Thanks to an impressive performance from starting quarterback Patrick O’Brien, the UNCP football team remained perfect with a 49-35 victory over visiting North Greenville.
The win pushed the Black and Gold’s record up to (4-0) and the team is one of only 22 teams left in the country in Division II football.
After the win the Braves were rewarded for their efforts on Saturday with the news that they now are ranked No. 21 in the country according to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).
Accounting for nearly all of the Braves offense on Saturday, O’Brien had one of his best games at quarterback for the Black and Gold.
He racked up 330 yards of passing and accounted for an eye popping six touchdowns. Four of those touchdowns went through the air while the other two came on the ground.
Efficiency was also a key factor for O’Brien against North Greenville as he completed 34 of 39 passes.
The Braves were able to capture an early lead in the first half and they never looked back in the game with the crusaders.
With 9:36 left remaining in the first quarter the Black and Gold put the first points on the scoreboard with a 16 yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Allen from O’Brien.
North Greenville did have a response though as they came right back with a score of their own on the next possession with a 43 yard run to even the game at 7-7.
After that score from the Crusaders, the Braves swung momentum back onto their side and rallied off three touchdowns while holding North Greenville to zero points to end the half.
The first of those scores for UNCP came off of a 59 yard pass from O’Brien to Tra Chandler at the end of the first quarter.
With the lead at 14-7 the Black and Gold pushed that lead up further with another touchdown off of a three yard run from O’Brien.
To end the half O’Brien hooked up with his top receiver this season, B.J. Bunn, off of a 22 yard pass.
Heading into halftime the Black and Gold held a commanding 28-7 lead over the Crusaders at home.
After a lackluster first half from the Crusaders, North Greenville found a way to respond early into the second half with a touchdown.
The score came when the Braves defense allowed the Crusader, Simeon Byrd, to scamper his way into the endzone off of a 33 yard run.
However, once again with the momentum on the side of North Greenville, O’Brien found a way to answer back to swing the game back into the Black and Gold’s favor.
The Braves marched down the field and O’Brien connected with Bunn again for a touchdown off of a seven yard pass.
Bunn had a solid day as he recorded nine catches for 95 yards. With the score set at 35-14, the Braves were in strong position to finish the game with a comfortable lead.
The scoring didn’t stop there for UNCP, as O’Brien capped off his day with his last touchdown of the day with a six yard scrabble to put the Braves up 42-21.
The last score in the game for the Black and Gold came late into the fourth quarter when running back Rontonio Stanley broke free on a 44 yard touchdown.
On 12 carries, Stanley carried the ball for the Black and Gold for 86 yards.
UNCP will next be in action against No. 3 Tuskegee on Oct. 1