This series will determine the ultimate UNC football uniform combination. Each week, your vote decides which set advances to the next round.
The first round match ups went chalk, and today’s article kicks off the quarterfinals of the football uniform challenge. Last week, the 1978 uniform handedly defeated the Carolina Blue set from the Choo Choo Justice era. Check out the updated bracket (click to enlarge):
In the first match up of the quarterfinals, a short-lived alternate jersey takes on a unique road set.
4. 2013 all-black “Zero Dark Thursday”
The “modern” uniform design for the North Carolina Tar Heels lasted just two seasons in Chapel Hill, and this particular uniform made appearances in both years. The black helmet and pants were used in conjunction with other parts of this uniform set during those two seasons. Check out the first round article featuring this uniform.
A moment in this uniform
In the first round match up of this uniform, the debut of this jersey was featured. “Zero Dark Thursday,” the Thursday night game against Miami in Kenan in 2013, was the on-field reveal of this set.
The only other time this particular set was worn was in on October 18, 2014 in a Saturday night game in Chapel Hill versus Georgia Tech. The Tar Heels were on their heels, losing four straight games and without a win in conference play.
The game was a shootout, as were several of those games during the 2014 season. The Jackets and Heels traded touchdowns in the first quarter, with the Carolina score coming on an 8-yard Bug Howard catch from Marquise Williams.
After a GT field goal made it 10-7 in their favor, UNC scored two straight touchdowns. Both were Ryan Switzer touchdown catches from Williams, including an electrifying 68-yard touchdown reception. Georgia Tech closed the gap in a final minutes of the first half to give Carolina a 21-17 at the half.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Yellow Jackets scored to regain the lead. Carolina responded again with two touchdowns, with one drive capped off by a 13-yard rushing touchdown by Williams and another finishing with a Romar Morris touchdown run. At the end of the third quarter, Carolina was up 35-24.
The Morris touchdown started a string of four straight touchdowns in the game, with each team alternating scores. On the next drive after the Morris score, a Tech 46-yard touchdown pass started the scoring in the fourth that narrowed the Tar Heel lead to 35-31. On the subsequent drive, Carolina went for it on a 4th-and-6 and capitalized.
Mack Hollins brought down a 36-yard touchdown pass from Williams to extend the lead again. On the next drive, Georgia Tech churned out a nearly five minute drive that finished with a touchdown and failed two-point conversion.
On the next Carolina possession, their drive stalled close to mid-field and UNC was forced to punt. With just over three minutes left in the game, Georgia Tech scored on a 75-yard flanker reverse run. After another failed two-point conversion, the Yellow Jackets led 43-42.
With 3:07 left in the game, Carolina started their final possession from their own 25. UNC marched down the field in 12 plays using the arm of Williams and just one timeout. The biggest play of the drive was on a 3rd-and-4 at the Georgia Tech 24. Williams found Morris in the flats, he made a tackler miss in the backfield, and ended up gaining 15 yards on the play. A roughing the passer call at the end of the play moved the ball to the GT 4-yard line. A pass interference call on Georgia Tech moved the ball to the two with 14 seconds to play.
On the next play, T.J. Logan cut through the middle for the game-winning touchdown. A failed two-point conversion made it 48-43 Carolina. Georgia Tech was unable to muster anything in the last nine seconds and the Tar Heels completed the comeback.
Williams finished with 390 yards passing and 73 yards on the ground, including four passing TDs and a rushing score. Switzer had more receptions than the entire Georgia Tech team, nine to eight. He finished with 139 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Check out the highlights below, via the ACC Digital Network:
5. 1995-2003 white-on-blue with blue helmet
This away set originated in the mid-1990s and was unique among UNC football uniforms due to the Carolina Blue pants. These uniforms, both home and away, were know for the large navy stripes on the helmet, sleeves, and pants. Take a look at the first round article for this uniform.
A moment in this uniform
Expectations were high heading into the 1995 season with the Tar Heels garnering a preseason AP ranking of 20. A home loss to unranked Syracuse dropped them from the polls for the rest of the season. At the end of the 1995 season, UNC snuck by rivals Duke and NC State to end the regular season bowl-eligible. Carolina upset No. 24 Arkansas in the Carquest Bowl and ended the season above .500.
At the start of the 1996 season, the Tar Heels were unranked, but riding a three-game winning streak from the previous year as they hosted No. 25 Clemson for the season opener. The Heels stomped the Tigers 45-0 in decisive fashion.
The win put Carolina back in the AP Top 25 and on the road to the Carrier Dome to face off against the team that beat them the last time they were ranked.
Led by defending Big East Rookie of the Year Donovan McNabb, the then-Orangemen were ranked ninth in the country and was opening the season against their future conference opponents.
The Tar Heels started hot. On the first possession of the game, Carolina capped off a 59-yard drive with a Maurice McGregor touchdown run. UNC recovered a fumble on the subsequent Syracuse drive and converted on the turnover. A Josh McGree 37-yard field goal put the Heels up 10-0.
The only scoring play of the second quarter occurred in the waning minutes. With two and a half minutes left in the half, quarterback Chris Keldarf connected with Na Brown on a 3-yard touchdown pass to make the halftime score 17-0 Carolina.
Syracuse come out inspired in the second half, and blocked Carolina’s punt on the first possession of the third quarter. The Orange recovered and six plays later scored on a McNabb touchdown pass to their tight end Kaseem Sinceno. Another UNC punt was blocked and set up a 37-yard field goal for Syracuse to bringing them within a touchdown at the end of the third quarter.
A Dré Bly interception set up Carolina’s next score. In just three plays, UNC reached the end zone on a 18-yard touchdown reception by tight end Freddie Jones off a Keldorf pass. With five minutes left in the game, McGee added a 46-yard field goal for the final score of the game.
Keldorf finished with 217 yards passing and two touchdown, with Brown finishing as Carolina’s leading receiving with 81 yards and a touchdown. The Tar Heel defense kept the Syracuse offense to 184 total yards in a year in which they finished as co-champions of the Big East and ranked 21 in the final AP Poll.
The 27-10 Carolina Victory was the program’s first win over a top 10 team on the road since 1966.
What do you like best about these uniforms? What special moments do you remember while these uniforms were on the gridiron?
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Which uniform advances to the next round?
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4. 2013 all-black "Zero Dark Thursday"
5. 1995-2003 white-on-blue with blue helmet