UNC v. NC State games are always competitive and memorable. The rivalry has taken on new meaning in recent years because of some outstanding moments and plays from the Tar Heels and Wolfpack alike.
The first moment I can remember off the top of my head was 2004, when State running back TA McClendon fumbled the ball on the goal line and UNC came away with a close victory. All I remember about that game was a huge headline in the paper the next day showing the ball on the back of McClendon’s knee. Next we could mention Hail Searcy, but instead will pretend that never happened and sweep that one under the rug.
All UNC fan’s favorite NC State game moment came when the red and white enemy came into Chapel Hill last year. I remember this game well, and will also never forget it. Giovanni Bernard took a punt back to the house for a TD, breaking a tie and sending Kenan Stadium into a frenzy. I remember looking up to the Carolina Blue sky right after Gio had scored and thinking thoughts of pure relief from beating them and happiness in the moment.
This season, much of the characters have changed from last year’s Carolina win. Gone are Giovanni Bernard and the head coach and quarterback of State. But the plot and the suspense remains the same- each team wants to beat each other really bad.
I always look forward to this game every year. NC State is UNC’s football rival, I like to think, and Duke is our basketball rival, because, quite frankly, Duke has been terrible at football the last decade or so. Beating State in football gives us the same satisfaction that beating Duke in basketball does.
I don’t know how tomorrow is going to go for the Heels- I just can’t get a read on this year’s UNC team. We don’t show up against ECU, but look a lot better against Miami and Boston College at home. But one thing I do know is that the game will be close, and I hope that it will be as memorable as last year was in a good way for Heel’s fans.
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