The UNC Field Hockey Team is Undefeated

Maybe the football team could learn a thing or two from these girls on how to finish games.

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The North Carolina Women’s Field Hockey team has finished the regular season as the #1 team on the country, with a perfect 18-0 record, including 5-0 in the ACC. They’ve beaten many of the nation’s top teams, including Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, William & Mary, Penn State, James Madison, and Old Dominion. And they have done so in convincing fashion. In their last 13 games, UNC has outscored their opponents 64-2, shutting all but one of their opponents, William & Mary. 64-2 is the definition of dominance. The student body has not been ignorant of Carolina’s success; a record crowd of 1,318 (well above Henry Stadium’s capacity) came to watch UNC beat then-#2 Wake in the home opener.

Statistically, the Tar Heels are led by Seniors Rachel Dawson and Jesse Gey, who lead the team in goals; Freshman Katelyn Falgowski, who leads the team in assists; and redshirt freshman Elizabeth Drazdowski, who is 3rd in goals and has hit 40% of her shots (a field hockey players’ average shot% is around 20-25%). Sophomore Brianna O’Donnell has been excellent in goal allowing only 5 goals in 980 minutes of play, an 0.36 goals against average.
The Tar Heels begin postseason play on Friday in Newton, Mass. for the ACC Tournament, and almost certainly will be the favorites to win their 16th conference title and 5th national title.

UNC vs. Wake Forest Live Blog

Today, North Carolina plays Wake Forest in Winston Salem. The Deacons, at 5-2 and 3-1 in conference, are on pace to have a decent chance at defending their Cinderella run to the ACC Championship. Meanwhile, UNC is at 2-5, but are past the hardest part of their schedule. The UNC defense needs a big game today in order to win and keep the slim bowl hopes alive. More importantly, they cannot have ill-timed turnovers like in their four close losses.

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12:11 pm: Brandon Tate returns the opening kickoff to the 29 yard line to start the game.

12:12 pm: On the very first play from scrimmage, Exactly what we needed not to happen…happened. Yates rushes a throw to the outside, but he doesn’t see linebacker Aaron Curry in the path of the ball, and suddenly Wake has the ball in field goal range.

12:13 pm: Kenny Moore takes the ball in Wake’s first play, and he runs the ball 20 yards on the right side to the 11 yard line.

12:14 pm: The Carolina defense holds on and prevents a touchdown. Sam Swank kicks the easy field goal, and Wake leads 3-0. The Tar Heels prevent the touchdown, but they show how not to score this game.

This has been one of the biggest problems for this team in 2007. We’ve had close games, but in all of our close losses we’ve started behind and had to play catch-up for nearly the entire game.

12:19 pm: UNC goes right back to the pass. This time Yates completes the screen to Bobby Rome, who runs for the first down.

12:20 pm: Greg Little takes the handoff on the end around, and he gets about seven yards to the right side. Johnny White’s next run, however, is stuffed behind the line of scrimmage.

12:21 pm: False start, right tackles. Exactly what we don;t need on 3rd and 5.

12:22 pm: Wake runs the blitz, no one blocks on the right side, and Yates had absolutely no chance to get the ball off. A sack, and UNC is forced to punt.

12:25 pm: Charles Brown is starting at cornerback in place of Jermain Strong, who has been suspended for undisclosed reasons. Like we really needed less depth in the secondary.

12:27 pm: Riley Skinner is given all kinds of time after the fake handoffs, and finds a wide open Kenny Moore on the sidelines for another Wake first down.

12:28 pm: SACK! UNC puts the pressure, and Charles Brown comes in for the sack to force a third and long.

12:29 pm: AHHHHHHHHH!!! Few things are more frustrating to watch than seeing your defense give up a first down…on third a long…off of a screen pass.

12:31 pm: The defense is starting to show its relative inexperience. Wake’s subterfuge on offense has led to quite a few open receivers. This time, Tereshinski (the Wake TE) is wide open 20 yards downfield as a result of the play-action rollout.

12:35 pm: TOUCHDOWN. Passing gets Wake into the red zone, but Josh Adams takes them the rest of the way, ending in a 6-yard walk into the endzone. Wake leads 10-0. and this game, 10 minutes in, is already starting to look bad.

12:39 pm: Another third down…another false start on our right tackle. This cannot happen if we want to win.

12:40 pm: Yates gets time in the pocket, and fires a pass down the middle to Zack Pianalto for a big first down.

12:41 pm: Johnny White takes the ball to the right side and get nine yards. He’s hit at the line of scrimmage on the next play, but he has enough for a first down.

12:42 pm: Tate takes the handoff, and he find a big hole to the right side. First down, and UNC is finally in Wake territory.

12:44 pm: Yates is flushed out of the pocket, but he finds a seam up the middle, and he scrambles for another UNC first down inside the 30.

12:45 pm: The first quarter ends. Wake Forest leads 10-0, but the Tar Heels are driving to get back into this game.

12:48 pm: Yates completes the pass to Richard Quinn, setting up a 3rd and short at the 20. Ryan Houston takes the handoff, but he’s stopped behind the line. UNC will have to settle for a field goal.

12:49 pm: The field goal is good. UNC gets on the board, and at 10-3 Wake, it’s a one possession game again.

12:52 pm: NO! UNC is feeling good, having just brought it back to a 7 point game, they kick the ball off…and Kevin Marion returns the kickoff 98 yards, untouched, for a touchdown. That was a huge special teams breakdown; there was no one to tackle the returner, and Wake suddenly leads 17-3 without their offense needing to take a snap.

12:55 pm: Great. Another false start penalty for Carolina.

12:56 pm: Anthony Elzy is trapped 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage, but he finds his way out of the pile, gets a huge run up the suddenly open middle, and he comes very close to a first down.

12:58 pm: Yates runs the QB draw, but he’s a yard short. I personally think the Heels are chicken to punt in this situation, but if they go for the first down, fail, and Wake scores, this game is over. UNC punts, and miraculously, they manage to down the ball inside the Wake Forest 1 yard line.

1:02 pm: UNC forces the three and out, and should get the defensive stop and good field position that they desperately need. After the punt, the Heels will start in Wake territory.

1:06 pm: SACK! Wake continues to put a lot of pressure on T.J. Yates. Even worse, the Tar Heels are called for their fourth false start penalty, and their third such penalty on third down.

1:08 pm: Nicks gets smoe decent yardage after the catch, but is stopped well short of the first down. 3 plays, one penalty, -7 yards. Not good.

1:10 pm: Wake is finally called for their first penalty of the game; they were caught holding Marvin Austin.

1:12 pm: UNC tackles the tailback on the swing pass, a loss of 2. Third and 19.

1:13 pm: The Tar Heels get another big defensive stop. Swank rugby kicks the punt to prevent a return.

UNC gets the ball back with under 4 minutes left until halftime. A touchdown before halftime would make it a one-possession game again.

1:15 pm: Yates is flushed to the left side, but he fires the ball to Nicks on the sidelines for a first down.

1:16 pm: ANOTHER FALSE START! What on earth is going on inside these players’ heads today?

1:17 pm: Pianalto catches the pass tp the left side, but it’s still 3rd and 5.

SACK! Yates goes down for the third time today, as a linebacker goes untouched up the middle. Fourth down.

1:21 pm: Wake has good field position with about a minute left, But Hilee Taylor’s sack forces the Deacons to use a timeout.

1:24 pm: UNC puts the pressure on Riley Skinner again, and he’s forced to run out of bounds. The Heels defense have held in the last three possessions.

1:26 pm: Carolina runs the clock out to end the first half. Wake leads 17-3 at halftime. If UNC wants any hope of coming back, the defense needs to keep plying they way they did near the end of the half, and T.J. Yates needs to find holes in the Wake defense. Most importantly however–and I think I’ve said this for all of our close games–WE CANNOT MAKE STUPID MISTAKES.

1:55 pm: If you’re just re-joining us, you can clearly see the most important thing we must do is not make mistakes. Well, less than 4 minutes into the game, we stopped Wake’s initial drive and force a punt, but a UNC player touches the loose ball before it’s downed, and Wake recovers in the red zone. Granted, it a freakish bounce, and at best it grazed Richie Rich’s leg, but still…UNC has not been very lucky today.

1:59 pm: Wake appears to fumble the ball, and UNC recovers. However, the call is close, and Grobe asks for the play to go under review.

Nearly four minutes later, they still haven’t made an official ruling.

2:01 pm: The refs finally make a decision…and the call is reversed. UNC’s fumble recovery is nullified.

2:03 pm: UNC defense steps up again, preventing the touchdown. Swank kicks the field goal and Wake leads 20-3. Not to repeat what I’ve just said about mistakes, but without UNC’s big mistakes, the score would be, at worst, 7-3.

2:09 pm: 3 and out, North Carolina. The Tar Heels need big points in this game, but on that drive it looked like they weren’t even trying to get the ball downfield.

2:14 pm: Wake Forest’s running backs are having their way with the UNC defense on this drive, the latest a big run into the red zone by Micah Andrews. The Heels defense must be exhausted; they’ve been on the field for nearly the entire third quarter.

2:18 pm: About the first real break we’ve gotten in the second half. Wake has been called for two straight blocking penalties, and have played themselves out of field goal range.

2:22 pm: Micah Andrews gets a decent run on 3rd down, and it’s just enough to give Wake Forest another field goal. Wake’s lead is now 23-3, and only 16 minutes remain in this game.

2:25 pm: UNC finally gets a few big plays, and within two plays UNC has driven 51 yards and into Wake territory.

2:26 pm: The third quarter ends, and Wake leads 23-3. This game appears out of reach, but will UNC try to emotionally pull us back into the game in the fourth quarter?

2:29 pm: Hakeem Nicks gets the pass on third and short, and he gets to the 23 yard line.

2:30 pm: Johnny White gets the handoff, and good blocking leads to another first down. UNC is now in the red zone.

2:31 pm: TOUCHDOWN! Yates runs the playaction, and Bobby Rome was wide open on the right side, and he walked into the endzone. UNC’s deficit is now 23-10. A nice drive by the Tar Heels, but by now I know better than to get too excited at this point.

2:34 pm: NOOOO!!! NOT AGAIN! Kevin Marion takes the kickoff from the UNC score again, and he gets a huge return again. Wake will start inside the red zone, as a trip is the only thing that stops the touchdown.

2:35 pm: TOUCHDOWN. Josh Adams finds a seam and gets a touchdown on the very next play. Wake leads 30-10, and UNC is defeinitely not coming back from this one.

2;39 pm: One can reasonably expect UNC to make mistakes, but one of the few things that UNC could reliably do was make catches. Watching Hakeem Nicks drop that pass, even though it was high, might be his first drop of the season.

2:41 pm: Yates is throwing the ball well again, and UNC has two straight first down.

2:42 pm: Nicks gets the ball again, and Wake is called for a late hit penalty on top of that. UNC is within striking distance again.

2:44 pm: INTERCEPTION! Yates throws a pass to the outside, but again he doesn’t see LB Aaron Curry, he intercepts the ball in stride, and this time he takes it 77 yards back for a TOUCHDOWN. Wake leads, 37-10, as mistakes continue to haunt the Tar Heels.

2:49 pm: Within the carnage is a bright spot: T.J. Yates now holds the UNC freshman records for completions (144) and passing yards (1, 871), eclipsing Darian Durant in each category.

2:52 pm: Yates makes a truly insane pass play, but it’s called back because a lineman was downfield.

2:53 pm: UNC turns the ball over on downs.

3:04 pm: An interesting stat that re-assures UNC’s place as the “youngest” team in 1-A this year: more true freshman have played for UNC in this game (11) than have played for Wake Forest in six years (10).

3:06 pm: As the game is drawing to a close, next week’s game between Wake Forest and Virginia will now have big ACC implications.

3:07 pm: This blowout finally comes to a merciful end. Wake Forest wins, 37-10 despite having only one true touchdown drive. This was a pretty devastating loss, who needed this win, but never seemed to have given themselves much of a chance, literally, from the very first play.

 

 

UNC vs. South Carolina Live Blog

Today North Carolina plays South Carolina in perhaps UNC’s biggest game of the year. If the Tar Heels can pull off the upset, it would change the entire scope of our season.

3:33 pm: UNC gets the kickoff to start the game. 1st down at the 25.

3:34 pm: Elzy gets the carry, and he’s stuffed at the line.

3:35 pm: Elzy takes it on second down, and this time he gets a big loss. Ugh. 3rd and 14, and SC is #4 in the nation in 3rd down defense.

3:36 pm: Run, run, incompletion, punt. If you watched UNC in the Carl Torbush era, this would be very familiar.

Terence Brown’s punt is very nearly blocked, and South Carolina will start at their own 40.

3:38 pm: The Gamecocks are running a pseudo-hurry up offense. A nice gain on the 1st down screen, but the outside run is stuffed.

3:39 pm: Smelley overthrows the swing pass–badly–and the UNC defense holds their own on defense. After a touchback, the Heels will start at the 20.

3:42 pm: Yates throws a floater on first down, but it’s nearly intercepted. Hakeem Nicks did a good job of breaking it up.

Elzy runs again, and he’s stuffed again.

3:43 pm: SACK, Eric Norwood! The Heels are forced to punt again. 6 plays, -8 yard. After another bad punt, USC will start in UNC territory.

3:45 pm: Smelly throws on first down, and he finds his tight end in the middle of the field. First down, and the Gamecocks are already in field goal range.

3:47 pm: A pass is tipped, and Deunta Williams very nearly comes up with the interception–and in fact, he may very well have picked it off. The play is under review.

3:49 pm: The pass stands as incomplete. Booooo…..

3:51 pm: Hilee Taylor is caught offsides, and SC has a first down in the red zone. Cory Boyd takes the next draw play, and he runs down to the 3.

3:52 pm: TOUCHDOWN. Smelley is given all kinds of time, and he fires a bullet to Lecorn in the end zone. UNC played zone, and they paid for it. South Carolina leads, 7-0.

3:57 pm: UNC is called for block in the back on the return, and they have to start inside their own 10.

South Carolina is called offsides.

3:58 pm: Yates throws a quick pass to Hakeem Nicks, who catches on the slant for a first down.

3:59 pm: Yates throws another quick pass, this time to Brooks Foster for a 5 yard gain.

4:00 pm: There should have been a pass interference call, but when you run the same play three times in a row, the defense is going catch on.

Hakeem Nicks gets another first down catch, and UNC gets another 5 yards after a defensive holding call.

4:01 pm: The Tar Heels run a direct snap to Greg Little, and it works to perfection; he gets a big gain to the left side, and now UNC is at the SC 37.

4:02 pm: Joe Dailey takes the direct snap at quarterback. Shockingly, nothing bad happens, and he gets 5 yards.

4:03 pm: Yates is flushed out of the pocket, and he’s forced to throw across his body on the left side. The pass is quick, but Tate can;t come up with it. Fourth down.

4:04 pm: Barth misses! He misses the 49 yard field goal, and his streak of 19 FGs made is snapped. UNC still trails, 7-0, but the Tar Heels seem to finally be moving the ball.

4:07 pm: South Carolina gets good field position off the missed FG. Maike Davis gets a big gain on first down, and already SC is near midfield.

4:08 pm: TOUCHDOWN. McKinley is left in man-to-man coverage, and Smelley puts the ball right where it has to be. South Carolina leads 14-0, and UNC is already in big trouble. If the defense can’t make a stop, then we have no chance.

4:11 pm: Great another block in the back.

4:12 pm: Elzy takes the handoff and he gets a first down. Those are the kinds of run plays that we need.

4:13 pm: 3rd and 2, after a catch by Pianalto and another decent run by Elzy.

Little takes the direct snap again, and this time he gets a first down up the middle. He does an excellent job with the fake handoff.

4:14 pm: Kenan Stadium does not have an empty seat right now. As God intended. Elzy takes the handoff and runs for another first down. Nice to see that the Tar Heels didn’t abandon the run after the early struggles.

4:16 pm: Quick pass to Hakeem Nicks on the outside, and he gets 9 yards. Elzy give the Tar Heels another first down, and hopefully he’s finally starting to keep the USC defense honest.

4:17 pm: That’s the end of the first quarter. South Carolina leads 14-0, but North Carolina is knocking on the doorstep.

4:20 pm: Bobby Rome needs to look that ball into his hands. He worried too much about the run after, and he dropped it.

4:21 pm: Johnny White gets the carry. His carry is underwhelming, and it’s third down.

4:22 pm: Yates scrambles for a few yards, but it’s short of the first down. Fortunately, Barth’s kick is right down the middle this time. South Carolina’s lead is now 14-3.

4:25 pm: South Carolina gets the ball back. UNC’s defense must step up.

4:26 pm: The Gamecocks get a quick first down on two run plays. UNC has not done a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage.

4:27 pm: How does a fullback get left so wide open in the middle?

4:28 pm: Cory Boyd past midfield, and he gets a first down inside the 40. A facemask penalty now brings them to the 35.

4:29 pm: The D-line finally makes its presence felyt. Marvin Austin comes unblocked up the middle, and forces an intentional grounding from Smelley. 2nd ad 24 on the 14 yard loss.

OH! E.J. Wilson predicts the swing pass, and he very nearly has the interception. But he can;t hang on to the ball.

4:30 pm: Mike Davis takes the short pass, but it’s well short of a first down, and South Carolina has fourth down at the 38.

4:31 pm: UPDATE: LSU 7, UK, 7.

Succop’s punt is terrible, and UNC will start with decent field position. Marvin Austin may have potentially saved this game for UNC…at least for now.

4:34 pm: Brandon Tate takes the quick pass, and he gets big yardage after the catch. First down, UNC at the 42.

4:36 pm: Yates finally gets time, and Yates fires it downfield to a wide open Tate…but he’s just a half-step too short of the catch and near certain touchdown.

4:37 pm: Little’s catch on third down is well short, and UNC has to punt. This time, Brown’s punt is excellent, and Munnerlyn fair catches at the 8 yard line.

4:39 pm: FUMBLE! Davis fumbles on third down insode their own red zone, and “Quantavius Sturdivant” recovers inside the 15. UNC now Has great field position–and momentum.

4:40 pm: Just when we have the momentum, another penalty on the Tar Heels. This time it’s a holding call.

4:42 pm: INTERCEPTION! NOOOOOOO!!! Yates is under deep pressure from the inside, and he’s about to get sacked out of field goal range. Instead of taking the sack or throwing it away, he throws a floater into double coverage. Predictably, it gets picked off. That was exactly what we needed not to happen. We had first down at the SC 15, and for the drive to end like that… just terrible execution by every member of the Tar Heel offense.

4:49 pm: UNC’s defense holds for a 3-and-out. They seem to have finally adjusted to the Gamecocks.

4:51 pm: The USC defense is definitely winning the battle of the trenches right now. The Tar Heels offensive line has let them through too many times in the first half.

4:52 pm: SACK. Yates has nowhere to go on third down, and UNC has their 15th play for 0 yards or a loss today. Even worse, Captain Munnerlyn returns the punt into UNC territory.

4:54 pm: I knew that UNC was young, but even I didn’t know that 51 of the 84 players on our roster had not played a down until this season.

4:55 pm: Steve Spurrier is angry. He has little reason to; his team is dominating.

South Carolina faces 4th and inches, and they are going for it.

4:57 pm: Smelley tries the sneak, and he gets the first down…barely.

5:00 pm: Cory Boyd runs again on 3rd and short, and he gets it easily. Less than 30 seconds left in the first half.

5:01 pm: TOUCHDOWN. Once again, a receiver is left wide open in the middle of the field, and this time it’s a touchdown for Jared Cook. South Carolina leads, 21-3 before halftime, and this game may already ge out of reach for the Tar Heels.

5:04 pm: T.J. Yates takes the first down, and he immediately throws into a defender’s hands. Yates now has more interceptions than touchdowns, and has thrown seven straight picks without a score.

Halftime mercifully arrives, and South Carolina leads 21-3. If UNC has any chance of coming back, they need to do pretty much the opposite of whatever they were doing in the first half.

The defense did a decent job, especially in the secon dquarter, but they leave way tto much open space in the middle and it’s costing them big time. As for the offense..they need to go back to the runnning game and the short passes for yards after the catch. Those were the only plays working for the offense in the first half.

5:27 pm: The second half has begun, and South Carolina gets the ball to start the second half. Apparently, with 3 TDs Chris Smelley already has a career day. Is he getting that good, or has our defense just been that bad?

5:29 pm: UNC forces a punt, but we have some very bad news: Brandon Tate is out of the game, apparently with a concussion, and Hakeem Nicks has a bad ankle. The one strength we had on offense, and it seems to have been taken away from us.

5:31 pm: Elzy gets the carry. He barely gets past the line of scrimmage.

5:32 pm: We still have at least one big play receiver in Brooks Foster, who made a big catch on third down to move the chains.

5:37 pm: The USC defense continues to put pressure on Yates, and he’s sacked on third down. The defensive line hasn’t allowed North Carolina to do anything on offense.

5:30 pm: The good news: South Carolina roughs the kicker, and UNC has a first down. The bad news: UNC commits a personal foul after the play, and it’s 1st and 25.

5:40 pm: Correction: it wasn’t a first and 25, but it might as well be, Carolina is called for holding again! There have been at least several instances in which UNC has been given opportunities, and each time the Heels have made a big mistake to throw their chance away.

5:43 pm: What is wrong with the Tar Heels today? After taking a big step forward in their win against Miami, they seem to be taking big steps backward today: questionable decision making, lack of concentration, and an inability to take advantage of the opportunities that South Carolina has given them.

5:49 pm: Ryan Houston is getting a few carries now. On third down, he finally gives UNC a nice run, and finally some spark.

5:52 pm: Just like that, UNC is forced to punt again. The passing game is not working at all. With less than 20 minutes left in the game though, I think it’s 4 down territory from this point on.

5:56 pm: After yesterday’s Late Night with Roy, and with the way this game is turning out, many UNC fans, may already be looking toward basketball season. I say not yet; UNC’s defense forced another 3-and-out, and this is the toughest opponent we’ll face all year.

5:58 pm: How did that punt not get blocked? Bruce Carter went right up the middle untouched, but he was half a step too slow.

5:59 pm: Yates gets a big pass on first down to Bobby Rome, and UNC is now in SC territory.

6:00 pm: Hakeem Nicks returns to the game with authority! He gets the ball and big yards after the catch, and suddenly the Heels are back in the red zone.

6:01 pm: The third quarter ends with, guess what, another sack. South Carolina leads 21-3 after 3 quarters, and it would take a miracle fourth quarter for UNC to come back.

6:04 pm: TOUCHDOWN! Greg Little takes the pass, makes the entire secondary miss, and dives in for the score. Ryan Baucom misses the extra point, but UNC now trails 21-9 off of Yates’ first TD pass since the Virginia game. The crowd is back in this game, and UNC isn’t quite out of this yet.

6:08 pm: SACK! E.J, Wilson (and really, the entire defensive line) puts the pressure on Smelley. After a broken up pass, it’s now third down. The crowd is alive.

6:09 pm: Delay of game on South Carolina.

6:10 pm: SACK! Hilee Taylor gets to the QB, and Smelley has no chance. 3 and out. UNC may yet have one more opportunity in this game.

6:14 pm: Foster makes the catch on third down, but it;s a few yards short. With time running out, UNC is going for it.

6:15 pm: Wait a minute…They’re not seriously going to run in a jumbo formation on 4th and a long 2…wait, a timeout. Thank God.

6:18 pm: FIRST DOWN! UNC goes for it, puts everyone on the line, and Yates runs the play action. Hakeem Nicks is wide open downfield, and UNC gets a huge first down right when they needed it.

6:19 pm: Ref: “Please reset the Gamecock to 11:02″.

6:20 pm: It’s a miracle that Yates managed to avoid the pressure. Third and long.

6:21 pm: What a catch by Nicks, and another first down for the Tar Heels!

6:22 pm: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

UNC tries a fake play, an end-around to Joe Dailey, who throws the ball under pressure. If you watched Joe dailey last year, you know exactly what happens next. This game is now pretty much over.

I know people are going to criticize this play, but I don’t think it was a terrible call. Terrible execution, but not a terrible call.

6:24 pm: INTERCEPTION! I take that back. Mark Paschal picks off the pass by Smelley. Just when I think they’re out, the defense pulls me back in.

6:25 pm: Johnny White gets a huge run, and suddenly the Tar Heels are back inside the USC 25.

6:26 pm: Johnny White runs to the left again, finds a seam, and picks up a first down at the 11.

6:27 pm: NO! another potential turnover, this time a Greg Litlle fumble. Fortunately, UNC recovers.

6:28 pm: Yates is hit as he throws on third down, and it’s way out of bounds. UNC has no choice but to go for it…wait…WHAT?!?! What is Butch doing sending the kicker out there?!?!?

6:32 pm: Yates throws a fade on fourth down, and the ball goes through the arms of Greg Little. A near perfect pass, and Greg Little misses. South Carolina takes over, and barring another USC turnover this game is in the books.

6:34 pm: UNC forces another 3-and-out, but it’s too little, too late.

6:38 pm: Johnny White takes the pass up the middle and gets a huge gain to the 26, and then Nicks makes a huge grab at the 4 yard line. UNC, why must you toy with my emotions?

6:39 pm: TOUCHDOWN! TJ YATES TAKES IT IN HIMSELF! The heels fail on the 2 point conversion, but UNC now trails 21-15 with 3:03 left. If the Heels can force another 3-and-out, they can get the ball back with a chance to win. I simply cannot believe it.

6:42 pm: What is UNC doing running the onside kick?!? Barth makes a near perfect kick but the ball goes out of bounds, and South Carolina ball. I did not understand that call at all. Our defense has been playing out of their minds in the second half; why give the USC offense momentum?

6:44 pm: After two huge defensive plays, Cory Boyd runs a screen for twelve yards. South Carolina now faces fourth and short. Will they go for it?

They will kick the field goal.

IT’S OFF THE POST! IT’S OFF THE POST! AND NOW, UNC WILL HAVE 40 SECONDS AND GREAT FIELD POSITION!

6:48 pm: White is open, but he drops the ball.

6:48 pm: Little makes the catch. 28 seconds left, in SC territory.

Kenton Thornton catches again. Inside the 40.

6:49 pm: Greg Little nearly stays in bounds when he absolutely need to go out of bounds. 11 seconds left.

6:50 pm: Four seconds left. Little almost gets the catch in the endzone.

6:52 pm: Yates’ hail mary is…short. South Carolina knocks down for the incompletion, and South Carolina wins, 21-15. A lot of mistakes and missed opportunities for North Carolina, but they still have a lot to be proud of, coming back from three scores down to stay alive and give South Carolina the fight of their lives. The defense stepped up when they had to–not allowing a single first down in the second half!–but the offense just could not take advantage.

Previewing UNC vs. South Carolina

Five ways for UNC to pull off the upset:

  • If Anthony Elzy has a big day. Carolina now finally has an established running back in Elzy, who has 169 rushing yards, over 200 total yards, and 2 touchdowns in his last two games. Keep in mind that these stats were against two tough defenses in Virginia Tech and Miami. The Heels will need him to have a big day against the Gamecocks; while they’re #1 in the nation in pass defense, they’re also 99th in run defense.
  • If T.J. Yates doesn’t spend most of the game on his back. T.J. Yates first three games at QB: 58 for 88, 902 yards, 9 TDs, 3 interceptions, 5 sacks. His next three games: 42 for 75, 485 yards, no TDs, 5 interceptions, 12 sacks. Yates has steadily improved over the time frame of three games, and he didn’t turn the ball over against Miami. However, he can’t be very effective as a quarterback when he’s constantly under. If he gets time to throw from his young offensive line, he’ll be able to do what he did best early in the season: throw to his three main receivers (Tate, Nicks, and Foster) in position to get yards after the catch.
  • If the defense can stop South Carolina’s offense from getting momentum. In each of UNC’s last three losses, the Tar Heels were forced to play from behind the entire game because their defense let the opposing offense score a touchdown on their first drive. In two of those games, they were in essence the only offense touchdown the team would score and thus the difference in the game. (I’m counting VT’s second half touchdown as a defensive touchdown, since Xavier Adibi returned a Yates interception to the 4 yard line before Brandon Ore punched it in.)

And that starts on the defensive line. Hilee Taylor, E.J. Wilson, Kentwan Balmer, and Marvin Austin are capable of controlling the line of scrimmage. If they’re effective in stopping the run and pressuring Chris Smelley, the entire defense can be effective.

  • If UNC can win the turnover battle. In UNC’s two wins, their turnover margin is +4, including forcing 4 turnovers against Miami (5 if you include “Quantavius Sturdivant”‘s punt block). In their 4 losses, the TO margin is -7. UNC’s offense will need to take care of the ball, while players in the secondary such Deunta Williams will need to take advantage of any mistakes that Smelley makes in the game.
  • If UNC can perform well on special teams. Connor Barth has yet to miss a field goal this season. Brandon Tate is one of the best kick and punt returners in the nation; he’ll need to have a good game, if not for scoring then for field position. As stated before, the blocked punt by Sturdivant became the difference in last week’s game against the Hurricanes.

Five ways that the Tar Heels can lose this game:

The exact opposite of the preceding five points.

Five players who must come up big for the Heels today:

  • Elzy. See above.
  • Sturdivant. Not only has he been an essential special teams player, he’s established himself as UNC’s linebacker of the future, playing well in his last few games alongside Durell Mapp.
  • Jermaine Strong/Tavores Jolly. Kendric Burney has solidified himself at one side of the defensive secondary, but the other side was left open after Kendric Willams tore his ACL against Virginia Tech. Strong played well against Miami before shoulder issues set in. Jolly stepped in for the second half and got absolutely burned in the third quarter, responsible for at least two of Miami’s four touchdowns. The first touchdown was the result of a Jolly holding penalty in the endzone, and it was Jolly who got burned on Darnell Jenkins’ 97 yard touchdown. Talk about a baptism by fire. If neither of them can come through, we may see a lot of nickelback Charles Brown in this game.
  • The guys at the line of scrimmage. If our offensive and defensive lines lose the battle in the trenches, we’ll lose. It’s simple.
  • Hakeem Nicks and Brooks Foster: They have a responsibility to keep Yates off the turf as well. If they can’t get open, the result will be a lot of coverage sacks for the Gamecocks. UNC’s passing offense also depends on the receiver’s ability to get yards after the catch.

Five players to watch for South Carolina:

  • Chris Smelley. He’s SC’s quarterback because he’s able to manage a game and, unlike Blake Mitchell not make big mistakes. If he has time, he’ll have a good day throwing the ball against a non-SEC defense.
  • Cory Boyd. UNC’s defense has struggled against the run in earlier games. Boyd is the best running back they’ve seen yet. If the front seven can’t keep him in check, the Tar Heels are in for a long game.
  • Eric Norwood. He’s the centerpiece of the Gamecocks’ top defense, an excellent defender against the run and the pass. He was responsible for two key touchdowns on fumble returns against Kentucky last week.
  • Ryan Succop. He’ll be doing double-duty today as kicker and punter, and he’s among the best in the SEC at both.
  • Captain Munnerlyn. His name alone is enough, but he’s also the anchor of South Carolina’s secondary and kick return units.

People are trying to make a big deal out of Spurrier returning to Kenan Stadium for the first time since his Duke team crushed UNC 41-0 in 1989. I actually don’t care much about it, as it was before my time; Florida State is far more likely to draw my eternal football ire*. This is more about pulling off the big upset as establishing the Tar Heels as a team on the rise.

As always, stay tuned for the live blog at 3:30 pm.

*No, I still haven’t forgiven the Seminoles for that cold November might 10 years ago.

Men, In This Can Lies The Solution To All Of Our Problems!

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Our record says 2-4, and our statistics are roughly at where a 2-4 team should be (50th nationally on defense, 84th on offense). However, I can point to three plays this season–one in each game–that could have made us 5-1 if they played out differently.

All we had to do was not fumble.

  1. Fourth Quarter, about 10 minutes left. UNC is driving to score against the Pirates, game tied at 31. Hakeem Nicks catches a pass and runs to a first down at the 34. but he fumbles the ball, and ECU recovers. If he holds on to that ball, the continuing drive would have almost certainly led to a score. if UNC scores a touchdown or a field goal, ECU’s final drive is to go for the tie. UNC’s defense holds its own in the red zone, as they have the entire second half, and hold on to win. TheTar Heels are now 2-0.
  2. Fourth Quarter, eight minutes left. UNC is driving, down 22-14 to UVa. Yates completes a pass on 2nd and 4 to Zack Pianalto who gets a first down inside the 35. But the ball comes clean out on a fumble, and UVa. recovers. If he holds onto that ball, UNC would have gotten themselves at least in field goal range. Yate’s touchdown pass to Quinn with less than two minutes left gives UNC a 23-22 win. The Tar Heels are now 3-0, 1-0 in the ACC.
  3. Third Quarter, three minutes left. UNC is at the 5 yard line. It’s second and goal, the Heels are down 10-3, and they looked poised to tie the game. They hand the ball off to Ryan Houston, who is stopped at the 5 yard line comes flying out of his arms into the endzone. If he does nothing else but hold on to the ball, or even the Heels outhustle the Tech defense to the loose ball, UNC is almost assured of points in that drive. With a score, Yates doesn’t throw that interception to Xavier Adibi, and Carolina hangs on for a close victory on the heels of a great defensive performance. The Tar Heels are now 4-1, 2-0 in the ACC.

Other plays which could have turned the tide:

T.J. Yates’ botched snap: If he finishes the 2nd down play on the final drive, UNC gets a first down and continues running down the clock; UNC, not ECU, gets the game-winning FG as time expires.

Chris Long’s interception: That was a freak play, that required unbelievable athleticism on the part of long. Without the INT, the score remains 19-14, and UNC’s last-minute TD wins the game.

Eddie Royal’s reverse: on Virginia Tech’s very first play from scrimmage, their offense caught the Heels defense red-handed in overpursuit, running the reverse for 50-plus yards down the right sidelines to set up their only offensive touchdown of the day. Without that play, it’s the Hokies coming from behind the entire game.

One final statistic: in these games, UNC’s turnover margin was -5 (7 giveaways, 2 takeaways).

In each of these games we were one, or at the most two, plays away from victory. With those victories, UNC would be 5-1, 3-0 in the ACC, and 1st place in the Coastal division.

Now, the vast majority of these players have less than 300 collegiate plays from scrimmage under their belts, so they have a lot to learn. The Tar Heels have played their hearts out all season, and have improved some facet of their play in every game. The mere fact they were competing in all of these games shows that strides that Carolina has made in 2007. Also there are many, many other areas in which the Tar Heels need to improve. However, this exercise shows how much the outcome of a game, or even a season, can change with one play, especially turnovers. At some point in the next few years (or even this year), The Heels will be making those kinds of plays instead of giving them to opponents.

We’ll need a lot of stickum for when Spurrier and the #7th ranked Gamecocks come to Chapel Hill on Saturday.

UNC vs. Miami Live Blog

Today, Butch Davis faces his former team for the first time. Miami’s last appearance in Chapel Hill resulted in a 31-28 upset by the Tar Heels, which was Connor Barth’s crowning moment…

…and sent Miami into a downward spiral from the national football picture. Under Randy Shannon, they hope to return to prominence.

The Hurricanes are 4-1 but have not always looked impressive this season. UNC, conversely, are off to a 1-4 start on the season, but they might be 3 plays away from 4-1. This game could be an upset special, assuming the the defense can pressure a struggling Kyle Wright, T.J. Yates can have a good game through the air, and we can have some semblance of a running game. What’s most important, however, is not to have ill-timed turnovers. That’s killed us this year.

12:02 pm: The student section is loud to start the game, but I have to say it; the navy blue in the endzone looks out of place.

12:03 pm: Tate takes the kickoff to the 35 yard line.

Anthony Elzy is the starting back today.

12:04 pm: Miami forces a 3-and-out, sacking Yates on third down. He stood no chance against the blitz, and that’s the 16th sack of the season that the Tar heels have allowed.

12:06 pm: The Tar Heels go on defense. Marvin Austin starts at DT, and he already has a tackle in the backfield. Jermaine Strong is at CB, replacing the injured Kendric Williams.

12:07 pm: The Tar Heels force a 3-and out of their own, looking pretty impressive on defense. After the punt, UNC will start at the 29.

12:10 pm: Elzy gets the call on first down, but he can’t get around the outside.

12:11 pm: There’s that “eating an elephant” quote again.

12:12 pm: Yates finally gets time to throw, and he fires a bullet up the middle. Joe Dailey makes the catch at midfield.

12:13 pm: TOUCHDOWN! Elzy takes the ball, shakes a couple of defenders on the right side, and he outruns everyone else into the endzone! What a play by Elzy, and UNC leads 7-0 off of UNC’s biggest run of the season. Finally a running game, and UNC has their first lead since the first half against East Carolina.

12:17 pm: That run may have earned Elzy the starting spot at tailback. I cannot emphasize how awesome that was.

12:18 pm: Miami takes the ball out of the endzone, but UNC gang tackles the returner at their own 8. UNC really has momentum right now.

12:19 pm: Lance Leggett makes the catch on first down, but runs his way out of a first down, Another 3-and-out, and for the first time, it looks like UNC can take a game by the horns. The Heels will begin with great field position.

12:21 pm: Elzy gets it again, and he gets 6 or seven yards to the right side.

Another carry, but this timeMiami stops it for only a short game. 3rd and 2.

12:22 pm: Yates’ pass is incomplete. Goog coverage by the defense, but Quinn should have had that ball. UNC is going to go for it.

12;23 pm: UNC converts on foruth down with a quick pass to Tate. They’re now at the Miami 35.

12:24 pm: Oh! Tate very nearly has the touchdown catch, but he can’t get both hands on it.

12:25 pm: Yates very nearly throws an interception on third down, but Miami is called for a very questionable roughing the passer call. I didn’t see a roughing at all, but UNC is now at the 20.

12:26 pm: UNC’s playcalling is a bit too predictable right now; they’re over-relying on Elzy, and the Miami defense has already adjusted.

12:28 pm: Yates tries a little trickery, faking two handoffs before a screen pass. Elzy gets to the 16, but well short of a first down.

12:29 pm: Barth gets the field goal–holy crap, there are bleachers in the fieldhouse endzone!–and UNC takes a 10-0 lead.

12:32 pm: Ryan Hill takes the kickoff, and he runs all the way to midfield. Matt Merletti saves the touchdown.

12:33 pm: UNc goes offsides, but their real mistake is quitting on the play before the whistle. Miami takes advantage , and the get a 31 yard pass into the red zone out of it. Again, a big mistake by this young team.

12:35 pm: Miami runs a draw, and Kendric Burney gets a huge tackle for loss on the cutback.

12:36 pm: Leggett Catches short of the first down, but he fumbles. Fortunately for Miami, it goes out of bounds.

12:37 pm: Zambonia misses the field goal! UNC still leads 10-0, and for seemingly the first time this season, one of our mistakes doesn’t come back to bite us.

12:38 pm: UNC is driving again. Elzy gets the first down on the run, and then Yates finds a wide open Hakeem Nicks, who gets big yards after the catch to the Miami 36.

12:40 pm: Elzy is stuffed on first down. Yates tries a screen pass to Tate, but it goes nowhere.

12:41 pm: Yates has to throw a better ball. Nicks is wide open for a catch and run, but it’s thrown behind him. Fourth down.

12:42 pm: Barth tries the 51-yard field goal…and he makes it! UNC leads 13-0, and it looks like they’re poised to dominate this game.

12;43 pm: Barth would really rather not get another big return, and he makes a high, short kick that’s fair caught at the 32.

12:44 pm: E. J. Wilson and “Quantavius Sturdivant” make the tackle way behind the line of scrimmage to end the first quarter. UNC leads, 13-0 after one quarter, and for the this team looks like they’re playing to their potential a bit earlier than expected.

12:48 pm: Wright scrambles for a few yards, but Miami still faces third and 7.

12:49 pm: Jermaine Strong makes the big hit on Leggett to stop him short of the sticks and force another 3-and-out.

12:50 pm: BLOCK! THE OPUNT IS BLOCKED BY STURDIVANT! And UNC will have first down in the red zone.

Elzy is stuffed on first down, but he already has 80 yards today.

12:51 pm: Elzy takes the screen pass, and he gets to the four yard line.

Elzy gets the call again, but he’s short of the first down, at the 2. I like aggressive play, but I think UNC should take the field goal and make it a 3 score game.

12:53 pm: Colin McCarthy is down for Miami. He may have been concussed; he isn’t moving. I hope that he’s okay.

12:55 pm: McCarthy was able to walk on his own accord. Oh, and UNC is going for it.

12:57 pm: T.J. Yates takes the QB sneak, and he gets the first down, and commentator Ray Bentley gets a huge ego inflation.

12:59 pm: Another Miami player is down. He looks substantially less okay; he’s being carried off the field.

1:00 pm: TOUCHDOWN! Yates takes the sneak again, and he’s in the endzone. The Tar Heels lead 20-0 after the extra point, and are in complete control of this game in the first half. Simply incredible.

1:04 pm: Miami takes the kickoff, and they have good field position again.

Wright had the pass up the middle to Leggett, but he overthrew it just a hair.

1:05 pm: Darnell Jenkins makes the short catch, and Miami now only faces 3rd and short.

1:06 pm: Wright misfires again. Miami is now 0 for 5 on third downs today.

1:07 pm: Perfectly timed pass to Hakeem Nicks, but the pass is called incomplete. How is that not a catch?

1:08 pm: Butch Davis is challenging the ruling that the pass was incomplete.

1:10 pm: Miami is down 20-0…and yet their team is dancing. Granted the song is catchy, but still.

1:11 pm: Things keep going UNC’s way; the call is reversed, and it’s a complete pass at the 46.

1:12 pm: TOUCHDOWN! TOUCHDOWN! Tate runs the end-around to perfection, he gets great blocks downfield and he outruns everybody to the endzone! UNC leads, 27-0, and we’re not yet midway through the second quarter. It’s been at least six years since they’ve dominated a game like this.

1:17 pm: After UNC is called offside, Miami gets is first true first down with a dump-off pass.

1:19 pm: Good discipline by the UNC defense, staying at home for the cutback.

1:20 pm: Jenkins catches just beyond the sticks, and Miami makes their first third down conversion of the game.

Cooper takes the ball for a nice gain. It looks like the Hurricanes are finally driving the ball.

1:22 pm: SACK, MARVIN AUSTIN! Man watching him is fun. He went through the line untouched.

Wright waits until the very last second before running the draw, and Cooper takes through the line and for a first down.

1:23 pm: INTERCEPTION! Wright throws it right into the arms of Durell Mapp. UNC ball.

1:28 pm: UNC is called for clipping, which is about the first bad thing to happen to the Tar Heels today.

1:30 pm: On 3rd and 19, Yates gets enough time to find Dailey up the middle for a first down. What a play, and Joe has come up with two huge catches today.

1:33 pm: What a run by Greg Little, who breaks three or four tackles before getting close to another first down.

1:34 pm: Houston gets the call, and he bounces to the outside for 5-6 yards. UNC’s running game really showed up today.

1:35 pm: Yates rolls out to the right side, but he can’t find anyone open, and he settle for the short run. Fourth down, and UNC will settle for another 50 yard FG attempt. Two minutes left in the first half.

1:37 pm: The Tar Heels go for it on foruth down again! This time is fails, and Miami takes over on downs.

1:38 pm: Wright is very lucky that was called an incompletion and not a fumble. UNC only rushed four, but they they still got to the QB.

1:39 pm: INTERCEPTION! Wright overthrows it, and Deunta Williams is there to make the pick. Miami will head to the locker room with a big, fat goose egg.

1:41 pm: Johnny White gets the call, and he fights his way to a first down, after being “tackled” five yards out.

1:42 pm: it’s halftime, and UNC leads 27-0. The Tar Heels are absolutely dominating every facet of this game. It’s great to see this team put it all together and take over a game like this.

2:04 pm: We’re into the second half. Miami has the ball to start. Kyle Wright is still in the game.

2:05 pm: Great stat today: UNC has outrushed Miami 162-19 in the first half.

2:06 pm: A big catch and run by Fogg, and Miami is now in field goal range. Not very good pursuit on UNC’s part.

2:08 pm: Wright finally has time, and he finds Sam Shields at the 1 yard line.

TOUCHDOWN. Kyle Wright sneaks into the endzone, and Miami gets on the board withing 2 and a half minutes of the game’s resumption. 27-7, UNC.

2:12 pm: UNC needs to respond with a score of their own. If they go 3-and-out, then Miami gets all the momentum back.

2;13 pm: Elzy takes the ball on first down, and he gets five yards.

2;14 pm: FUMBLE! Elzy fumbles the ball, and Miami recovers with great field position. Yet another ill-timed fumble for UNC, and Miami now has everything set up to come back in this game. We played great for 30 minutes; it only took us 4 minutes to come close to throwing it away.

2:17 pm: Wright goes for the endzone, and gets a pass interference and a first down. The feel of this game has completely changed, and I’m starting to feel a sense of doom. Unfortunately, UNC still hasn’t quite proven themselves in these situations.

2:19 pm: UNC’s defense holds, but Miami is going for it on fourth down.

2:20 pm: TOUCHDOWN. Wright finds Leggett in the endzone for the score. Zambonia miss the XP, but Miami scored two touchdowns in less than seven minutes, and we have yet to convert a first down. There’s clearly a slight sens of dread. IS UNC going to throw away a potential victory aqain? 27-13, UNC.

2;24 pm: Hakeem Nicks makes the short catch on first down, but he’s slow to get up. We can;t afford an injury right now.

2:26 pm: Yates runs the pass on third and short. He hits a floater to Elzy past midfield for a big first down. The hit Elzy took, however, was big enough to break his helmet. Ryan Houston thus steps into the RB position by necessity.

2:27 pm: SACK! Yates had no chance, as Miami anticipated the screen.

2:28 pm: Yates throws deep on third and long, but Tate is double covered, and UNC is forced to punt. They’re very lucky that wasn’t intercepted.

2:29 pm: Quniton person makes a huge play on the punt, taking down Kenny Cooper at the 3 yard line. Miami will start in the shadow of their own endzone. Maybe that’s what our defense will need to make a big stop.

2:32 pm: Wright goes for the deep ball, but he overthrows it.

2:33 pm: TOUCHDOWN! Wright goes deep again, and this time Darneel Jenkins goes 97 yards for the score. As Miami cuts the lead to 27-20, I have one question: What is Tavores Jolly doing still on the field?

2:38 pm: UNC gets a three-and-out, and they have to punt again. After UNC did everything right in the first half, now they’ve done everything wrong. But I want to know where this Miami team was in the first half.

2;40 pm: If Miami completes the comeback, I cannot be held responsible for my actions.

2:41 pm: What’s Tavores Jolly doing still in the game? He’s the guilty party for Miami’s last two touchdowns. Fortunately, Hilee Tayor gets a big sack on third down and Miami is forced to punt. Finally, some semblance of control in this game.

2:43 pm: A huge run by Brandon Tate, and that’s exactly what we need! Yates fires to Tate, breaks a tackle, and runs 49 yards with one shoe. UNC is now within scoring distance, with a chance to bring it back to a two score game.

2:44 pm: Yates finds Quinn, and he’s close to another first inside the 20.

2;45 pm: If you had told me before the game that UNC would be leading 27-20 after 3 quarters, I would have taken it without hesitation. But game’s aren’t played on paper, and this must be the worst-feeling fourth quarter lead in history.

2:48 pm: Man. That was a nightmare of a third quarter. Let’s hope we play better in the fourth.

2:49 pm: Yates pump fakes one time too many, and his scramble is short of a first down. But Connor Barth gets the field goal, and UNC retains a 30-20 lead to start the fourth quarter.

2:52 pm: A really, really bad pass on first down. That’s the Kyle Wright we know and love.

2:53 pm: The collander that was the Miami offensive line now isn’t letting any pass rush through. Still, Wright misses on second down, setting up 3rd and 10. After a false start penalty, the crowd is back in the game.

2:54 pm: Wright is given infinite time again, and this time he fires it for a first down.

2:55 pm: Could someone please tell me what Jermaine Strong did wrong for Tavores Jolly to still be playing in his stead?

2:56 pm: INTERCEPTION! Quantavius Sturdivant catches the tipped pass, and it could not have come at a better time for the Tar Heels.

2;57 pm: Yates finds Nicks open to the right, and UNC has a first down at the Miami 25.

Elzy gets the call again, and he has a short gain up the middle.

2:58 pm: Tate gets the handoff again, and he runs behind the O-line and gets a first down on the left side. First and 10 at the 11.

2:59 pm: UNC tries Elzy again, but he can’t find the outside.

3:00 pm: Timeout, UNC. If they score on this drive, especially a touchdown, the Heels may actually survive one of the worst quarters I’ve ever seen them play.

3:03 pm: Yates is forced to scramble, but he can;t quite get the first down. Barth will kick a chip shot.

3:04 pm: The kick is good, and UNC leads, 33-20. Miami now must score two touchdowns to comeback. Can UNC’s defense hold?

3:07 pm: Javarris James gets the call, and he gets 9 yards.

3:08 pm: Unc is doing what we have now come to expect: bad arm tackling and allowing the opposing running game to take over.

3:09 pm: That’s just a lack of concentration. UNC gets two straight offsides penalties in a key drive.

3:11 pm: Kenny Cooper and the hurricanes are driving efficiently down the field. Maimi is now in the red zone. Eight minutes remaining.

3:12 pm: Wright fumbles the snap! the hurricanes recover, though.

3:13 pm: Wright tries to find james in the flat, but it’s incomplete.

Kyle Wright finds a huge hole in the scramble, and he comes very close to a first down. Undoubtedly, Miami will go for it on 4th and inches. How can UNC allow that scramble?

3:15 pm: Wright sneaks it for a first down. First and goal.

3:16 pm: INTERCEPTION! AND IT’S THE FOURTH PICK OF THE GAME! Charles Brown catches the ball as Wright throws it right at him, and UNC may well have saved this victory.

3:17 pm: Elzy gets the carry, and he gets a big first down for the Tar Heels, allowing them to run some more clock down.

3:18 pm: This time it’s Johnny White. UNC continues to run the ball efficiently. Now would be a very bad time for a fumble…and that’s exactly why it’s going to happen. It’s like, Murphy’s Law or something.

3:19 pm: Elzy runs on 3rd and 1, but Miami brings the all-out blitz to stuff him in the backfired. UNC will punt with 3:22 left, and UM takes a time out.

3:23 pm: After a delay of game, Carolina will pfrom the 22 yard line.

3;25 pm: NO! A great punt by Terence Brown, but Kenny Cooper pitches it to Darnell Jenkins, and he gets some huge blocks, going all the way to the UNC 11 before Trimane Goddard takes him down.

3:26 pm: Miami gets a holding call.

3:27 pm: E.J. Wilson with the sack, and Miami is forced to take a timeout with 2:33 left to play. The Hurricanes have a long way to advance the ball now.

3:29 pm: Miami runs another sneaky draw, and Carolina falls for it again. 3rd and 9.

3:30 pm: Why is UNC leaving the middle so insanely wide open? They almost allowed a touchdown there. 4th and 1, and Miami must convert.

3:32 pm: The Hurricanes run the sneak again, and Wright appears to have it. But he’s short of the endzone.

3:33 pm: Wright rolls out to the right, and he thinks he has a touchdown. But Hilee Taylor stuffs him just before the goalline, and Miami is forced to take their last timeout.

3:34 pm: TOUCHDOWN. James runs it up the gut, and he gets in the endzone. UNC leads, 33-27, and with 1:17 left Miami must convert the onside kick.

3:37 pm: Hakeem Nicks recovers the onside kick, and UNC has wrapped this game up!

3:38 pm: Carolina will just kneel it out.

3;39 pm: The game is over, and Carolina holds on to a 33-27 victory. Carolina played their best football all season in the first half, and they didn’t resign to fate after the horror show that was the third quarter. The Tar Heels get their first conference win, and it’s a relief to see this team’s efforts finally pay off. Miami is now 0-2 in Chapel Hill as an ACC team.

After Long Wait, Tar Heels Will Be Getting Cooter Once Again

In an attempt to shore up UNC’s secondary after losing Kendric Williams for the season, Coach Butch Davis has reinstated safety Cooter Arnold from his suspension. Fans of Extrapolater’s Porn Name All-Stars, rejoice!

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While I welcome any sort of depth on defense, I’m not sure how much his return will help the team. Arnold is a safety, not a corner like Kendric Williams, and through five game Trimane Goddard and Deunta Williams both have firm holds on their starting jobs. Unless Deunta moves to corner, I doubt that well see Arnold in the starting lineup.

(On the subject of our secondary, while no one wants to see a player get injured (let alone a torn ACL), Kendric Williams’ injury opens the door for freshman CB Charles Brown. Let’s see how well he plays in what should be his first career start against Miami.)

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