UNC football get season started on the right foot with 41-14 win over College of Idaho

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Bears tight end Michael McCauley competes for a pass in their game against College of Idaho on Sept. 7, 2017 (Photo by Breelyn Bowe)

Replacing the Denver Bronco’s preseason star and former UNC quarterback Kyle Sloter was a topic on a lot of people’s minds kicking off the program’s 2017 season.

Redshirt junior Jacob Knipp regained the keys to the offense, and marched the Bears to a 41-14 win against College of Idaho Saturday afternoon at Nottingham Field.

Knipp went 17-27 for 238 yards, including multiple bombs downfield.

Knipp was posed in the pocket and extended many plays with his ability to use his feet to get out the pocket while still surveying the field. Knipp’s first four drives all ended in touchdowns.

Three of the four were punched in by Redshirt Junior Trae Riek, while Knipp capped off the last one himself.

“It was a good opponent for us to give our young O-line some reps, go mix and match and figure out who can play what, and to get Knipp to knock the rust off,” coach Ernest Collins said. “He hadn’t played a game in a whole year, so it was good for him.”

The defense wasn’t far behind the offense. From the first snap, the defense played lights out. They forced two interceptions and only allowed 14 points, one of which coming with 39 seconds left in the game.

Being aggressive and gang-tackling was shown throughout the game. From the starters to the backups, everybody was fired up until the last second.

“I liked the intensity,” Collins said. “We stayed in it the entire game. We didn’t give up a whole lot of points in the second half, like we did last year (in the season-opener). And so, all those things are things to build on.”

The Bears now must take it on the road, into one of the toughest places to play in the country — the “Swamp” of the Florida Gators. Kickoff for that game is set for 5:30 p.m. next Saturday.

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