Being A Tar Heel Football Fan Is A Maddening Excursion


Being a Tar Heel football fan is a maddening excursion. Pulling for Dook is something that truly takes faith, those who actually pull for the Dookies on the gridiron I respect.

No matter though how bad Carolina football has been on the field, at least one constant remains, and the ability to take care of business against the arch-rival eight miles down the road. And most of the time the wins are of great personal satisfaction in that Dook is given the impression it is their day, then in the end KAPOW destroyed again their hopes dashed on the rocks of sort of act of Tar Heel bravado as the Blue Devils are left to reflect upon triumphs of antiquity. So this game doesn’t amount to more than a hill of beans in a battle for nothing more than pride and a little old bell. But it’s our hill of beans, our little bell, and by George it has been a pretty entertaining little endeavor over the years.

Those days of Yore: Page 2, year by year history of UNC vs. Duke you don’t want to miss

1935: Perhaps the closest Carolina has ever come to national relevance is this famed in its time ‘team of a thousand backs’. Carl Snavely in the 2nd of his two campaigns his first run in Chapel Hill put together a squad that was on the verge of garnering a Rose Bowl birth, Problem is the Heels ran into a buzz saw as Duke, led by future NFL and Major Leaguer (and future Durham Bulls manager) Ace Parker who led the Devils to a 25-0 whitewashing.

1949: The immortal era of Choo-Choo Justice was highlighted by four straight wins over the Dookies. None of which were more dramatic than this contest where in a contested finish Duke was given a few seconds at the end of the game to try a field goal to win the contest which was blocked by Art Weiner.

1963: In a game rescheduled for Thanksgiving Day due to the assassination of JFK the Heels won 16-14 on a last second 42yd field goal by Max Chapman, clearing the crossbar by inches. Propelled by this triumph into the Gator Bowl the Heels a month later would win Carolina’s first ever bowl game by smashing Air Force 35-0. The Heels had voted earlier in the week to accept the Gator Bowl bid if offered, the lone dissenter, Max Chapman, who wanted to get home for the holidays to see his girlfriend.

1969:  Duke color man Wes Chandler assured himself of never having to pay for dinner in Durham ever again by being on the receiving end of a 53yd pass from Marcell Courtillet on a ‘shoestring’ play giving Duke a 17-13 win.

1970: Don McCauley scores five times and runs for 279yds, eclipsing O.J. Simpson’s then single season rushing record as the Heels hammered the Dookies 59-34 signaling a shift in the tide of the series that hasn’t abated in the forty one years since.

1976: Carolina claims a wild 39-38 victory as Mike Voight scores the winning TD and two-point conversion in the final seconds.

1978: My first ever Duke game, but I never got to see the end of it. My father pulled us out late in the 4th win the Blue Devils leading 15-3 missing one of the all time Tar Heel comebacks as ‘Famous’ Amos Lawrence scored on a gutsy all or nothing draw play to lift the Heels to a 16-15 win.

1979: Ok not a classic memory, except for me, my first ever game in enemy territory. This was back when Duke still had something of a support base and it was not nearly so much the Heel love-in that trips to the Wally have become. At the half with the Heels winning 21-3 and no halftime entertainment I literally stole the show by jumping out of the stands and going over to the Duke mascot and taunting him with my mesh Tar Heel cap. In typical Dookie fashion this carpet bagging kid rips the lid from my dome and proceeding to lead me on a chase to retrieve it, eliciting a roar from the student section that outdid their response for anything the Blue Devils did on the field. The Heels went on to win that day 37-16 clinching a Gator Bowl berth opposite Michigan, the first of four straight bowl wins for the Crum era.

1980: Carolina clinches their most recent ACC title by whipping the Devils 44-21 as both Amos Lawrence and Kelvin Bryant crossed the 1,000yd plateau for the season in the contest, both in dramatic fashion. Lawrence on a 56yd streak down the sidelines on Carolina’s first possession, Bryant with a long burst late in the 4th on the drive for the games coup de grace.

1982: Duke plays a nearly flawless game to upset the Heels 23-17. A day made a little worse for Carolina fans as the basketball Heels also opened up defense of their 1982 title with a loss in the Hall of Fame game to St. John’s. After the game it was announced that Duke coach Shirley ‘Red’ Wilson was being reassigned to a position as Director of Human Relations for Duke Medical Center in a gig set up for him by then Duke president (and former governor and future senator) Terry Sanford ‘you’ve coached long enough, I want to give you a great job’. Shirley you can’t be serious, I am serious and don’t call me Shirley.

1985: In a classic Heel meltdown Carolina blows a 21-3 lead as Duke hands the Heels a 23-21 defeat. The Heels were still winning 21-10 with just over two minutes to play when Duke scores to make it 21-16, but the Heels recover the ensuing onsides kick. Just pick up a first down and it’s over, but William Humes coughs it up fighting for extra yardage. Doug Greene comes up with a big reception, fumbles it and some other guy trailing the play picks it up and runs it down close and Duke scores a couple of plays later to complete the comeback.

1986: Heels win 42-35 on a late Mark Maye touchdown bomb.

1989: Steve Spurrier ensures the everlasting angst of Carolina fan after his squad’s 41-0 demolition of the Heels to clinch the 2nd of Mack’s 1-10 campaigns. Running reverses and posing for photos in front of the scoreboard afterwards only added a little more fuel to the fire.

1990: Natrone Means scores on a 76yd run on the opening play giving the Heels momentum they would never really relinquish all afternoon in a 24-22 win.

1992: Heels score late, short Stanacek TD pass if memory serves correctly in a 28-24 Heels triumph.

1994: Octavius Barnes tight roping down the sidelines with Mike Thomas’s pass. A late turnover, which was replayed for years during the Bunting era and taking a late safety are the overriding memories of this 41-40 win which I have run across on Fox Sports south in a condensed form.

1997: Heels roll 50-14 to complete a 10-1 regular season. But Mack is ticked afterwards that five thousand people found something else better to do that day hastening Mack’s departure to Texas.

2002: Dan Orner somehow makes a 47yd kick as time expires to give the Heels a 23-21 win.

2003: Duke wins 30-22 in perhaps the lowest moment of modern Tar Heel football

2004: The Heels hammer the Dookies 40-17 and Carolina players immediately spray paint the bell to its proper color.

2006: Heels send Bunting out a winner 45-44 by teasing the winless Blue Devils as the Heels handed Duke the opportunity to send the game to overtime, then took it away by blocking the extra point.

2008: Hakeem Nicks insane catch highlights a 28-20 win.

2011: If the Heels are emotionally ready for this one, things should be fine. Carolina has more talent period. But where this teams head is at right now is anybody’s guess. One can only hope they will be ready to play. I have a feeling though this will be one of those donnybrooks not determined until the final seconds. Duke getting double digits here will be like stealing. But in the end the talent will play out, somehow someway it always does. Carolina 37 Duke 34

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