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THB’s football uniform challenge First Round: No. 5 vs. No. 12

Pick between the away threads during the Mack Brown era and a special edition helmet

This series will determine the ultimate UNC football uniform combination. Each week, your vote decides which set advances to the next round.

Last week’s matchup was a landslide, as your votes overwhelmingly favored the top seed in the bracket. The top four seeds will advance to the quarterfinals. Here is the updated bracket (click to enlarge):

In this week’s matchup, a standard set from the 1990s and early 2000s goes up against a set with a special helmet.

5. 1995-2003 white-on-blue with blue helmet

Oscar Davenport
Oscar Davenport in 1997 Gator Bowl

In Chapel Hill in the ‘90s, things were changing in football. The North Carolina Tar Heels had winning records in all but one season during the decade, won five of seven bowl games, and Kenan Memorial Stadium started its transformation into a modern and expansive facility.

These uniforms, known for its wide navy stripe on the pants and helmet, were worn by All-Americans and All-ACC performers during the successes of the football program in the 1990s. The most distinguishing feature on this set was the Carolina blue pants.

Most of the uniform sets prior to these had white or another darker color with the white jersey. Blue pants did pop up in the 1980s, but the usual white away jersey was paired with white pants. These pants added more Carolina blue to the set that created a nice alternating pattern of primary color between helmet, jersey, and pants.

A moment in this uniform

The 1996 Tar Heels finished 10-2 overall, and second in the ACC. Their only two losses that year were during conference play. After finishing the regular season with a 27-10 victory over Duke, the Tar Heels earned a trip to the Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day in 1997.

The No. 10 Tar Heels faced off against the No. 25 West Virginia Mountaineers in Jacksonville, Florida. These teams were the top two defenses in the nation. Carolina faced the tough WVU defense without their All-ACC quarterback Chris Keldorf. He was injured and was replaced by Oscar Davenport.

After a scoreless first quarter, Carolina got on the board first with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Davenport to wide receiver Octavus Barnes. After an interception by UNC cornerback Robert Williams, the Tar Heels pushed the lead to 10 after a 22-yard field goal by Josh McGee. After West Virginia converted on a 47-yard field goal, UNC drove down the field as the half ended. Davenport added another Tar Heel touchdown on a 5-yard option keeper with 1:15 left in the half.

On the first drive of the second half, the Mountaineers scored to bring them within a score to 17-10. McGee hit another field goal for the final scoring play for Carolina with 5:31 left in the third.

UNC’s defense stepped up in the second half. All-American Dré Bly had two interceptions and safety Greg Williams had a fumble recovery. Down seven with minutes to play, West Virginia started a drive towards the UNC end zone. On a 4th-and-6 at the Carolina 24 yard line with less than two minutes to play, pressure from the UNC pass rushers caused West Virginia to overthrow the intended receiver. Carolina ran out the clock for a 20-13 victory.

Oscar Davenport was named the MVP of the Gator Bowl, passing for 175 yards and a touchdown, and rushing for 31 yards and a touchdown. Check out some of the highlights below:

12. 2014 white-on-blue with blue chromed Tar Heel helmet

North Carolina v Duke
Marquise Williams versus Duke in 2014
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In a continuation of the “Tar Pit Series,” which featured a new alternate uniform or helmet in a game each season, the second chrome helmet was picked for the 2014 game versus Duke. These “Carolina Chrome” helmets were the same design as the 2012 chrome helmets, except the colors were reversed between the primary color and the Tar Heel, and a chrome face mask was used instead of a black one.

A moment in this uniform

The only time these helmets were on the gridiron were for a Thursday night battle for the Victory Bell on November 20, 2014 in Durham. On Duke’s first offensive possession, UNC defensive end Justin Thomason forced a fumble and it was recovered by Carolina linebacker Jeff Schoettmer.

The Tar Heels scored on the subsequent drive on a Marquise Williams pass to wide receiver Quinshad Davis. Duke’s next drive ended with a fumble recovery for a touchdown by safety Tim Scott and the Heels were up 14-0 less than eight minutes into the game.

Duke cut the lead in half on their next offensive possession, but Carolina responded with a Williams pass to Mack Hollins for a touchdown on a 4th-and-goal. After a punt by the Blue Devils, Carolina scored again, capping off a 60-yard drive in less than one minute with a Williams rushing touchdown to push the UNC lead to 28-7. After that score, Duke had three straight punts and Carolina had three straight fumbles to end the half.

On the third play of the second half, UNC cornerback M.J. Stewart picked off the Duke quarterback. That turnover set up a T.J. Logan touchdown run for the Tar Heels. The Carolina defense then forced a three-and-out, and on the next UNC drive Thomas Moore hit a 30-yard field goal to make the score 38-7, the largest of the evening.

The Blue Devils scored two touchdowns before a Williams 16-yard rushing touchdown for the Heels ended the scoring for the game. Carolina’s 45-20 win reclaimed the Victory Bell after a two-year absence.

Check out the highlights from the game, via the ACC Digital Network:

What do you like best about these uniforms? What special moments do you remember while these uniforms were on the gridiron?

Vote below for your favorite. The poll ends next Wednesday.


Which uniform advances to the next round?

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    5. 1995-2003 white-on-blue with blue helmet
    (40 votes)
  • 38%
    12. 2014 white-on-blue with blue chromed Tar Heel helmet
    (25 votes)
65 votes total Vote Now