This will be the short and sweet version as we have a double-dip of Carolina basketball and football this evening.
I was a junior at UNC in 1989 when Duke crushed UNC 41-0 in what would be Steve Spurrier's last regular-season game as the Blue Devil coach. Spurrier gathered his team under the old small scoreboard in the corner of the east end zone and took a picture that allegedly still hangs in his office. After suffering through the ignominy of that game and back-to-back 1-10 seasons, I was one of the first over the wall at Wallace Wade to reclaim the Victory Bell. Only once in the succeeding 20 seasons since my senior year have the Devils managed to wrest away the bell. Man, beating Duke never gets old.
It was a record-setting day for Carolina as Gio Bernard rushed for a career-high 165 yards and a touchdown, setting a school record for rushing yards by a freshman. Dwight Jones had 10 catches for 101 yards and three touchdowns on the way to setting a school single-season record for receptions. Bryn Renner threw for 274 yards and the three Jones TDs, tying a school record for TD passes in a season.
As is frequently the case in a Carolina-Duke game, this one was nothing if not entertaining. There were big plays and stupid penalties, and Duke kept the game close for the better part of three quarters until the Heels were finally able to get some separation.
UNC finishes the regular season at 7-5, 3-5 in the ACC, against a solid schedule. Ten of UNC's 12 opponents this season are bowl or FCS playoff-eligible (only Duke and ECU will not make the post-season) and given the turmoil at the beginning of the season, seven wins is quite an accomplishment. Awaiting the Heels is a bowl game, either in Shreveport for the Independence Bowl or Washington, DC for the Military Bowl.