North Carolina fell to 0-2 following a 23-7 loss to Maryland in the first ACC contest for the Tar Heels. The Terrapins sealed the victory with two fourth quarter touchdowns after giving the Tar Heels little room to operate in the first half.
"In the second half, even with a little better field position, I probably wore the defense out, going for it on a couple of those first downs. I will take all the heat on that," said Coach Bunting.
North Carolina struck on their first play from scrimmage, a 77-yard run by Willie Parker. Parker's run was the longest for UNC since a 90-yard run by Curtis Johnson against Maryland in 1993.
Maryland tied the score after getting good field position on an exchange of punts in the first quarter, scoring on a 20-yard pass from Shaun Hill to Jafar Williams.
Maryland punter Brooks Barnard gave the Terps good field position throughout the first half, and averaged 50.4 yards per punt for the game. "They did a great job," said Tar Heel coach John Bunting, "They kept us pinned down in the first half and we were not able to overcome it."
After a Barnard punt pinned the Heels back deep, the Maryland defense scored a safety when Tyrone Stewart tackled Willie Parker in the endzone, giving Maryland the lead at 9-7.
The rest of the first half proved to be a defensive struggle. Maryland was able to muster only 115 yards of total offense in the first half, while North Carolina gained only 56 yards after Parker's initial touchdown run.
For the second consecutive game, Ronald Curry left the game at quarterback in the third quarter after being unable to move the Tar Heels. Curry left the game after completing 6 of 12 passes for 61 yards and one interception.
Durant completed 10 of 14 for 97 yards in a little over a quarter in the half. He was intercepted twice, once on a ball tipped by Curome Cox and picked off the turf by defensive end Michael Whaley.
Head coach John Bunting said when asked if Durant would replace Curry as the starter next week at Texas, "I'll think about it, I would be inclined to stay with what I have been doing." Bunting did not lay all the blame for the impotence of the UNC offense on Curry, "We did not block very well, we haven't picked that inside blitz up yet," said Bunting.
Darian Durant replaced Curry with 6:04 left in the third quarter. North Carolina's first possession with Durant under center ended with an interception by Tony Jackson.
Scooter Monroe caught Shaun Hill's pass for a touchdown with 13:19 left in the fourth quarter, extending the Terrapin lead to 16-7.
After Durant's second interception, Maryland drove the ball after the interception on the running of Bruce Perry, who ran for a career high 116 yards. Marc Riley scored with 6:35 remaining, and Maryland ran the score to 23 to 7.
"We don't feel very good about [the loss], said Bunting, "I don't think there is a guy in [the locker room] that feels good about it, but we can't look back, we have ten games to go."
The Tar Heels play their third consecutive game of the season on the road against Texas next week.