CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -North Carolina kept sending a linebacker at the punter, kept handing off to a former safety and somehow
put its bulky defensive tackle in position to intercept a pass.
' defense got offensive - and for that matter, so did the offense and special teams - and that led to a statement victory.
Converted safety Shawn Draughn rushed for a career-high 109 yards and a touchdown, defensive lineman
returned an interception 23 yards for another score and North Carolina routed No. 24 Connecticut 38-12 on Saturday night.
blocked three punts,
fell on one of them for a touchdown and Draughn's 39-yard touchdown run started the game-breaking sequence that gave the
their first win over a ranked team in three years.
''To see a guy go and block three punts, man, that could be the difference in the game,'' Austin said. ''And then with Shawn
running the ball and being able to elude some guys, it helps us on defense, it gives us a lot of time to rest and also gives
our offense a lot of confidence to go down there and score.''
had a 1-yard score and
threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to
for North Carolina (4-1), which overcame some shortcomings on the stat sheet by scoring 21 points off Husky mistakes. UConn
378-263 and had a 10-minute advantage in time of possession, but couldn't overcome three interceptions by new starter
''That was just way too many penalties, way too many turnovers, way too many mistakes for a UConn football team tonight, and
again, I'm responsible,'' coach Randy Edsall said.
ran for 161 yards - 20 below his average - with a touchdown for the Huskies (5-1). But 93 of those yards came in the fourth
quarter, well after this one was decided.
''We had the nation's leading rusher coming in here,'' Austin said, ''and I think we did a pretty good job with him.''
Draughn, a former safety, became the first North Carolina running back to hit triple digits this season, and gave his team
separation midway through the third quarter, taking a handoff from Sexton and racing up the middle to make it 24-6.
''I don't even think I got touched,'' Draughn said.
Frazer's third interception came about 2 minutes later, and sealed it. Frazer was being spun by defensive end E.J. Wilson
and tried to throw the ball away when Austin plucked it out of the air and jogged into the end zone.
''I've been dreaming about that for years,'' Austin said.
Frazer completed 24 of 42 passes for 210 yards in place of injured starter
, who's out with a broken right foot.
Making his first start since 2006, Sexton was 9-of-16 for 117 yards with an interception, but led the
to their first nonconference victory over a Top 25 team since beating then-No. 17 Stanford in 1997. They had lost nine straight
against ranked teams since upsetting then-No. 19 Boston College in 2005.
Yet this was no upset: North Carolina entered as a seven-point favorite.
''Our kids are doing a great job of keeping things in perspective,'' coach Butch Davis said. ''We're just kind of chipping
away, trying to get better every week and trying to play 12 consecutive one-game schedules.''
UConn outgained the
169-107 in the first half, had the ball for nearly twice as long - and still trailed 17-3 because of mistakes by Frazer and
the punt team.
''It's like it went wrong everywhere,'' punter
returned one interception 23 yards to set up Houston's 1-yard touchdown run that made it 10-3 and put North Carolina ahead
to stay. In the final seconds of the half, Frazer threw another pick deep in Tar Heel territory.
In between, Carter got a hand on three straight punts by Cullen, who admitted he was trying to keep the ball from North Carolina
''If I missed it one way or the other, it could end up in (Tate's) hands, which is usually a bad thing,'' Cullen said.
The North Carolina linebacker overwhelmed him in the end zone for his third block, and Merletti plopped on it to stretch the
lead to 14. It was Carter's fourth block of the season, tying the school's single-season record - and all four took place
in a three-quarter span. Block No. 1 came in the fourth quarter of last week's win at Miami.
kicked field goals of 26 and 31 yards for UConn.
added one from 31 yards out for North Carolina.
The game was delayed for 22 minutes early in the third quarter when two banks of lights temporarily went dark.