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.