Ex-Chants Tolbert, Norman help Panthers pound Saints

Former Coastal Carolina standouts turned Carolina Panthers played a major role in the team’s 35-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints in Sunday’s home opener.

Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert scored his first touchdown as a Panther and had two rushes and receptions for a total of 26 yards. Fellow former Chanticleer Josh Norman had five solo tackles and three assists in his home debut as a rookie.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton ran and threw for a touchdown as the Panthers avoided an 0-2 start to a season that began with consecutive games against NFC South rivals. The Saints, operating under interim coach Aaron Kromer, fell to 0-2.

Carolina took its first lead of the season at 14-13 after Jonathan Stewart ran 17 yards untouched with a screen pass from Newton with 3:33 left in the first half. Then Tolbert ran in from 2 yards out with 11 seconds remaining in the half to give the Panthers a 21-13 advantage.

DeAngelo Williams ran in from 3 yards out as the Panthers pushed their lead to 28-13 midway through the third quarter. The Saints went more than 24 minutes without scoring until Mark Ingram’s 1-yard run with 12:53 to play.

The Panthers have a quick turnaround because they play Thursday night at home against the New York Giants.

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