Reddick, Abrams-Ward Shine at Shrine Bowl

SPARTANBURG, S.C. --- Despite standout performances from NC linebackers Kevin Reddick and E.J. Abrams-Ward, it was the SC wide receivers who carried the day in a cold and rainy 31-24 SC victory at the 71st Annual Shrine Bowl.

"Just constant mistakes," Reddick said. "We were getting beat on the post and just deep in general – a lot of lack of communication."

Led by Georgia pledge A.J. Green's 108 yards, South Carolina's passing game accounted for over 75-percent of its offense and was responsible for 11 of its 16 first downs.

However, South Carolina found it literally impossible to run on the Tar Heel defense. The Sandlappers averaged 2.6 yards on 36 carries. Minus J.J. Brooke's 31-yard score on a broken short-yardage play in the fourth quarter and that average sinks to under two-yards a rush.

"I give credit to the D-line," said Reddick, who led the game with five solo tackles. "They were opening the holes. I was just diving into the holes."

Reddick, a New Bern (N.C.) native, recorded seven total tackles including 4.5 for a loss and a sack. He also forced a fumble, which eventually resulted in a NC touchdown.

Picking up the fumble and returning it for nine yards was fellow linebacker E.J. Abrams-Ward.

"I made the tackle a little bit – got my hand in there," Abrams-Ward said. "And then just ‘boop' it popped out."

Abrams-Ward, who stars at quarterback for Thomasville (N.C.), also intercepted a pass to open up the second half and returned that for 17 yards.

"I read pass, I dropped back into my coverage, and I saw the ball in the air so I went up to get it and I took it back for a couple of yards," Abrams-Ward said.

After spotting South Carolina 10 points in the first quarter, Raleigh (N.C.) Leesville Road teammates Thomas Wilson and Taylor Gentry connected for a 47-yard touchdown to put North Carolina on the board. A Bobby Morrision touchdown following Abrams-Ward's fumble recovery gave the Tar Heels their first lead of the game.

The Shrine Bowl rarely fails to make a star out of a previously under-the-radar player. Saturday afternoon, that player was Morrison. The Statesville (N.C.) West Iredell tailback rushed for 51 yards and a score on eight carries (6.4-yard average) and caught a pass for 40 more yards.

North Carolina's 14-10 lead was short lived as a pair of South Carolina touchdown passes on consecutive drives virtually sealed the deal for the Sandlappers.

North Carolina added three points when Casey Barth converted a 31-yard field goal, and then both teams exchanged rushing touchdowns.

* NOTE: Dwayne Allen had one catch for 12 yards.

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