Tarheels Runover Utes, 31-17

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Matt Baker threw two touchdown passes and Tommy Richardson made two key fumble recoveries in the fourth quarter Saturday in North Carolina's 31-17 victory over Utah.

The game turned on a penalty late in the third quarter. On a second-and-12 at his own 32, Baker's pass for Jaworski Pollack was intercepted by Eric Weddle, who returned it for a touchdown. But Utah was called for roughing the passer, and the momentum reversed in favor of North Carolina (2-2).

Four plays later, Baker hit Mike Mason on a 40-yard pass play to the Utah 1. Barrington Edwards scored on the next play to extend North Carolina's lead to 24-14 with 14:02 to go.

Utah (3-2) got Dan Beardall's 35-yard field goal a few minutes later and was marching toward a game-tying score when quarterback Brian Johnson scrambled on a third-and-14 from the North Carolina 31. Larry Edwards stripped the ball and Richardson recovered for the Tar Heels.

Utah's next possession lasted just one play when Quintin Ganther fumbled at the end of a run and Richardson pounced on the ball at the North Carolina 49 with 6:44 to go. It was the fourth of Utah's five turnovers.

The Utes fumbled on three of their last five possessions, and Johnson, who also threw an interception, lost two of them.

Baker sealed the game when he hit Jesse Holley over the middle, and Holley snaked his way through the Utah secondary to complete a 43-yard scoring play with 5:11 to go.

Brandon Tate took the opening kickoff 96 yards for North Carolina's first score at 14:47. It was the first time the Tar Heels had scored on an opening kickoff since Michael Waddell did it against Wisconsin in 2003, and the first time Utah has given up a kickoff return for a touchdown since UNLV returned one for a score in 1999.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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