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  Sam Howell threw for three first-half scores to set a single-season record for the most TD throws by a true freshman in Bowl Subdivision history as North Carolina beat Mercer 56-7 in its home finale Saturday. Howell completed 10 of 13 passes for 152 yards and scores of 66, 4 and 33 yards in a dominating opening half for the Tar Heels (5-6). That gave him 32 TD throws on the year to surpass Trevor Lawrence's 30 for eventual national champion Clemson last year as the most by a true freshman in FBS history, according to Sportradar. Howell's TD total also broke the program's single-season record for any player (30) set by eventual No. 2 overall NFL draft pick Mitch Trubisky in 2016.

The Tar Heels scored touchdowns on their first six drives to lead 42-0 before the break, showing no trouble handling an overmatched Championship Subdivision opponent nor the cold and steady rain that lasted much of the way. "The afternoon and night was exactly what we needed," UNC coach Mack Brown said. "We dominated the game. Our guys were ready to play. They took the game over early. The game was over at halftime, so we got to play basically everybody who was eligible on our team, which helps morale. And we didn't get anybody hurt. So it was the perfect night for us." Michael Carter ran for 159 yards and three scores for UNC, including a 60-yarder on the first offensive snap after halftime. - North Carolina/AP College Football


(DS#1 QB) So/2023 QB Sam HowellNorth Carolina
News Source: North Carolina/AP College Football


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