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No. 23 UNC handles Liberty

Aug 31, 2014 - 3:30 AM Chapel Hill, NC ( - Marquise Williams threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more, as No. 23 North Carolina exploded for four touchdowns over a four-minute span in the third quarter to take a 56-29 win over Liberty.

Williams went 19-for-29 for 169 yards with two interceptions, and also had six carries for 52 yards for the Tar Heels (1-0), who went 7-6 last season, defeating Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl.

Josh Woodrum was 16-for-33 for 189 yards with two interceptions, while Todd Macon had two rushing touchdowns for Liberty (0-1), an FCS team that went 8-4 last season.

Liberty held tough in the first half and had a 22-21 lead after Jacob Hagen recovered a fumble and took it 27 yards for a score with just over nine minutes to play in the third.

North Carolina, though, exploded for four straight touchdowns later in the frame to surge ahead.

After an exchange of punts, Williams and Mack Hollins connected for a 33-yard score, and Jeff Schoettmer picked off Woodrum on the next offensive snap, taking the ball 19 yards for a touchdown.

Liberty continued to struggle, as its next play saw Macon fumble the ball and the Tar Heels recover at the Liberty 36. Six plays later, Williams ran the ball in from 15 yards out for a 42-22 lead.

Yet another fumble from the Flames was recovered by the Tar Heels, and Mitch Trubisky hit Jack Tabb on a 4-yard score to make it 49-22 with just over two minutes to play in the third.

Liberty picked off Trubisky in the fourth quarter and that led to a 1-yard TD run by Macon with just over 10 minutes to play to make it a 49-29 game.

The Flames could get no closer, though, and Charles Brunson capped off the victory with a 2-yard score with just over a minute to play.

North Carolina's first possession was successful, as Williams and Bug Howard connected for a 7-yard score and a 7-0 lead 3 1/2 minutes in.

Macon scored his first touchdown from a yard out with under five minutes to play in the first quarter to finish off an 8-play, 50-yard drive that was started on an interception of Williams.

The Tar Heels came right back to take the lead as Romar Morris punched the ball in from a yard out for a 14-7 advantage.

The score stayed that way until North Carolina set up for a punt, but the snap got away from Tommy Hibbard, who was eventually whistled for an illegal kick in the end zone, giving Liberty a safety.

Getting the ball back, the Flames took a 15-14 lead as D.J. Abnar took the ball in from a yard out, but the 2-point conversion failed and it was a 15-14 game.

The Tar Heels, though, answered with a 3-yard scoring run from Williams to take a 21-15 lead into the locker room.

Game Notes

This was the first meeting between these schools ... North Carolina hosts San Diego State next Saturday ... There was a total of 10 turnovers in the game, six from Liberty.