N.C. Prevails in Shrine Bowl

SPARTANBURG, S.C. --- In a game full of mental mistakes, North Carolina's victory in the turnover battle resulted in a 23-16 win over South Carolina in the 70th Annual Shrine Bowl.

The Tar Heels of North Carolina lost three of their eight fumbles and had seven penalty flags thrown on them – half of which were "illegal formation" calls.

South Carolina fumbled the ball away four times and threw two picks. Three of their six turnovers resulted in North Carolina scores.

One of the few consistent aspects was the leg of Jay Wooten of Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County. The 6-foot-3, 175-pounder converted two-of-two extra points, and easily made his lone field goal try – a 26-yarder.

"The snapper and holder did great," said Wooten. "They did an excellent job and I couldn't ask for more. I made my kicks and we came out with the win, so I guess I did good."

Additionally, Wooten placed three of his seven punts inside the 20 with a long of 59 yards. On kickoffs, Wooten kicked four-of-five inside the five-yard line including one touchback.

South Carolina opened up the scoring with a field goal. The Sandlappers maintained a 3-0 lead until Melvin Ingram picked up a Willy Korn fumble and returned it nine yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter.

"All I saw was the ball laying there and I went and got it," said Ingram. "I was thinking ‘Christmas came early.'"

Ingram, a 6-foot-2 220-pound linebacker from Rockingham (N.C.) Richmond County, ended the night with four tackles (two solo).

With less than a minute to play in the first half, South Carolina and North Carolina traded passing touchdowns. Markish Jones caught a 40-yard pass from Matt Lentz, while Dwight Jones pulled in a pass from Scott Riddle and ran 63-yards for a score.

"I kept on noticing the DBs playing off, so I told coach to throw a slant or post," said Dwight Jones. "Coach called a quick slant. I caught the ball and left my defender. It was my determination once I catch the ball not to get tackled."

Jones, a 6-foot-3 205-pound wide receiver from Burlington (N.C.) Cummings, also caught an 11-yard hitch.

In the third quarter, South Carolina's Stanley Hunter returned a fumble 66 yards to give the Sandlappers their last lead of the game – 16-13.

North Carolina regained the lead when Jonathan Williams, N.C.'s offensive MVP, ran in a touchdown from nine yards out to open up the fourth quarter. Wooten's field goal sealed the deal.

Dominique Ellis, a 5-foot-11 180-pound cornerback from Wendell (N.C.) East Wake, won North Carolina's defensive MVP after leading the Tar Heels in tackles with five solo and one assisted.

Other Notable Players: Ryan Houston 5 carries for 14 yards; Wesley Saunders 3 tackles (1 solo); Tydreke Powell 3 tackles; Quan Sturdivant 1 solo tackle; and Barquell Rivers 2 tackles.

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