James Madison at North Carolina

North Carolina wins home opener, beats James Madison 56-27

By AARON BEARD
AP Sports Writer
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky looked relaxed and made running the Tar Heels' high-powered offense look easy.

The first-year starter threw for a career-high 432 yards and three touchdowns while setting two school records, helping UNC beat James Madison 56-28 in Saturday's home opener.

''He's getting better and better, and more comfortable and more comfortable,'' UNC coach Larry Fedora said. ''Now as you see him get more comfortable, you're seeing Mitch Trubisky come out now. You're seeing the guy that can do all the things that we think he can do.''

Trubisky completed 24 of 27 passes for the Tar Heels (2-1), including a program single-game record of 18 straight before calling it a day in the fourth. He has thrown 156 passes without an interception, breaking a record that had stood since 1997.

The Tar Heels scored touchdowns on eight of the junior's nine drives, the exception being a one-snap possession before halftime. Each of those drives was at least 72 yards, with Trubisky connecting on a 75-yard flea flicker score to Ryan Switzer and a 71-yarder to Mack Hollins.

''I think it's just becoming more comfortable week to week,'' Trubisky said. ''It's all about being better than the player I was last Saturday.''

Meanwhile, Elijah Hood and T.J. Logan combined to rush for five scores for the Tar Heels (2-1), who finished with 635 yards and didn't punt until midway through the fourth quarter.

Khalid Abdullah ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns for the Dukes (2-1), who scored touchdowns on all three first-quarter drives. But they couldn't keep up with the Tar Heels' humming offense and didn't reach the end zone again until the third quarter after UNC led by 21.

''They've got some great athletes, but we made some mistakes there early that gave them some real cheap ones, some easy scores where they didn't have to work very much,'' JMU coach Mike Houston said. ''That's our fault.''

THE TAKEAWAY

JAMES MADISON: The good news is the Championship Subdivision Dukes moved the ball well against a power-conference opponent before sputtering in the second quarter. The bad news is they couldn't get Trubisky off the field, though they won't see an offense like UNC's in Colonial Athletic Association play, either.

NORTH CAROLINA: This was a reminder of what UNC's offense can do after some uneven moments against Georgia and Illinois. But the defense isn't in a great spot entering Atlantic Coast Conference play between injuries and shaky execution (495 yards allowed).

GETTING THIN

UNC's defensive line is short of help.

The Tar Heels were without tackle Naz Jones - who tweeted that he had a concussion - and end Tomon Fox due to injuries. Another end, Dajaun Drennon, hasn't played all year with an undisclosed injury.

Redshirt freshman Jason Strowbridge started at end and got banged up, too. But UNC had junior end Tyler Powell for the first time; he returned this week after being away due to personal issues.

PENALTY PROBLEM

Fedora was irked by the Tar Heels' five unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties among 10 penalties for 110 yards.

''We can do things within the game and screw up, but we're not going to screw up after the whistle,'' Fedora said. ''So we'll get that corrected.''

OFF-FIELD ISSUES

It was a difficult week here with one of the Tar Heels turning himself in on an arrest warrant for misdemeanor sexual battery and assault on a female student in February. Junior Allen Artis, a reserve who played on special teams, was suspended indefinitely once charges were filed Tuesday.

''I thought our guys have handled the situation fairly well, but they're young,'' Fedora said. ''They're kids and they'll grow from it and hopefully we'll be better men from it.''

UP NEXT

JAMES MADISON: The Dukes, who won a share of the CAA title last year, open league play at Maine in the first meeting since 2012.

NORTH CAROLINA: The reigning Coastal Division champion opens Atlantic Coast Conference play at home against Pittsburgh, which finished second in the division last year. UNC won last season's meeting 26-19 on the road.

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This story has been corrected to fix the spelling on Dajaun Drennon's first name.

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP's college football site at http://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
James Madison  (2-1)2107028
North Carolina  (2-1) «142114756
Scoring Summary
JMADKhalid Abdullah 1 yard TD run (Tyler Gray Extra Point)
UNCT.J. Logan 6 yard TD run (Nick Weiler Extra Point)
JMADKhalid Abdullah 1 yard TD run (Tyler Gray Extra Point)
UNCRyan Switzer 75 yard TD pass from Mitch Trubisky (Nick Weiler Extra Point)
JMADCardon Johnson 68 yard TD pass from Bryan Schor (Tyler Gray Extra Point)
UNCElijah Hood 3 yard TD run (Nick Weiler Extra Point)
UNCMack Hollins 71 yard TD pass from Mitch Trubisky (Nick Weiler Extra Point)
UNCBug Howard 12 yard TD pass from Mitch Trubisky (Nick Weiler Extra Point)
UNCElijah Hood 15 yard TD run (Nick Weiler Extra Point)
JMADBryan Schor 3 yard TD run (Tyler Gray Extra Point)
UNCT.J. Logan 7 yard TD run (Nick Weiler Extra Point)
UNCT.J. Logan 5 yard TD run (Nick Weiler Extra Point)
 
Team Stats
 JMADUNC
First Downs2830
Third Down Efficiency7-167-8
Fourth Down Efficiency2-30-0
Plays-Net Yards86-49565-635
Rushes-Yds50-20932-173
Passing Yds286462
Kick Return Yds8766
Punt Return Yds013
Passes22-36-029-33-0
Punts4-1801-41
Fumbles-Lost0-01-1
Penalties-Yds7-5510-110
Time of Poss.34:4325:17
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
JMAD: Khalid Abdullah 18-116, Cardon Johnson 15-72, Taylor Woods 6-13, Trai Sharp 4-8, Connor Mitch 1-3, Bryan Schor 6--3
UNC: Elijah Hood 18-106, T.J. Logan 9-41, Mitch Trubisky 5-26
PASSING
JMAD: Bryan Schor 14-22-218-0, Connor Mitch 8-14-68-0
UNC: Mitch Trubisky 24-27-432-0, Nathan Elliott 5-6-30-0
RECEIVING
JMAD: Domo Taylor 6-66, Rashard Davis 3-32, Terrence Alls 3-23, Khalid Abdullah 2-38, Brandon Ravenel 2-17, Trai Sharp 2-14, Cardon Johnson 1-68, Jonathan Kloosterman 1-15, Taylor Woods 1-14, Mitchell Kirsch 1--1
UNC: Ryan Switzer 5-101, Austin Proehl 5-82, Thomas Jackson 4-22, Mack Hollins 3-94, Bug Howard 3-69, T.J. Logan 2-44, Elijah Hood 2--2, Jordan Cunningham 1-20, Khris Francis 1-11, Carl Tucker 1-9, Anthony Ratliff-Williams 1-6
 

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