NORFOLK (WAVY/AP) — Chazz Surratt gave North Carolina exactly what it needed — a solid, mistake-free performance that allowed the Tar Heels to take control early and end a season-opening two-game losing streak.
Surratt ran for two touchdowns and threw for one as the Tar Heels dominated Old Dominion 53-23 Saturday.
“I thought he made some good decisions, didn’t put the ball in harm’s way, which was important,” coach Larry Fedora said after the redshirt freshman completed 16 of 24 passes for 257 yards.
The game wasn’t quite the 80-20 victory the Tar Heels (1-2) handed the Monarchs four years ago, but seemed to have the potential for that as North Carolina took a 39-7 lead at halftime. The Monarchs’ only points came on a 100-yard kickoff return by Isaiah Harper.
North Carolina, meanwhile, scored three touchdowns, each on a drive lasting under 2 minutes, in a span of 4:12 in the second quarter. After losses to California and No. 14 Louisville to open the season, both with poor defensive efforts, the victory was critical.
“I think winning eases a lot of things,” Fedora said. “It was important to get this win and the alternative is not very good.”
With students streaming for the exits before halftime, Old Dominion (2-1) turned to 17-year-old freshman Steven Williams Jr., at quarterback. The lefthander used a 19-yard run to set the Monarchs up at the UNC 5, but fumbled the ball away two plays later.
In the second half, with Williams behind center, two pass interference calls against North Carolina aided a drive to Nick Rice’s 48-yard field goal. Williams later hit Travis Fulgham for a 71-yard touchdown and Hasaan Patterson for an 18-yard score.
Williams replaced Jordan Hoy and Blake LaRussa who were alternating quarterback snaps before coach Bobby Wilder decided to burn the redshirt on his freshman signal caller.
“I felt like we had to make the move,” Wilder said.”I did not go into this game thinking he had to play I thought that Blake or Jordan would be successful, Stevie Williams is the quarterback of the Old Dominion football team moving forward.”
“They just said let’s go and I was kind of shocked,” Williams said. “I knew I just had to go out there and help my team they were all behind me I just had to go do my job and we would be fine.”
Wilder also said after the game that running back Ray Lawry, who missed last week’s game, had an MRI that revealed he has a torn hamstring and could miss the remainder of the season.
Next up for Old Dominion, a Saturday showdown in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech.