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Need a one-stop shop to catch up on the top sports stories big and small? Time Out For Sports airs Mondays on WFAE's "All Things Considered" and has what you need to know about everything from Charlotte-area high school football highlights to the latest updates on the Carolina Panthers.

Panthers’ Darnold Shines In Charlotte Home Opener

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Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold is seen Sunday during Carolina's winning game vs. the New York Jets at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

The Panthers won their season debut at home Sunday 19-16. One thing everyone was eager to see at Bank of America Stadium was how new Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold fared against his old team, the New York Jets.

“Darnold was fine,” The Charlotte Observer’s Langston Wertz Jr. told WFAE “All Things Considered” host Gwendolyn Glenn on this week’s Time Out For Sports. “He missed a touchdown pass in the first half, but he ended up completing over 68% of his passes for 279 yards — and one passing and one rushing touchdown. And a 102 pass rating was nice.”

Panthers coach Matt Rhule said the win “certainly wasn’t perfect,” with Carolina going from a 16-0 lead in the first half to only scoring three points in the second. While scoring in the red zone continues to be a problem for the Panthers, Wertz says the defense is showing signs of improvement after last year — including six sacks in Sunday’s game.

“They gave a couple of hits that Sam Darnold was probably good he wasn’t taking,” Wertz said.

Listen to the full conversation between Glenn and Wertz for more details. They touched base on a few other big stories this week. Here’s a quick look.

  • On Friday, former Panthers quarterback Cam Newton released a video in which he talked about the reasons he thinks he was released from the New England Patriots in August. Wertz’s reaction: “I don’t think Cam’s done. I think he’ll get a chance. He was playing really, really well in preseason. I think had he gotten a vaccine, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, but I think he will play again in the NFL.”

  • In the world of college football, the UNC Tar Heels redeemed themselves for their season-opening loss against Virginia Tech by thrashing the Georgia State Panthers 59-17. UNC quarterback Sam Howell showed up and showed out. “The Tar Heels started slow, but they got going,” Wertz said. “... I think Sam needed a big game. He’s the second quarterback in school history to throw for 300 and rush for more than 100 in the game.” 

  • In high school football, meanwhile, No. 12 Ardrey Kell of Charlotte beat No. 4 Weddington 38-21. 
  • Wertz says to keep an eye on these upcoming games: West Charlotte vs. Mallard Creek, Catawba Ridge vs. South Mecklenburg and Charlotte Catholic vs. Providence. 

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