson had to be helped off the field in the fourth quarter with a leg injury and a Tar Heel defender fell over the back of his legs. And backup safety Caleb Day had to be helped off the field late I the second quarter after injuring his left leg. He did not return. The Illini also played without starting punter Ryan Frain, who Smith said was injured in a biking accident. It was not clear when Frain will return.

UP NEXT

NORTH CAROLINA: The Tar Heels will finally see their home field on Saturday, playing their first game at Kenan Memorial Stadium this season, against James Madison. James Madison opened season with an 80-7 win over Morehead State.

ILLINOIS: Illinois will play its third straight home game, hosting Western Michigan on Saturday. The Broncos will come to Champaign having already upset Northwestern.

---

Follow David Mercer on Twitter: (at)davidmercerAP

Associated Press college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
North Carolina  (1-1) «17771748
Illinois  (1-1)1420723
Scoring Summary
ILLKe'Shawn Vaughn 65 yd run (Chase McLaughlin kick)
UNCMitch Trubisky 1 yd run (Nick Weiler kick)
ILLKendrick Foster 15 yd pass from Wes Lunt (Chase McLaughlin kick)
UNCNick Weiler 49 yd FG
UNCMitch Trubisky 6 yd run (Nick Weiler kick)
UNCT.J. Logan 24 yd pass from Mitch Trubisky (Nick Weiler kick)
ILLTeam safety
UNCMack Hollins 20 yd pass from Mitch Trubisky (Nick Weiler kick)
ILLMalik Turner 7 yd pass from Wes Lunt (Chase McLaughlin kick)
UNCElijah Hood 7 yd run (Nick Weiler kick)
UNCElijah Hood 62 yd run (Nick Weiler kick)
UNCNick Weiler 41 yd FG
 
Team Stats
 UNCILL
First Downs2115
Third Down Efficiency5-127-18
Fourth Down Efficiency0-01-2
Plays-Net Yards62-46271-309
Rushes-Yds37-19736-182
Passing Yds265127
Kick Return Yds9370
Punt Return Yds333
Passes19-25-017-35-0
Punts3-1289-350
Fumbles-Lost1-16-1
Penalties-Yds6-4613-99
Time of Poss.25:4134:19
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
UNC: Elijah Hood 15-88, T.J. Logan 9-54, Mitch Trubisky 9-42, Khris Francis 4-13
ILL: Ke'Shawn Vaughn 15-116, Kendrick Foster 12-54, Tre Nation 2-14, Joe Spencer 0-14, Team 1--4, Wes Lunt 6--12
PASSING
UNC: Mitch Trubisky 19-24-265-0, Team 0-1-0-0
ILL: Wes Lunt 17-35-127-0
RECEIVING
UNC: Ryan Switzer 5-68, Bug Howard 3-60, Mack Hollins 3-44, Elijah Hood 3-10, T.J. Logan 2-34, Jake Bargas 1-23, Khris Francis 1-20, Austin Proehl 1-6
ILL: Ke'Shawn Vaughn 4-14, Malik Turner 3-33, Ainslie Johnson 2-21, Kendrick Foster 1-15, Reggie Corbin 1-14, Desmond Cain 1-7, Zach Grant 1-6, Andrew Davis 1-5, Sam Mays 1-5, Justin Hardee 1-4, Nathan Echard 1-3
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
North Carolina2nd Atlantic Coast Coastal5-38-5
Illinois6th Big Ten West2-73-9

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