The North Carolina wide receiver Anthony Ratliff-Williams returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, threw for another on a trick play and hauled in the eventual go-ahead score midway through the fourth quarter as the Tar Heels ended a six-game losing streak with a 34-31 victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday.
Last season, the Tar Heels needed a touchdown throw on the final snap to hold off Pitt. This time, the deciding score came a bit sooner. Ratliff-Williams hauled in a 3-yard flip from Elliott with 6:18 left to bookend an electric night for the sophomore wide receiver.
Ratliff-Williams accounted for 230 all-purpose yards for the Tar Heels. He ran through a sea of arm tackles 98 yards to the end zone on the opening kickoff, floated a 35-yard score to Josh Cabrera in the second quarter before catching Elliott's second touchdown pass as North Carolina beat a Power Five conference team for the first time in 369 days.
Nathan Elliott completed 20 of 31 passes for 235 yards and two scores in his first start.
''He did exactly what Nathan Elliott can do,'' Fedora said. ''He's been such a great teammate, biding his time, working his butt off, never saying a word, waiting for his opportunity and when his opportunity has come up, he's made something out of it.''
Darrin Hall ran for 121 yards and four touchdowns for Pitt (4-6, 2-4), but the Panthers saw their modest two-game winning streak come to an end and now face an uphill battle if they want to lock down a bowl berth for a 10th consecutive year. Pitt finishes the regular season against No. 17 Virginia Tech and No. 7 Miami.
With leading rusher Duke Johnson out of the game – Quarterback Stephen Morris throwing four interceptions and the Canes down 10 in the fourth quarter and Miami’s top ranked defense giving up 395 yards passing, it seemed as if the Canes would not escape Chapel Hill undefeated.
But a hero immerged in the form of redshirt sophomore Running Back Dallas Crawford -- who ran for a career-high 137 yards on 33 carries, including the go-ahead 3-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left that gave Miami a 27-23 victory over North Carolina on Thursday night.
Crawford ran hard and delivered with a performance that kept the 10th-ranked Hurricanes (6-0, 2-0) unbeaten.