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Eagles Fall To Tar Heels, 45-24

North Carolina's Kendric Burney tackles quarterback Chris Crane. (AP)

North Carolina's Kendric Burney tackles quarterback Chris Crane. (AP)

Oct. 25, 2008

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    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP)--Hakeem Nicks had three second-quarter touchdown catches and ran for a score in the fourth quarter to help North Carolina beat No. 23 Boston College 45-24 on Saturday.

    Trimane Goddard added an interception return for a touchdown for the Tar Heels (6-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter before roaring back with a dominating performance that made them bowl-eligible for the first time in four years. The Tar Heels also got a short touchdown run from Ryan Houston after a long interception return by Kendric Burney, who had two of the team's three picks of BC quarterback Chris Crane.

    Nicks finished with eight catches for 139 yards--with 127 yards coming in a 24-point second quarter--and three rushes for 31 yards, proving to be a matchup the Eagles (5-2, 2-2) had no answer for all day. He had TD catches of 26, 40 and 43 yards to go with his 12-yard rushing score.

    The Tar Heels were ranked 18th before last week's overtime loss at Virginia -- their 14th straight in Charlottesville--dropped them out of the rankings and left a mood of disappointment lingering around Kenan Stadium. They took that out on the Eagles, who entered the game with a four-game winning streak that had pushed them into a crowded group atop the league's Atlantic Division.

    Cameron Sexton threw for 238 yards, while Shaun Draughn had 64 yards rushing in a 352-yard day for the offense. That was more than enough against Boston College, which finished with 244 total yards behind a shaky performance from Crane.

    Crane threw for 204 yards and two touchdowns, while the Eagles got just 40 yards rushing.

    Boston College's defense got the Eagles off to a fast start, with Ron Brace sacking Sexton on North Carolina's third play and forcing a fumble that Kevin Akins scooped up and returned 13 yards for a 10-0 lead with 6:18 left in the opening period.

    Sexton connected with Nicks 31 seconds after Crane's TD toss to make it 24-17 at the break. Then Burney picked off Crane on the Eagles' first possession of the second half and returned it to BC's 1-yard line to set up Houston's score on the next play.

    Goddard essentially closed the door, jumping in front of Crane's pass for Brandon Robinson near midfield and going 51 yards for the score and a 38-17 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter.

    North Carolina entered the game tied for the national lead with 14 interceptions and among the league leaders in turnover margin. Sexton's early fumble was North Carolina's only turnover.

    The Tar Heels' 24-point second quarter was the most they had scored in one period since scoring 35 in the second quarter at Duke eight years ago. Boston College had allowed 17 points in the second quarter all year. It also marked the third time this season North Carolina has rallied from at least 10 points down to win.

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