UNC Invented the Forward Pass

College Football fans have argued for years over whether it was Yale’s Walter Camp or Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne, both pioneers of the modern game, who invented the forward pass. History shows that Camp standardized passing and Rockne was the first coach to use it effectively, the first true forward pass was thrown in…Chapel Hill, North Carolina?

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That’s right, John Heisman himself was there when UNC was playing Georgia in 1895. The Tar Heels were forced to punt, but the line didn’t do a very good job of blocking, and their punter was quickly surrounded by Bulldogs defenders. In a moment of panic, he ran to his right, saw a wide open UNC player downfield and threw the ball up. George Stephens caught it and ran for the 70 yard touchdown.

At least, that’s how I think it happened (and Dave’s Football Blog thinks the same way, although he describes it as the moment that killed rugby in America). Mr. Heisman thinks they planned it all along. Per the 1973 book “They made the Bell Tower Chime”:

“John Heisman, a noted historian, wrote 30 years later that, indeed, the Tar Heels had given birth to the forward pass against the Bulldogs (UGA). It was conceived to break a scoreless deadlock and give UNC a 6-0 win. The Carolinians were in a punting situation and a Georgia rush seemed destined to block the ball. The punter, with an impromptu dash to his right, tossed the ball and it was caught by George Stephens, who ran 70 yards for a touchdown.

Heisman wrote he was at the game standing near the action on the sidelines. He is emphatic that Pop Warner, who was coaching Georgia, protested to the referee to no avail. And he adds that he personally wrote Walter Camp, the final authority on football, of the possibilities of the ‘forward pass’ making football a new and more exciting game.”

So there you have it. We have our modern American football thanks to a UNC punter. I find it a bit ironic, because UNC has historically been one of the best running teams in college football. But at least now I have a some obscure player from the 19th century to blame when our secondary gets burned this season.

(Tar Heel Times, via Dave’s Football Blog)


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ECU 34, UNC 31: “Well, Isn’t That Special!”

This was a very entertaining game. Both teams played extremely well offensively, but there were enough weird plays on special teams in the second half to make the Church Lady blush.

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On to the Heels’ breakdown.

On offense:

  • Brandon Tate was insane. Simply insane. In the entire game he touched the ball only nine times (3 receptions, 3 kick returns, and 3 punt returns. The result? 263 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns, or roughly 29 yards per touch and a touchdown for every three touches. Tate has really flourished under the new system, and once again shows me that the talent on this team was underachieving while Bunting was head coach.
  • T.J. Yates is the best quarterback in the ACC. I’m just as shocked as you are, but that’s what the statistics say. Yates is the conference leader in passing efficiency (191.2), yards per attempt (11.2) and yards per game (281), tied for 2nd in passing touchdowns (6), and 3rd in touchdown-to-interception ratio (3:1). On the downside, he received his first three career sacks courtesy of the Pirates. Of course he’s only played two games, one of which was a 1-AA opponent, but UNC seems to have a truly effective quarterback for the first time since Darian Durant.

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  • We have some very, very good receivers. The aforementioned Tate, who was already a special teams star, had 3 receptions for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns, which puts him atop the ACC in receiving yards and touchdowns after having caught…five passes. Only one receiver since 2004, Hakeem Nicks last year, caught more than 3 touchdown passes for an entire season. Nicks added 77 yards and a touchdown on 6 receptions, and Bobby Rome and Johnny White combined for over 100 yards receiving out of the backfield.
  • Nice to see that the passing game is working: Because the running game was still our major offensive weakpoint. In our first two games, UNC’s running-back-by-committee have averaged 89.5 yards, 95th in the nation. (Conversely, UNC’s passing game is 20th in the nation at 285.5 ypg.)
  • Your timing is just impeccable: Having given our offense sufficient praise, they played a part in Saturady’s loss. They played well as a whole, but fell prey to poor execution at the worst possible time.
    • With less than a minute to go in the second half, UNC was in the hurry-up offense trying to extend a slim 3-point lead when Yates threw an interception at midfield. East Carolina drove into the red zone and kicked the tying field goal before halftime.
    • Then in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Heels were driving down the field into ECU territory with a chance to break the 31-31 tie, having been very fortunate that East Carolina’s field goal had just hit the post. Yates threw a nice pass to Nicks for a first down, but he then fumbled the ball and East Carolina recovered, with good field position, and with less than 7 minutes on the clock.
    • After ECU managed to miss another potential game-winning FG, UNC was once again driving down the field, this time with a help of an effective running game. With a minute and a half remaining, the Heels were on 2nd down and 4 at the 34 yard line. T.J. Yates fumbled on the QB/center exchange, and was forced to fall on it.
    • The fumble was a wasted play, but the way UNC had been driving down the field all night, 3rd and five just out of field goal range was a very makable conversion. Instead of going to the air, Yates handed it off to Johnny White, who was stopped at the line for no gain.

    Four mistakes on offense, none of which were the botched 52-yard FG attempt, which was fairly unrealistic to make anyway. If the Heels had converted any one of these plays, we would probably be 2-0.

On defense:

  • Patrick Pinkney made us look really, really bad. UNC effectively stopped the run, but Pinkney lit up the secondary, completing nearly 75% of his passes for 406 yards and three touchdowns. When one considers that he was ECU’s third-string quarterback coming into the season…well, it just wasn’t a very good day for our defense.
  • A few stats:
    • East Carolina held the ball for 36:08 of the game.
    • The Heels forced 3 turnovers (and had opportunities for a few more) in their opener against James Madison. The didn’t force any on Saturday, and lost the turnover battle to the Pirates 2-0.
    • ECU converted seven of their 16 third down attempts (44%).
    • ECU put up 470 yards of offense in 75 plays, averaging roughly 6.5 yards per play.
    • The Pirates were held to 7 points and 261 yards against the Virginia Tech defense. This past Saturday, LSU put up 48 points and 598 yards against the exact same Virginia Tech defense.

Needless to say, the UNC defense had a rough night.

  • Don’t you have anything nice to say about the defense? Two of our defenders who performed well in this game were LB Durell Mapp and DT Kentwan Balmer. Mapp had 11 tackles and Balmer recorded two tackles for loss, including half of a sack with Hilee Taylor. Marvin Austin started for the first time in his career; he had one tackle for loss. And for all of the defensive struggle, the D did play well on occasion, forcing the Pirates to punt 6 times.

Special Teams:

  • Many happy returns: As I said before, Brandon Tate was unbelievable in this game. He returned six kicks and punts for 161 yards, an average of nearly 27 yards per return. The Pirates had a few good returns of their own; a 63 yard kick return led to a touchdown in the second half, and ECU started their average drive on their own 41 yard line. It’s a lot less difficult to score with a short field; say all you want about our defense, but the kickoff coverage team didn’t help them at all.
  • A day your kicker would like to forget: There were five botched kicks on the night. Connor Barth missed an extra point in the third quarter (although UNC converted the 2-point plat on the next TD), and he didn’t get the chance to kick a 52-yard game winner; his holder, Ryan Baucom, couldn’t handle the snap. Meanwhile, East Carolina’s Ben Hartman missed thee field goal from inside of 40 yards. But he made the two field goals that were the difference in this game: the one off of the interception to tie the game before halftime, and the 39-yarder to win it as time expired.

Final thoughts: T.J. Yates and UNC’s receivers will be a lot of fun to watch this year, and they should keep us in a lot of games. There are still two big question marks with this team. Can the defense step up when facing good opposition, and can the team avoid making costly mental mistakes? We should find out a lot more about this team when they open their ACC schedule against Virginia this Saturday.

UNC Depth Chart Released

Yesterday the team put out their depth chart for the game against James Madison this Saturday. You can read it at Inside Carolina.

Some interesting points:

Offense:

  • Cam Sexton is listed at #2 on the QB depth chart. All I can say is, I hope that T.J. Yates does well, because I’m not sure if I’m prepared to see Cam behind center again.

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This picture came from an image search of “Cam Sexton”. This guy looks just as interception-prone.

  • Only one offensive starter is a senior, center Scott Lenehan.
  • He’s only listed as the #4 or #5 receiver, but watch out for Kenton Thornton. He is a true talent and, at 6’4″ and 230 lbs, will be a mismatch for almost any cornerback.
  • A lot of running backs will get the ball on Saturday. But will any of them be effective?
  • With the addition of the H-back this year, UNC could have two lead blockers in the backfield on run plays. This should make the halfback’s (and the line’s) job a bit easier.

Defense:

At this point, I think that only three positions are set in stone, barring injury:

  • DE Hilee Taylor.
  • DT Kentwan Balmer.
  • Linebacker Durell Mapp.

I’m tempted to add Tramaine Goddard to that list because of previous performance, but we’ll need to see how well he’s recovered from injury. If he can get back to his 2005 form, he’s a lock.

  • All other positions should see a lot of rotation, as I don’t see many clear starters among the rest. I would be very dis appointed if I didn’t see Marvin Austin play on Saturday. You’ll know him when you see him: he’s the guy in the #9 jersey who looks like he ate T-Pain.

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  • Speaking of Austin, our strength on defense certainly seems to be the offensive line this year. He have some solid veterans (Taylor, Balmer, Kyandrus Guy) along with some very talented newcomers (Austin, Aleric Mullins, Tavares Brown).
  • We need to hope that the D-line will come through for us, because the secondary isn’t looking too good.

Special Teams:

  • Connor Barth and Brandon Tate will continue to be very good.
  • Whomever our punter will be, he’s going to suck. Instead of a shanked 25 yard punt after a 3-and-out, may I suggest this?

 

Overall, the depth chart is not that surprising, but it will be little more than a formality. A lot of players will see action against JMU, and probably for the entire season, as Butch Davis tries to figure this team out.

Emmanuel Moody: Coming To UNC?

According to Inside Carolina, former Southern Cal running back Emmanuel Moody is visiting the UNC campus in Chapel Hill this afternoon, and one can only hope that it’s because he wants to transfer here.

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On the one hand, this could be big news. Butch Davis has yet to coach a single game here at Carolina, and already we might be snatching a player from perhaps the best college football program in the nation. Running back has been this team’s biggest weakness since the departure of John Linton (boy, that’s a flashback), and the solution may about to fall into our lap.

But I’m also a tad skeptical. Moody is just visiting; he hasn’t come anywhere close to a decision. Three other schools, two of which are powerhouses (Texas, Florida), are also on Moody’s radar. Even if he transfers, it won’t help the major problems we have this year. If a good or great running back emerges this season, we may have some big controversy if the transfer happens. And there’s no guarantee of success. We thought we had gotten the next great UNC running back when Barrington Edwards transferred from LSU. In his senior year he’s 3rd on the depth chart, at best.

Yes, Moody had some good games last year at USC, and is a very talented running back, but he’s still somewhat of an unknown entity. Still, the mere possibility of a Trojan in Chapel Hill is better news than anything that happened last season.

UPDATE: Moody is going to Florida. Can’t say that I’m very surprised.

UNC vs Oregon State Live Blog: Game 2, 2007 College World Series Finals

Tonight UNC and Oregon State play game 2 of the College World Series Finals in Omaha. The beavers dominated game 1, pitching well and decimating the Tar Heels bullpen in an 11-4 victory. However, Wooten and Carignan weren’t used on Saturday, so they should be fresh. Luke Putkonen needs to come up big on the mound for Carolina tonight. The Heels bats need to wake up tonight as well, or else they will get swept.

7:13 pm: Luke Putkonen is off to a good start. It took him very few pitches to retire the side on a groundout and two flyouts to center. Three up, three down.

7:16 pm: Bottom of the first. Reid Fronk gets on base to lead off the inning, courtesy of a hit by pitch. We now reach the magic number of 50 hit batsmen in this year’s CWS.

7:18 pm: Josh Horton is moved up to 2nd in the order, and he hits a single to left-center field. Fronk advances to third, and Dustin Ackley is up next. Please, lord, let’s not leave men on base this time.

7:19 pm: Ackley’s grounder makes it past the third baseman, and Fronk scores easily. UNC has drawn first blood, leading 1-0.

7:21 pm: Tim Federowicz, by sheer luck, manages to execute the sacrifice bunt, advancing runners to second and third with only one out. Mike Stutes is not off to a great start.

7:24 pm: Tim Fedroff hits a grounder to first base, but Lennarton throws out Horton at home to prevent an extra run. Two outs, runners on the corners.

7:25 pm: Seth Williams harmlessly flies out to left field. UNC leads 1-0 at the end of the first inning, but they should have done a lot more.

7:29 pm: Top of the second. Mitch Canham gets on base, as the grounder to third is just out of Chad Flack’s reach.

7:30 pm: Nooooooo!!! Darwin Barney makes the Tar heels pay for not running up the score in the first inning, hitting a 2-run homer that just gets over the left field wall. Oregon State leads, 2-1.

7:34 pm: Putkonen is in trouble. After the home run, John Wallace gets a single, and Scott Santchi is walked. Andrew Carignan is already warming up.

7:37 pm: Putkonen finally gets an out, but there are runners on the corners with only one out.

7:40 pm: Lechelt strikes out, and Putkonen now has two away. However, a wild pitch advanced Santchi to second.

7:42 pm: Hopkins grounds the ball to third base, and Flack’s throw is low to first base. Ackley is forced off the bag, Hopkins is safe, and one run scores. 3-1, Oregon State. Ugh.

7:45 pm: Joey Wong is walked, and now the bases are loaded. That should be it for Putkonen. Andrew Carignan will come in. Once again, our starting pitching has betrayed us.

7:54 pm: Speaking of betraying…stupid WordPress is malfunctioning! Anyway, Carignan struck out Mike Lissman to end the inning and get out of the jam. Oregon State still takes a 3-1 lead.

Kyle Seager and Chad Flack both flied out, for two quick outs. Garret Gore is up next.

7:56 pm: Garret Gore strikes out to end the inning. Oregon State leads 3-1 after 2, and the Tar Heel bats are falling silent again.

8:00 pm: Top of the third. Mitch Canham leads off with a ground single past Horton.

8:01 pm: Darwin Barney grounds out to Ackley, but Canham advances to 2nd.

8:04 pm: Uh-oh. Carignan walks John Wallace. If Andrew Carignan is struggling on the mound for UNC, then we are completely f–ked.

8:05 pm: No sooner do I type that than Scott Santchi hits a bloop single that scores Canham from third. We are in serious trouble.

8:07 pm: Lennarton grounds out to the merciful inning ending double play. Oregon State extends their lead to 4-1 in the middle of the third.

8:11 pm: Bottom of the third. Fronk gets walked, and he’s gotten on base twice without having to even take a swing.

8:13 pm: Base hit by Horton. He hits a line drive into shallow left, and the Heels have runners on first and second with no outs, and Ackley at the plate.

8:19 pm: Ackley is walked to load the bases. No outs, and Federowicz is at the plate.

8:21 pm: Oregon State forces out Ackley at third from the Federowicz grounder, but Fronk scores easily, and the deficit is now 4-2.

8:23 pm: Dammit! Just as it looks like we’re coming back, Fedroff strikes out on three pitches. Two outs.

8:25 pm: Seth Williams flies out to shallow left to end the inning. Once again, we squander an opportunity to make a big comeback. Oregon State leads, 4-2. This is really frustrating.

8:30 pm: Carignan is back to very efficient pitching, retiring the side easily and striking out Joey Wong to end the inning. UNC still trails 4-2 in the middle of the 4th.

8:34 pm: Kyle Seager hits a single up the middle to lead off the bottom of the 4th.

8:35 pm: Chad Flack’s slump continues, as he flies out to the 2nd baseman in shallow right. One away.

8:40 pm: Garrett Gore strikes out for the second out. Fortunately, UNC returns to the top of the order and Fronk.

8:42 pm: Fronk strikes out to end the inning, as the UNC offense continues to struggle. Oregon State leads 4-2 after 4.

8:48 pm: Carignan is not off to a very good start in the 5th inning. He’s hit the first batter and walked the second.

8:51 pm: Carolina turns the grounder by Barney into a 6-4-3 DP. Two outs, a runner on third. I think Carignan should finish the inning, and then the Hells will put Wooten on the mound in the 6th.

8:53 pm: Wallace gets a base hit to left, and Lissman scores easily to make it 5-2, Oregon State.

8:56 pm: Base hit by Santchi right at the pitcher, and Wallace advances to third.

8:58 pm: Carignan gets out of the jam, as Lennarton flies out to end the inning…”…And the milkshakes from Zestos have arrived. Mmmm-mmm.” You gotta laugh at announcers. Oregon State leads, 5-2.

9:02 pm: Horton flies out to lead off the bottom of the fifth.

9:03 pm: HOME RUN! Dustin Ackley Sends one depp over the right field wall. UNC cuts the lead to 2, trailing 5-3.

9:05 pm: Tim Federowicz is not having a good trip to Omaha. He’s 2-25 now in the College World Series.

9:07 pm: Fedroff has a two out base hit, and Seth Williams is up next. A home run would tie the game.

9:09 pm: Stutes walks Williams to put runners on first and second and two outs. The bullpen is warming up.

9:12 pm: Yet another opportunity wasted by the Heels, as Seager grounds out to Lennarton at first base to end the inning. 5-3, Oregon State after 5.

9:16 pm: Top of the sixth. Lechelt gets on base to lead off, but Hopkins’ sacrifice bunt pops up, and Ackley catches it for the out.

9:19 pm: Joey Wong gets on base, and that will be it for Andrew Carignan. Rob Wooten will come to the mound in his place.

9:21 pm: Lissman flies out to Horton. Two outs, two on.

9:24 pm: Wooten strikes out Mitch Canham to end the top of the 6th. UNC is still within two runs, trailing 5-3.

9:32 pm: After Garret Gore gets to secon base, Mike Stutes is pulled in favor of reliever Anton Maxwell. Reid Fronk is up to bat.

9:35 pm: The Tar Heels continue to struggle. Reid Fronk flies out to right field for the second out. The heels are now 3 for their last 32 iwith runners in scoring position.

9:36 pm: Horton is hit by a pitch, and with two outs and runners on the corners, Ackley is at the plate with the chance to get a run, tie or take the lead.

9:38 pm: Ackley hits a near perfect line drive to left field, but Lissman makes the catch to end the inning. Oregon State leads 5-3, as our offensive plight is now such a statistical anomaly that it is simply ridiculous. If you want to watch something else (and I don’t blame you), “Enter the Dragon”, the ultimate Kung Fu movie, is on Spike TV.

9:42 pm: After Darwin Barney strikes out, John Wallace hits a triple to right field.

9:43 pm: Gore can’t field the ground ball, and Wallace scores easily. Oregon State leads 6-3, and at this point I’m so mad that I am ready to wipe the town of Corvallis, Oregon off the map. I mean, it’s not like anyone’s going to miss it, right?

9:49 pm: Seth Williams makes an unbelievable catch to end the top of the 7th, but Oregon State leads 7-3, and things are not looking good for UNC. Even our fundamentals are falling apart.

9:53 pm: Grbavac is now pitching for the Beavers, and Mike Cavasinni is pinch hitting for the Tar Heels. He ground out for the first out of the bottom of the 7th inning.

9:55 pm: Tim Fedroff hits a chop single over the pitcher, and Seth Williams is next.

9:58 pm: Seth Williams smokes a line drive down the left field line. Fedroff heads home, but Oregon State’s relaying gets the ball in time to the catcher, and Fedroff is out at home.

10:01 pm: Seager strikes out to end the inning, and the Heels come up empty AGAIN! Oregon State leads, 7-3.

10:08 pm: Top pf the eighth. After one out, Robert Woodard comes in for Wooten.

10:13 pm: Woodard is able to get out of the inning without allowing any runs. The last out was a great running catch by Fedroff. However Oregon State still leads, 7-3.

10:20 pm: The bottom of the eighth ends more mercifully for the Tar Heels: three up, three down. At least we didn’t get our hopes up only to be crushed for the 17th time today. Oregon State leads, 7-3.

10:27 pm: Lennarton sends a Woodard pitch out of Rosenblatt Stadium, and with it any remote hope that UNC had of coming back. Oregon State leads, 9-3.

10:32 pm: You know I could blame this loss on our bad starting pitching. I could blame it on our bats falling silent. I could even blame on our failure at times to make even the most routine plays. But we need a better scapegoat. So I will blame the NCAA Selection Committee. Oregon State was a bubble team, having lost most of their players, and with a losing record in the Pac-10. If Georgia Tech is selected instead (and I was legitimately surprised that they were snubbed), we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

In case you were wondering that was sarcasm. We lost because we just plain stunk.

10:36 pm: Bottom of the 9th. Horton lines out to Third, and Ackley grounds out to second. Kyle Shelton is now our last chance.

10:38pm: Fittingly, Shelton strikes out on a full count to end the game, and Oregon State is your National Champion, winning 9-3. 

It sucks. It just plain sucks. Words fail. We were very lucky to be here in the first place, pulling a lot of miracle comebacks when our pitching didn’t come through. When we reached the final, our luck simply ran out, when we ran into a very disciplined Oregon State team. Congratulations to the Beavers, but for what what you have done, you now draw my absolute ire. I mean it when I say this: If you ever play against Duke, I will root for you to get swept.

College World Series Live Blog: UNC vs. Rice

Tonight the Tar Heels play Rice for the right to play Oregon State in the 2007 College World Series Final (and for UNC, a chance at revenge). The fate of the Heels lies in the arm of freshman Alex White sophomore Adam Warren, who had a terrible performance in his first CWS appearance against Rice on Sunday. Can he regain his control on the mound tonight? Will UNC need to mount another comeback? Is this where their luck will run out? We’re about to find out.

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7:07 pm: UNC is the home team, and Rice the road team tonight.

Another piece of luck: the main reason we were able to score 3 runs in one inning against the Owls yesterday because of defensive errors. Yet another example of how we have been often as lucky as we have been good.

7:09 pm: CORRECTION: Manager Mike Fox has decided to start Adam Warren in this game, even though it is White’s turn in the rotation. He’s 10-0 in the regular season, but all of his starts have been against far inferior opponents. Still, he filled in well for Woodard against Miss. State last Friday.

7:11 pm: Wow. He retired his first two batters in 3-4 pitches, and retired the side with relative ease. UNC is playing excellent defense, but Warren is pitching well to start the game. 3 up, 3 down.

7:16 pm: UNC’s offense doesn’t fare any better to begin the game. Rice commits an error, but the the Rice pitcher was able to force a groundout and two flyouts to retire the side. Scoreless after 1.

7:22 pm: Top of the 2nd. Warren fields the grounder to retire leadoff hitter and Phillies 1st round pick Joe Savery.

7:23 pm: Seth Willams catches the flyball. Two down.

7:24 pm: Six up, six down for Warren. An excellent pitching performance so far.

7:26 pm: HOME RUN! I think it’s safe to say that Dustin Ackley is out of his hitting slump. That was a rocket over the center field wall. 1-0, UNC to start the bottom of the 2nd.

7:29 pm: After Chad Flack flies out, Kyle Seager gets on base on a HBP. There have already been 46 hit batsmen in this years CWS, shattering the old record of 36. And we still have the championship series.

7:30 pm: I don’t like this “win probability” stat. I would prefer the great suspense of wondering what will happen, not knowing what statistically should happen. And this is coming form someone who majored in the sciences in college.

7:31 pm: Matt Langwell and Rice get out of the inning, but UNC takes a 1-0 lead after 2.

7:34 pm: Rice gets on base to lead off the third inning. So much for Warren’s perfect game bid.

7:36 pm: Warren waks the second batter, putting runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs.

7:38 pm: Rice lays down the sacrifice bunt. Two runners in scoring position, one out.

7:40 pm: Warren gets his first strikeout of the game, fanning the Rice shortstop.

7:41 pm: On the very next pitch, Diego Seastrunk hits a line drive into right field sending both baserunners home. Rice now takes a 2-1 lead. The Rice hitters may have figured out how Warren can be beaten.

7:45 pm: Lord, just let us get out of this inning, so that our pitching doesn’t collapse.

7:46 pm: The top of the 3rd ends with Savery flying out to Reid Fronk, but Rice has taken a 2-1 lead in the middle of the 3rd.

7:49 pm: Fronk is walked to lead off in the bottom of the third.

7:50 pm: HOME RUN! Tim Fedroff shoots one into the left field seats, and UNC takes a 3-2 lead. UNC now has 3 times as many home runs (3) in the last two games as in all of their previous postseason games (1).

7:52 pm: Horton gets to second after another error by Brian Friday, his third in two days. Previously, the Owls haven’t committed an error in the entire CWS.

7:56 pm: Rice retires the next three batters to end the third inning and leave Horton stranded. UNC leads, 3-2 after 3 innings.

8:01 pm: Barry Larkin: “When recruiting, Rice has been able to reproduce”: hmmm…

8:07 pm: Warren has two outs in the top of the 4th, but Aaron Luna is at third base. Rob Wooten is warming up…

8:08 pm: …but Rice flies out to center field, and Warren gets out of the jam.

8:14 pm: ANOTHER HOME RUN! This time it’s Seth Williams, who shoots one over the left field fence. UNC has three hits in this game, all home runs. Where was this power in the rest of the postseason?

4-2, UNC.

8:20 pm: You know Brian Friday has had a bad few days when he gets run over by a baserunner, trying to field a bad throw.

8:22 pm: Rice finally retires the side to end the inning. UNC leads 4-2 after four.

8:26 pm: Wow, that was fast. Warren is on roll, retiring the 5th inning side in 6 pitches, including a strikeout. Our starting pitching has finally come together in the last few games.

8:28 pm: Langwell was pulled in the fourth inning, but that doesn’t matter. ANOTHER HOME RUN, this time by Josh Horton to lead off the bottom 5th inning. 5-2, in favor of the Tar Heels.

8:30 pm: TAR! HEELS! TAR HEELS! TAR HEELS! TAR! HEELS!…

8:33 pm: Bobby Bramhall walks Federowicz and Ackley after the Horton home run. runns on 1st and 2nd, no outs.

8:35 pm: Flack sac bunts to advance the runners. One out.

Bramhall has been pulled in favor of closer Cole St. Clair. This move may be perplexing, but Andrew Carignan pitched 5 strong innings in the deciding Super Regional game against South Carolina.

8:39 pm: Seager hits a line drive right down the middle of the infield for a base hit. Fed-Ex and Ackley will score. The score is now 7-2 in favor of UNC.

8:42 pm: St. Clair finally gets out of the inning, but Rice is in big trouble now, down 7-2 after 5 innings.

8:48 pm: Warren easily gets out of the inning, and UNC still leads 7-2 in the middle of the 6th.

8:52 pm: Fronk gets a double as the Heels continue to dominate against the Owls relief pitching.

8:55 pm: Soccer update: USA 2, Canada 1, Stoppage time, CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinal.

8:59 pm: Canada scores, but Canada is called for offsides, a very, very controversial call. Nevertheless, USA officially wins, 2-1.

9:06 pm: Wooten is in the game for UNC, but Rice is taking advantage of his pitching. With no outs, they have gotten three hits and scored a run to make it 7-3, UNC. Rice may not be out of this yet.

9:09 pm: Garrett Gore has done an excellent job of fielding. He manged to get the forceout at second for the first out of the inning, and then caught a foul ball for the second in such a way that he was able to turn around quickly and deter the runner on third from running home.

9:10 pm: The next batter hits a line drive into right field. Fedroff can’t reach it, and the socre is now 7-4, UNC. ESPN makes the all to obvious joke: “the Rice isn;t cooked yet.” Ugh.

9:14 pm: Out with Rob Wooten, in with Andrew Carignan.

9:16 pm: My experience this summer at Boshamer has been fantastic, but it was missing one thing: a beach ball in the general admission section.

Carignan strikes out Joe Savery to end the inning. UNC is holding on to a 7-4 lead.

9:21 pm: Bottom of the 7th inning. Dustin Ackley hits a leadoff double off the left field wall.

9:30 pm: Wow, sometimes live blogging a baseball game is hard. Anyway, UNC is unable to to take advantage of the early double, as Rice retires the next three batters. The margin remains 7-4, UNC after 7 innings.

9:32 pm: Rice gets a leadoff single.

9:35 pm: After 1 out, Garrett Gore mishandles a groundball, which took a really bad hop. The World Wide Leader continues to talk about both the groundscrew and the umpire (specifically, the bad jobs they think they’ve done).

9:38 pm: After striking out the next batter, Carignan gets out of the inning with a flyout to Seth Williams. UNC remains in a 7-4 lead at the middle of the 8th.

9:40 pm: Off topic. I am very glad that the US are advancing to the finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. However, Canada should have been awarded that goal at the end to force extra time. They were onside.

9:42 pm: Gore grounds out to lead off the bottom of the 8th inning. Fronk flies out and Fedroff grounds out for an easy 3-up, 3-down 8th inning for Rice. UNC leads 7-4, and they are now just three outs away from a rematch with Oregon State.

9:45 pm: Two outs away. Rice flies out to Willams at center field.

9:47 pm: One out away. Friday grounds out to Flack.

9:48 pm: Seastrunk hits a fly ball, but Seth Willams makes the catch, and we’re going to the Championship Series! WHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

The Championship series will be a rematch between the Tar Heels and Oregon State. UNC will be hoping to get their revenge. I will liveblog every game of the series right here. It’s great that the Heels get to return to the Series, but having watched them in person, to do it this year has been substantially more awesome for me.

 

2007 College World Series Live Blog: UNC vs. Mississippi State

Tonight The North Carolina Tar Heels begin their run in the 2007 College World Series, against the resurgent powerhouse Mississippi State. I will provide a proper preview of the Tar Heels in the CWS tomorrow; if you absolutely must have a preview right now, to to College Baseball Blog.

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7:15 pm: Top of the first. Robert Woodard allowed a single against the leadoff hitter, but retired the side after that.

7:19 pm: Bottom of the first. UNC’s batting lineup: Fronk, Fedroff, Ackley, Federowicz, Horton, Flack, Williams, Johnson, Gore.

7:20 pm: Justin Pigott strikes out Reid Fronk to begin the inning.

7:21 pm: Tim Fedroff grounds out to second. Apparently, he’s a Yankees fan. Booo… it’s a good thing you’re playing for the Tar Heels.

7:22 pm: Dustin Ackley is safe at first off the error by the shortstop, but Tim Federowicz flies out to center to end the inning. The game is scoreless after one.

7:26 pm: The second inning has begun. The Bulldogs first baseman leads off with a single up the middle.

Woodard is a good pitcher, but I’m concerned for our starting pitchers this year. They have been shaky for the entire post season, and many times our ourr bullpen has had to bail out the team before the offense makes a comeback. We need the starters to perform well if we want to win the College World Series.

7:27 pm: Fedroff completely misses the catch, losing the baseball in the sun. Runners on second and third.

7:29 pm: Sneed hits another double that goes in the right-center gap, scoring the two guys on base easily. 2-0, Mississippi State early in the second.

7:32 pm: The Bulldogs continue to hit off of Woodard into deep right field. Fedroff catches it, but Sneed scores after tagging up at third. 3-0, Mississippi State, and only 1 out.

7:34 pm: After 2 outs, another line drive to right field, and another easy run by Mississippi State, and the Bulldogs, lead 4-0.

That will be it for Woodard, as Adam Warren will come out of the bullpen in his place. Woodard leaves after 7 hits and 4 earned runs on only 39 pitches.

7:40 pm: Warren gets out of the inning, but not before Mississippi State puts a huge dent in UNC’s plans. Boy, where have we seen this before?

7:44 pm: After Josh Horton leads off with a base hit, Flack grounds into a double play, and Williams grounds out to end the inning, essentially before it started. Pigott retires the side in 4 pitches. He is dominating, which is not a good sign for the Tar Heels.

7:51 pm: Warren gets the Heels out of the inning without hemorrhaging more runs. The Bulldogs still lead, 4-0 in the middle of the third.

Adam Warren has been our fourth option at starting pitcher. Even though he has a perfect 10-0 regular season record, he has not been used in the postseason until now.

7:58 pm: After Benji Johnson strikes out, Garrett Gore hits a double into right field, UNC’s first extra base hit of the game. The Heels now go back to the top of the order.

8:01 pm: Pigott walks Fronk to put runners on first and second with one out. Fedroff is up next.

8:03 pm: Fedroff flies out to right field, and Fronk is picked off at first by the catcher to end the inning. The Bulldogs lead 4-0 after 3. UNC cannot afford to make mistakes at this point in the game.

8:11 pm: Adam Warren retires the first two batters. Missisippi State hits a two out left field double, but Warren is able to strike out catcher Edward Easly and end the top of the fourth. The Bulldogs still have a 4-0 lead.

8:15 pm: Pigott walks Ackley to lead off the inning.

8:18 pm: Federowicz hits a a deep fly ball, but the center fielder, Jeffrey Rae, is there for the catch. One down.

8:20 pm: Horton hits a grounder between first and second base for another base hit. Horton is 2-2.

Wait a minute. Someon has the time to setup a website calling for the head of a college baseball manager? Now I’ve seen everything.

8:22 pm: Flack hits another single for the Tar Heels. Ackley comes in to score from second to finally put UNC on the board. 4-1, Mississippi State.

8:27 pm: After Seth Williams flies out, Benji Johnson hits a grounder that gets past the shortstop. Horton comes in to score from second. 4-2 Mississippi State. Could UNC make another big comeback?

8:29 pm: Garrett Gore ground out to end the inning, but the Heels cut the lead in half. It’s 4-2, inf favor of the Bulldogs after four innings.

8:34 pm: According to Barry Larkin, the sign that you’ve made it big as a town is when you have a Bass Pro Shops. Hmm… under that definition, Auburn, New York has made it big as a city.

Also, Dick’s Sporting Goods, a sponsor of the CWS, is not going to be happy about Larkins plugging their competitor.

8:36 pm: UNC turns the double play tpo end the inning. We’re at the game’s midway point, and UNC still trails 4-2.

8:41 pm: With one out, Fedroff gets an easy right field single…

8:43 pm: …but Ackley line drives right to the third baseman, who turns in an easy double play to end the fifth inning. The Bulldogs still lead 4-2 after five innings.

8:48 pm: Adam Warren’s line so far: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 4 K, 1 BB.

8:54 pm: Warren gets out of the inning, still without allowing a run. 4-2, Bulldogs.

8:58 pm: After one out, Horton and Flack each get base hits. Seth Williams is up next.

9:00 pm: Seth hits a bullet at the third baseman, who mishandles the ball. Horton is able to score from second, cutting the deficit to 4-3.

TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS!

…You know what? That sounded definitively less formidable at a baseball game.

9:03 pm: Benji Johnson misses getting a home run by thismuch, but he hits it off the wall and Flack comes in to score. Seth Williams is stopped at third, and the game is now tied at 4. UNC has come all the way back, and Pigott is gong to get pulled from the pitching mound.

WHOOOOOOOO!!!

It’s worth noting that the Heels ravaged the South Carolina bullpen, but it may be a different story against the Bulldogs. Runners on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out.

9:08 pm: The pitcher walks Gore to load the bases for Reid Fronk, possibly to force an inning-ending double play.

9:10 pm: Reid Fronk is hit by pitch, and Seth Williams scores from third. UNC leads, 5-4. A bizarre way to get out first lead of the game, but we’ll take it.

9:11 pm: Fedroff Flies out to deep left field, but Benji Johnson is able to tag up and score from third. It’s now 6-4 in favor of the Heels. What a turnaround.

9:12 pm: Dustin Ackley hits a line drive over the outstretched arms of the shortstop, bring Gore and Fronk in to score. With the 2 RBI single, Ackley ties the record for the most hits by a Tar Heel in a season, set by Chad Flack last season. UNC leads, 8-4.

9:14 pm: Federowicz, who led off the inning, gets a base hit that sends Ackley to third, and the Bulldogs must now dig deeper into their bullpen.

9:16 pm: Roy Williams is looking stylish is his “Carolina blue loose Under Armour semi-mock-turtleneck T-shirt”. There are so many oxymorons in that one piece of clothing, it’s scary, and yet he manages to look good in it.

9:18 pm: Horton flies out to right, and the inning mercifully comes to an end, but the Heels now have a 4 run lead heading into the 7th, with Adam Warren still pitching well.

9:21 pm: Correction: Warren has finished his day, and has been replaced in favor of Rob Wooten. He has pitched extremely well this postseason.

9:23 pm: Just when it looked like UNC’s lead was going to be safe, Wooten allows a deep home run from Edward Easley to cut the lead to 8-5, and the Bulldogs put another guy on base.

9:25 pm: UNC is able to get out of the inning and into the 7th inning stretch, still leading 8-5. The Heels’ now red-hot offense will get another chance to get more runs.

9:28 pm: Flack beats the throw from third to get the base hit and lead off the inning.

9:31 pm: Ricky Bowen has spent WAY too much time worrying about Flack at first base. He needs to worry about the batter.

9:33 pm: Williams walks, putting runners on first and second with nobody out.

9:35 pm: A wild pitch sends the runners to second and third, still with no one out. The Bulldogs are in serious trouble.

9:37 pm: Benji Johnson strikes out. For the Bulldogs, that’s about the best thing that could have happened in the at-bat.

9:38 pm: On the next pitch, Gore grounds to third, where Sneed manages to keep Flack at third and throw out Gore at first.

On the very next pitch, Reid Fronk grounds out to first, and Mississippi manages to escape the jam, still trailing the Heels 8-5. Crap. We could have finished them off, and we let them off the hook. Let’s see if coming up empty in the 7th comes back to haunt us.

9:42 pm: Sneed grounds out to Flack at third. We’re five outs away. Wooten is still on the mound, and Andrew Carignan is warming up.

9:43 pm: Jet Butler also grounds out, and UNC is now 4 outs away from their first win in the 2007 CWS.

9:44 pm: Wooten retires the side easily in the top of the 8th inning, and Carignan will close in the 9th. This game seems pretty much in hand at this point, but another run or two never hurts.

9:48 pm: Fedroff gets a base hit to lead off.

9:50 pm: Mississippi State skipper Ron Polk looks like a combination of Lou Pinniella and Bobby Bowden. Trust me, that is not a good thing.

9:54 pm: After striking out 2 batters, Horton flies out to end the 8th inning. UNC still leads 8-5, and now have a chance to close out the game in the 9th.

9:59 pm: Carignan easily disposes of the first two batters. Ed Easley, who hit the home run off of Wooten, is now the Bulldogs’ last hope.

10:01 pm: Easley strikes out! And Carolina manages the 8-5 win over Mississippi State. The Heels once again are bailed out by their bullpen after a bad performance by the starter, and the offense rallies late to get the win. North Carolina will now face Rice in Game 4 of Bracket A of the College World Series. The winner will have the upper hand in getting to the Championship Series.