CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Mitch Trubisky threw for a career-high 432 yards and three touchdowns on North Carolina’s 56-28 victory over James Madison on Saturday.
UNC’s junior quarterback’s first pass of the day – a screen to Ryan Switzer – was blown up. After a pair of completions, Trubisky was unable to connect with tight end Carl Tucker on his final pass of UNC's opening possession. He was nearly perfect the rest of the game, completing 22 of his next 23 passes and setting the school single-game record for consecutive completions with 18. He also ran five times for 26 yards.
UNC scored touchdowns on all eight drives that Trubisky led, not including a kneel down possession just before halftime.
Trubisky's 16.0 yards per attempt was a school record, helping to boost his quarterback rating to 260, just shy of his single-game school record of 282 set against Delaware last season. He owns two of the top three quarterback ratings in school history.
The Mentor, Ohio native also set the UNC record for most consecutive passes without an interception (156). Oscar Davenport’s streak of 154 consecutive passes without an interception spanned the 1996-97 seasons.
UNC finished with 635 total yards of offense, its most since racking up 704 yards against Duke last November.
Play of the Game
Khalid Abdullah’s one-yard touchdown plunge with 3:44 to play in the first quarter gave James Madison a 14-7 lead and prompted some grumbling from the Kenan Stadium crowd. On UNC’s next possession, Trubisky handed off to Elijah Hood, which sucked in the Dukes’ safeties. Hood quickly stopped and tossed the ball back to his quarterback for a flea flicker to a wide open Switzer for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Stat of Note
The game's 12 touchdown drives – eight for UNC, four for JMU – went for 72 yards or longer. There were no significant special teams plays on the day and the game's sole turnover came in the final minutes with the outcome very much decided.
North Carolina was missing a couple of starters along its defensive line – tackle Nazair Jones and end Dajaun Drennon – and their absence was glaring as James Madison rolled up 317 yards of total offense in the first half alone. UNC made some necessary adjustments after a rough first quarter and held the Dukes to seven points and 273 yards over the final three quarters.
James Madison finished with 495 total yards of offense on a 5.8-yards-per-play clip.
Plagued by Penalties
The Tar Heels were flagged four times for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and a fifth time for an unnecessary roughness penalty, all measuring 15 yards each. UNC accumulated 10 penalties for 110 yards, boosting its season averages to 9.7 penalties per game and 85.7 penalty yards per game.
Home Streak Continues
After posting a 7-0 record at Kenan Stadium in 2015, UNC’s win on Saturday extends its home winning streak to eight games. The win streak is the longest at Kenan since the Tar Heels won 10 straight from 1995-1997.
UNC opens ACC play against Coastal Division foe Pittsburgh next Saturday.