CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Ray Rice rushed for 201 yards and a
career-high three touchdowns, and Rutgers withstood a late scare
from North Carolina and beat the Tar Heels 21-16 Saturday.
Rice had 128 yards by halftime, finished with touchdown runs
covering 2, 7 and 10 yards and became the first Rutgers rusher with
three consecutive 100-yard games since Jacki Crooks did it in 1998.
Rice, who finished last season by surpassing 100 yards rushing
in his final two games, had 31 carries and was 16 yards shy of his
career high of 217 yards, set in 2005 against Connecticut.
Mike Teel was 14-of-20 passing for 145 yards for Rutgers (1-0),
which began its season with a win for the fourth time in coach Greg
Schiano's six seasons.
But in this one, the Scarlet Knights had to sweat out a late
comeback bid by North Carolina.
Rutgers led 21-10 midway through the fourth quarter before the
Tar Heels closed to within five points on Joe Dailey's 2-yard
touchdown pass to freshman Hakeem Nicks with 5:09 remaining. They
went for 2, but Dailey's pass was intercepted by Joe Porter.
North Carolina had one last chance when it forced a punt, got
the ball back at its own 27 and advanced to the Rutgers 29. But
Dailey's third-down pass was intercepted by Manny Collins, and the
Scarlet Knights ran out the final 1:52.
North Carolina (0-1) came in determined to prevent Brian
Leonard, the Scarlet Knights' do-it-all fullback, from beating
them, and they succeeded, limiting him to 25 yards rushing on six
carries and four receptions for 20 yards.
But that focus on Leonard enabled Rice to have one of the best
games of his career.
Rice's 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter capped a
93-yard drive and put Rutgers ahead 7-0.
Then, after Carolina tied it at 7-all, Rice took over again.
On the ensuing drive, he accounted for 61 of the Scarlet
Knights' 62 yards, and his 7-yard touchdown run with just over 2
minutes left before halftime put Rutgers ahead 14-7.
Rice added a 10-yard TD run to cap Rutgers' first possession of
the second half.
Dailey, a Nebraska transfer, was 24 of 36 passing for 234 yards
in his first start for the Tar Heels, but was intercepted twice by
Dailey scored North Carolina's first touchdown when his 4-yard
bootleg run on the first play of the second quarter made it 7-7.
Connor Barth ended the first half with a 47-yard field goal to
pull North Carolina to 14-10.