Latest North Carolina sports

T25-NORTH CAROLINA-INVESTIGATION

Mother of UNC player awaits school’s investigation

The mother of the football player involved in an alleged hazing incident at North Carolina says the family is “worried about justice” for her son.

In a brief phone interview Friday with The Associated Press, Kimber Boyer said the family is waiting for the university to complete its investigation into an incident that reportedly left walk-on receiver Jackson Boyer with a possible concussion.

She says they’re a private family that wants “to handle this justly.”

Coach Larry Fedora suspended four players for Saturday’s opener against Liberty for a violation of team policy, though he didn’t specify what rules were broken.

The suspensions came a day after a Yahoo Sports report of an alleged altercation that left Boyer injured, though the school hasn’t confirmed it was a hazing incident.

NASCAR-ATLANTA-QUALIFYING

Harvick wins Atlanta pole; Stewart is 12th

HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — Kevin Harvick has won the pole for the NASCARs Sprint Cup Series race Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Harvick turned a fast lap of 190.398 mph Friday night, as drivers sought track time with cloud cover and cooler temperatures for better grip.

Brad Keselowski will join Harvick on the front row after qualifying second. Rounding out the top five were Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth.

Tony Stewart, making his return to racing this weekend, qualified 12th at 187.907.

Stewart sat out three races after the sprint car he was driving struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr., who had stepped on the upstate New York dirt track to confront him.

WESTERN CAROLINA-SOUTH FLORIDA

USF determined to not stumble in another opener

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — One year later, the bitter disappointment of losing their season opener to a Football Championship Subdivision team lingers in the minds of the South Florida Bulls.

Players say it serves as motivation in the weight room and on the practice field every day, a constant reminder that there’s no room for complacency.

The Bulls dropped last year’s opener 53-21 to McNeese State, and it wasn’t nearly as close as the final score suggested. USF scored on its first play, then bogged down to set the tone for a year in which it would finish with a Football Bowl Subdivision-low 11 offensive touchdowns.

Western Carolina also went 2-10 in 2013, its eighth consecutive losing season. The Catamounts haven’t won a road game since October 2010.

APPALACHIAN ST-MICHIGAN

Michigan can even series against Appalachian State

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has a chance to even its series with Appalachian State.

The Wolverines were beaten by the Mountaineers in 2007 and became the first Top 25 college football team to lose to a second-tier program.

Three years ago, Michigan decided to take another shot at beating Appalachian State and scheduled a rematch Saturday at the Big House.

The Wolverines have dismissed the historical angle of the game because they are simply focused on bouncing back from their disappointing 7-6 season.

Appalachian State is hoping last year was an aberration as it moves to the Sun Belt Conference and the highest level of college football. The Mountaineers were 4-8 in coach Scott Satterfield’s debut, the school’s first losing season since 1993 and first one with eight losses since 1979.

NASCAR-STEWART

Stewart says Ward’s death will affect him forever

ATLANTA (AP) — Tony Stewart says the death of Kevin Ward Jr. will “affect my life forever” as he returned to the track for the first time since his car struck and killed the fellow driver during a sprint-car race in New York.

Stewart spoke Friday for the first time Ward died at an Aug. 9 dirt-track event in upstate New York.

The three-time NASCAR champion has not raced since Ward’s death. Stewart will race in Atlanta on Sunday night for the first time in three weeks. He says he took time out of respect for Ward’s family — and so he could cope with the tragedy. He said “being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time.”

Stewart said he could not answer questions about the incident and he left after reading a short statement.

Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Brett Frood said it was “100 percent” Stewart’s decision to race. He says Stewart is “emotional” but ready to race.

T25-CLEMSON-GEORGIA

Gurley ready for big season — if he stays healthy

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — For Todd Gurley, the key to avoiding another injury marred season is simple: “Just run harder.”

Georgia’s dynamic running back will be on display in one of the biggest games of the opening weekend, leading the No. 12 Bulldogs against 16th-ranked Clemson.

A year ago, the Tigers knocked off Georgia 38-35 in the opener. Gurley ran for 154 yards and two touchdowns, but knows it could have been so much more.

In the middle of a 75-yard touchdown run on his second touch of the game, he pulled his quadriceps trying to avoid a tackler. He wound up with only 12 carries.

Assuming Gurley is healthy, Clemson will have its hands full trying to stop Georgia’s running game. The Bulldogs also have Keith Marshall and a couple of touted freshmen.

WOFFORD-GEORGIA TECH

Georgia Tech set to host Wofford in season opener

ATLANTA (AP) — Coach Paul Johnson says he has no problem defending his six-year record at Georgia Tech.

Entering Saturday’s opener against Wofford, the Yellow Jackets are 47-32 under Johnson, 14-13 over the last two seasons. They’ve finished either first or second every year but 2010, when they finished third, in the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division.

Johnson says “the program has been pretty stable,” pointing out that his team has the fourth-most wins in the league since he took over in 2008.

It’s unlikely Johnson will know much about the Jackets by playing an FCS opponent from the Southern Conference. Georgia Tech has beaten Elon, Western Carolina, South Carolina State and Jacksonville State twice by a combined 252-62 score in the last six openers.