The freshman's 86-yard TD in the third quarter was his fifth punt-return score of the season, matching the mark set by Chad Owens with Hawaii in 2004.
Romar Morris added two rushing touchdowns for the Tar Heels (7-6), who won for the first time in four appearances at the Charlotte bowl game.
Marquise Williams accounted for 218 total yards, going 19-of-33 for 172 passing yards with a score and running for 46 more.
Cincinnati (9-4) was paced by Brendon Kay, who compiled 181 passing yards with an interception on 15-of-35 efficiency.
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