Texas A&M runs past North Carolina in Orange Bowl, 41-27

Monday, 04 Jan, 2021

Luckily, Fisher didn't have to run in the Orange Bowl.

Enter true freshman running back Devon Achane.

Former Harrisburg star Andre White Jr. turned in the best game of his sophomore season Saturday to help Texas A&M knock off North Carolina, 41-27, in the Orange Bowl.

Twenty seconds later, North Carolina responded with a dunk by Sharpe to regain a 64-63 edge. "I want to take this team to great places and I think we have a lot of potential in that locker room".

"I always say this: The Orange Bowl is as good as it gets", Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said Friday.

Achane's go-ahead score came on a play where he almost tripped over one of his own blockers, broke a tackle and then got loose down the left sideline.

"I expect big things", Howell said Saturday. Neither team led by more than a touchdown at any point on Saturday until Achane's insurance touchdown with 1:34 left on the clock. He has scored 22 touchdowns, including 19 on the ground, in 11 games in 2020 while rushing for 1,140 yards.

In the trophy celebration, Fisher cracked that he "hadn't ran that fast in 25 years" but also said he injured himself running away from the dousing.

Howell completed 18-of-31 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns, consistently coming up with key plays to keep the Tar Heels in the game even without their full compliment of players.

Meanwhile, No. 14 North Carolina (8-3) had four opt outs headed into its first-ever Orange Bowl appearance: running backs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams, receiver Dyami Brown and linebacker Chazz Surratt.

"We were so close", Howell said.

This is going to be a game that could come down to mistakes. "We were right there".

Howell - a likely Heisman Trophy candidate in 2021 - did his best to change that stat. Howell could have broken records if the Tar Heels were interested in doing so, but this was a game that saw UNC have four different players attempt passes against an FCS school.

When this matchup was put together, it looked like the quintessential collision of strength vs. strength: North Carolina, featuring two of the top running backs in the country, against a Texas A&M rush defense that is among the nation's best. Starting with a 3-pointer by Garrison Brooks, the Tar Heels scored the next 10 points in a row to go ahead 29-26 with 2:09 left in the first half.

Texas A&M responded by storming 75 yards down the field in just eight plays and scoring to carry a 17-13 lead into the third quarter. Tomon Fox has six sacks.

The rest was up to Achane, and Fisher is already thinking about history repeating itself in 2021.

"I didn't pull it bad, but I did pull it", Fisher told Van Pelt. Defensively, the Aggies allowed just 213 total yards and forced two Tennessee turnovers, one interception and one lost fumble. It was a hard end for a defense that forced five three-and-outs.

As top sportsbooks online trends go, Texas A&M is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games. 27-20 North Carolina.

Carter and Williams combined for almost 2,400 rushing yards this season including 544 yards, an FBS record for teammates in one game, against Miami in their regular season finale at Hard Rock Stadium last month. Like the ACC, C-USA also went 0-6 this bowl season.

Texas A&M wanted to be in Hard Rock Stadium later this month, playing in the national title game on January 11.

North Carolina is in the ACC which sent two teams to the playoffs.