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Off the cuff: As much as I like him, I think we've seen the last of Cameron Sexton. He seemed out of sync all day and really only made one big play on the TD pass and that seemed a bit like a fluke. In looking at his expressions on the sidelines, Sexton didn't look like he wanted to be playing. He had no enthusiasm. If T.J. Yates, who started the season at quarterback, is healthy, he should get back in the starting lineup.

The time of possession was frustrating. It made the game seem even longer than it was. Commercial after commercial makes the games long enough but when you don't ever have the ball, it makes for a long day.

Speaking of TV coverage, ABC/ESPN went to a commercial once before the ball was even marked on a punt. And when they came back, they decided that talking to the sideline reporter about a pep talk a Maryland assistant coach had given was more important than calling a 50-yard pass that was in the air from the arm of Sexton. At first I thought it was a replay since they weren't calling the play.

Maryland was fortunate that the errant snap on the punt went all the way to the end zone for a safety. Just six inches back and the Heels would have had first down inside the one-yard line and likely would have gotten a touchdown (and likely would have won the game). In looking at the replay, you can see that the punter picked up the ball just inside the four and dove into the end zone. Not exactly sure what the rule is on that but evidently it was a smart move by the punter.

The Tar Heels are more athletic than the Terrapins and I think have a better passing game but rain is a great equalizer. Maryland ran the ball better, controlled the clock and came up with big third-and-long conversions. Simple as that.

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Terrapins 17, Tar Heels 15
UNC can't stop Maryland on third and longs

A tired North Carolina defense gave up chunks of yardage on third and fourth and long situations to blow a win at Maryland, falling 17-15. The Terrapins drove 73 yards in nine minutes and kicked a game-winning 26-yard field goal by Obi Egekeze with 1:42 left. (11/15)

The Terrapins converted on three third downs and one fourth down on the drive. Maryland QB Chris Turner threw 18 yards to Ronnie Tyler on third and 10 and then ran nine yards on fourth and five to put the Terps in field-goal range.

The Tar Heels, who held a 15-14 lead at the half, failed on opportunities to score in the second half. Casey Barth missed a 28-yard field goal off the left upright in the third quarter.

"We didn't do very well on third-and-long plays and we missed a field goal," Coach Butch Davis said, succinctly wrapping up the loss.

In the fourth, Greg Little dropped a pass that would have put Carolina in field goal range. On the next drive, on third and three, UNC QB Cam Sexton rolled out and decided to run for it but instead of cutting inside, he cut outside and was pushed out of bounds a yard short.

One wasted opportunity came after a Maryland fumble that gave the Heels the ball at the Terrapin 38. Earlier the Tar Heels did not take advantage of a trick play where fullback Bobby Rome, a quarterback in high school, took a handoff and threw 44 yards to Brooks Foster.

The loss likely eliminates the Tar Heels, now 3-3 in the ACC, from playing for the conference crown. It was the third loss of the season by three points or less.

The Tar Heels got out to a quick 2-0 lead on a safety. Maryland's opening drive stalled and the center snap on the punt went over the punter's head, recovered by the punter in the end zone.

On the ensuing drive, UNC drove to the Maryland 20 yard line - the big play being a pass from Cam Sexton to Hakeem Nicks that moved it into Terrapin territory. But the drive stalled and Casey Barth connected on a 38-yard field goal to make it 5-0 fewer than five minutes into the game.

Maryland came right back on a 76-yard scoring drive capped by a three-yard TD run by Da'rel Scott. The big play of the drive was a 15-yard completion to Darrius Heywood-Bey on a third-and-seven play.

Less than a minute later the Tar Heels re-took the lead. Sexton, on the run to his right, threw it over traffic into the arms of Cooter Arnold who ran it in to complete the 59-yard touchdown pass to make it 12-7 with 5:34 left in the first quarter.

Another third-and-long conversion by Maryland led to a score on the Terps' next drive. On third and 16, Maryland's Chris Turner passed for 18 yards to keep the drive alive. A 20-yard run by Maryland's Davin Meggett set up a one-yard TD run by Meggett to make it 14-12 Terrapins.

Late in the first half, UNC's Brooks Foster ran 32 yards off the left side on a reverse to set up a 28-yard field goal by Casey Barth with 4:12 left in the half which gave the Heels a 15-14 halftime lead.

Maryland controlled the time of possession and at times ran at will, racking up 195 yards on the ground. Maryland's Scott ran for 129 yards to lead the way. Carolina's offense, which only ran for 75 yards on the rainy day, put the defense in the precarious position. The defense, which held tough much of the day, nonetheless gave up big yardage on third downs, especially on the final winning drive.

Carolina did get the ball back with 1:36 to go in the game but could get nothing going. During the drive, Sexton overthrew one receiver and underthrew another before taking a sack and throwing an interception to end the game.

Sexton, in his worst game of the season, was only 10 of 24 for 166 yards and even fumbled the ball without being hit as he was on his way to what would have been a first down. The big story offensively was that the Tar Heels could not convert on third down, going one of 11, and only had the ball 19 and a half minutes.

On the other hand, Maryland converted nine of 18 third-down situations and held the ball for 40 and a half minutes. Maryland also got 27 first downs compared to just 11 for Carolina.

Carolina falls to 7-3 overall and wraps up the regular season with games against rivals N.C. State, a winner against Wake, and Duke, a loser to Clemson.

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Look for Heels to have a winning record in Davis' 2nd year


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