Bunting’s Last Stand: UNC vs. NC State

12:10 pm: This game was almost pre-empted on TV by the Raleigh Christmas Parade. WTF?

Before the game, four F-15s flew over Kenan Stadium. On Thursday the same F15s flew by my house-4 times. It was awesome.

12:15 pm: UNC is driving the ball well. Joe Dailey has made some good throws.

But, like clockwork, they fumble the ball in scoring position and NC State gets the ball back.

12:20 pm: Carolina’s defense steps up and forces the Pack to punt.

12:22 pm: TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR!…

12:24 pm: Carolina converts on third and long with a Dailey pass to Brandon Tate. He’s a return specialist and doesn’t catch a lot of passes. They should give him more action; he might be their fastest player, and in this game speed kills.

12:26 pm: They’re finally giving McGill the ball. I can’t help but think they may abandon him in the second half. That would be a bad move, yet UNC has done it repeatedly during his career. Trust me, he will end up on an NFL team and make an impact. It’s a shame he hasn’t been used enough.

Enough ranting…McGill keeps getting the ball, and he keeps gaining yards.

UPDATE: BC 14, Maryland 0.

12:30 pm: TOUCHDOWN!!! McGill gets the ball instead of Dailey throwing an interception, and he gets in the end zone. 7-0, UNC!

12:35 pm: Another 3-and-out for the Pack. No offense to our friends on Raleigh, but so far QB Daniel Evans hasn’t been able to hit the broad side of a barn.

12:40 pm: Barrington Edwards is now at RB for the Heels. That doesn’t stop them from running the ball, though. Where was this all season?

Bizarre ad alert: Is it Monday yet?

12:42 pm: NC State lost so many of their starters on defense last year to the NFL Draft. Perhaps the biggest reason they’re struggling, however, is because of the penalties they commit. They are by far the most penalized team in the ACC.

12:45 pm: UNC runs the reverse…and it works! First and goal, Carolina.

Wow…Joe Dailey throws the ball into the end zone, and it isn’t intercepted! He really has made strides.

12:48 pm: UNC ends up kicking a field goal. 10-0, UNC near the end of the first quarter. I would have gone for the TD, but hey, this is the biggest lead we’ve had all year against a 1A opponent.

12:50 pm: At the end of the quarter, Daniel Evans throws a good pass to the tight end. I swear to you it looked just like a Joe Dailey interception.

12:55 pm: At the start of the 2nd quarter, NCSU gets its first 1st down. On their next 3rd down, Evans throws an interception! This is the best I’ve seen the Heels play in a while. Where was this all season?

Interesting side note: UNC may have the Botanical Garden, but NC State is the aggie school; thus they have an excellent School of Horticulture. Its influence can be felt throughout NC, including in Hillsborough, where my family recently bought five apple trees. The purchase was inspired by a trip to Altapass, perhaps the most beautiful orchard in America (along the Blue Ridge Parkway). But that’s another post. Maybe this information is not important to you, but your brain is stuck with it.

1:08 pm: Still 10-0, NC State is pinned back at it’s own 3. The Pack gets out of the nasty situation; they get to the 30 in 5 plays.

During the drive they committed an illegal formation penalty. For an offensive formation to be legal 7 of the 11 players must line up on the line of scrimmage; on that play the Pack only had 6.

1:10 pm: I eat way too fast. I ordered an entree of cheese steak with a side of chips at Shorty’s on W. Franklin St. and I think I ate the whole thing in 5 minutes.

Bizarre ads alert: Nissan Titan Heisman ad, Bojangles ad with Carolina Panthers QB Jake Delhomme.

1:15 pm: Enough with my stupid segues! NC State’s driven the ball into the red zone!

They’ve used a good balance of run and pass to drive 90 yards so far. They haven’t scored yet; remember, they started on their own 3.

1:18 pm: Here’s an interesting stat: The pack drove the ball 99 yards including the penalty they had to overcome, and they only get a field goal. 10-3, UNC.

UPDATE: Miami trails Virginia 14-0, and BC leads Maryland 21-3.

1:25 pm: That’s what separates NC State from the rest of the ACC. A Pack defender flat out dropped an INT. Whatever team you play for, when Dailey throws you a pass, you have to catch it.

1:27 pm: Some one explain this to me: It’s a Saturday afternoon in November, and not only is the Greensboro CBS station not airing football, they’re airing POKER and commercials for STOMP! the broadway show. There is no, I repeat, NO excuse for this.

1:30 pm: Less than two minutes left in the first half. I can’t believe the first half is going to end already. The ready to play rule has cost us so much exciting football. The NCAA needs to axe it after this season.

1:35 pm: Chuck Amato has an odd look on his face. I can’t say exactly what it is; maybe he’s worrying about the game, maybe he’s trying to compose himself after being told he’s been fired over his headphones. My guess is that it’s hemorrhoids related.

1:40 pm: NC State has played a lot better in the second quarter, and UNC has played worse. Holy s—, John Bunting has exactly the same look on his face as Chuck Amato!!

1:42 pm: The pack kick a field goal to end the half. 10-6, UNC. The first halftime lead for UNC against a Division 1A opponent this season.

1:55 pm: Our offense looked anemic in the second quarter. Guess who didn’t get the ball? that’s right, McGill. He had 81 total yards in the first quarter, yet I only saw him touch the ball once in the second quarter. He needs to get the ball if UNC wants to win.

2:05 pm: NC State gets the ball to start the third quarter. A long run by the RB Blackman was negated by an illegal formation call.

I found this out by accident; you’re never going to believe this. While playing darts here at Shorty’s, I found that playing for an extended period of time (30 min or more) works the oblique muscles. A few weeks ago I felt soreness in those muscles the day after blogging one of these past football games. So the next time you’re thinking of getting rid of those “handles de amor”, don’t buy a complicated machine; buy a dartboard.

2:10 pm: NC State pins itself back thanks to penalties and is forced to punt. UNC gets the ball back in great field position.

2:15 pm: Carolina converts on third and long with a 25+ yard pass play to Brooks Foster.

UPDATE: BC 28, Maryland 6. Boston College returned two fumbles for touchdowns.

2:17 pm: Connor Barth attempts a 54 yard FG…AND HE MAKES IT! Wow. He’s got a very strong leg. 13-6, UNC. That field goal was huge.

2:20 pm: This weekend my sister, a junior at UNC, is extremely busy with work. She had to choose between going to the NC State game or going to the basketball game against Gardner-Webb. She didn’t even hesitate with the decision; she’s going to the basketball game. It’s been that kind of season.

2:24 pm: The Heels defense holds, and UNC quickly gets the ball back. 13-6 UNC, 6:18 left in the third quarter.

UPDATE: No 1-A team has any right to face a 1-AA team in November, especially a title contender. Florida 55, Western Carolina 6. I’m going to puke.

2:30 pm: One great thing about Earth is that it manages to keep balance. Animals exhale Carbon Dioxide for plants to breathe, and plants exhale oxygen for animals to breathe. The heels finally get a big run, and soon afterwards they receive a holding penalty. It is all so very Zen.

2:32 pm: UNC gets into scoring position with a big pass to Jesse Holley, who runs to the NCSU 31. We are now certainly in Connor Barth kicking range. Deep down I just know Dailey’s going to throw an interception.

2:36 pm: UNC is at the 21 now. McGill seems to have gotten cold now. He really seems to be havin a hard time avoiding tackles. Perhaps it’s because the Wolfpack have adjusted to him.

2:37 pm: Barth kicks another field goal, and NC State gets another penalty. It’s 16-6, UNC. We may have actually run into a team worse than us!

2:40 pm: Now they’re showing rodeo in Greensboro. I respect rodeo, because my parents used to live in Texas, and my mom is from Spain, home of the Matadors. But something still isn’t right about showing anything but fooball on an autumn weekend. UNC is up ten at the end of the third quarter.

Only 50 minutes to the biggest game of the year.

2:45 pm: NC State is now driving the ball well down the field. Right now the UNC defense overpursues the QB once he runs out of the pocket, leaving receivers open. They need to stay disciplined.

2:50 pm: UNC holds the Wolfpack to a field goal. 16-9, Heels. Forty minutes to the game of the year.

Bizzare ad alert: Chick-Fil-A: “COW! Yes sweetie, ‘cow’. Hey honey, where’s our burgers?”

2:53 pm: TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS!….

2:55 pm: Less than nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter, UNC 16, NCSU 9. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I like our chances in this one. Now watch as the gods smite me and the Wolfpack score three touchdowns in the next five minutes.

3:00 pm: Chances are there’s agreat rivalry game this month that you don’t even know about. Take, for example, the Brawl of the Wild the annual game between division 1-AA opponents Montana and Montana State. Think it isn’t good football? Montana has won two 1-AA championship and has appered in the finals five times since 1990. Montana State is no pushover either, having beaten 1A Colorado this year. This rivalry is son intense that there are often fights between opposing fans at the tailgates. Chances are there’s a great rivalry game no matter where you live.

3:05 pm: INTERCEPTION! Quentin Person intercepts a tip ball thrown by NC State. With 6 minutes left in the game, the Heels are now in control, barring a turnover.

3:09 pm: UNC is forced to punt, but They pin the Wolfpack at their own 10 with three minutes left, factoring in the ready to play rule.

3:13 pm: UNC forces a fourth down, one last chance for the Pack.

3:14 pm: YES! YES! YEEESSSSSSSSS!!!! Sack, fumble touchdown! we’re gonna win this one! YEEEAAAAAH!!!! 23-9, UNC, two minutes left.

DA-dada-DA-dada-DA! (GO Tar Heels!) x4! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

3:21 pm: NC State certainly hasn’t given up yet. They have driven the ball into the red zone with a little over a minute to go.

3:22 pm: but then…INTERCEPTION! YES! YESSS!!! The game is over! we’re gonna win!

3:25 pm: The final score: UNC 23, NCSU 9. I’m glad that John Bunting won his final home game. He truly desrves it. Now bring on Butch Davis!

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