Defense Dominates Spring Game

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Defense dominated North Carolina's spring football game on Saturday as the Blue team defeated the White team, 17-13, in front of 2,000 fans at Kenan Stadium. Led by sophomore defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell, Carolina registered 11 sacks and 15 tackles for losses in the two hour scrimmage.

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  • "I like the improvement I've seen this spring from our defense," said head coach John Bunting. "We were aggressive up front and the defensive line controlled things quite a bit today."

    The highlight of the day was an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior safety Linwood Williams who picked off the pass at the 20-yard line and raced past the White team untouched for the score and a 10-6 Blue lead.

    Mitchell, who will play tackle this season after switching from tackle to end last year, finished the day with four tackles and a team-high three sacks. Junior linebacker Larry Edwards, who Bunting said had been the biggest surprise of the spring, had five tackles, including two sacks. Walk-on tackle Dean Mason also posted two sacks.

    Starting quarterback Matt Baker completed 6 of 9 passes for 45 yards in limited duty and sophomore Roger Heinz was 6 of 18 for 84 yards.

    "I'm excited by what Matt has done this spring," said Bunting. "He has been throwing the ball really well and has taken on a leadership role with this team. What you saw on offense today was a team that didn't have all of its players together that ran a very basic offense. We broke up the offensive line so they were at a little bit of a disadvantage."

    Most of the game's scoring came late in the fourth quarter after most of the first- and second-team players were on the sideline. Walk-on quarterback Jay Spence drove the Blue team 59 yards on 12 plays and scored on a 1-yard run to take a 17-6 lead. On White's next possession, walk-ons Ben Johnson (QB) and Justin Henderson (WR) connected on a 38-yard touchdown pass to close the scoring.

    The spring game concludes North Carolina's spring workout sessions. The Tar Heels open the season on Saturday, September 10 at Georgia Tech.

    "I'm really excited about where we are as a team," said Bunting. "I think we have a great chance to do some good things next year."

    Statistical Leaders

    Rushing (att., yards)
    McGill 6-9; Wilson 9-72; Edwards 12-69; Carey 10-11

    Passing (att-comp-int, yards)
    Baker 6-9-0, 45; Heinz 6-18-0, 84; Bozich 0-1-0, 0; Spence 6-7-1, 94; Johnson 3-5-1, 67

    Receiving (no.-yards)
    Mason 4-78, Wasserman 3-62, Wells 3-55, Hamlett 2-20

    Worsley, 6 tackles, one fumble caused
    Guy, 5 tackles, 1 sack
    Edwards, 5 tackles, 2 sacks
    Taylor K., 4 tackles
    Mitchell K., 4 tackles, 3 sacks
    Mason D., 4 tackles, 2 sacks

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