UNC Football Season in Review: N.C. State


The North Carolina Tar Heels football season kicks off on August 30th against the Liberty Flames at home in Kenan Stadium. To get you ready for the nationally ranked Tar Heel’s first game, Keeping It Heel will have an extensive football preview series previewing all of Carolina’s positions, games and reviewing 2013′s games. Check back to Keeping It Heel every afternoon for new preview posts. Today, let’s review UNC Football’s game against N.C. State.


The North Carolina Tar Heels stormed into Carter-Finley Stadium on a beautiful November afternoon to beat the N.C. State Wolfpack 27-19 in 2013. The Tar Heels got key contributions from Marquise Williams, who filled in for an injured Bryn Renner, and some younger guys. Bug Howard had a big day, T.J. Logan got a key touchdown late to seal the game, and young Brian Walker got an interception. Check out the highlights here.

The Heels improved their record at the time to 3-5 with the win, but the game was mainly important for three key reasons.

1. Rivalry game

UNC and N.C. State are bitter rivals, and the win was Coach Fedora’s second win against the Wolfpack. The first one game in 2012 with Giovanni Bernard’s unforgettable punt return touchdown to win at home, and 2013’s win came in Carter-Finley Stadium. These wins mean a lot to Tar Heel fans, and Coach Fedora now must work on his record against Duke, which is 0-2 in his two seasons in Chapel Hill.

2. Bryn Renner’s last game

Renner suffered a career ending injury against the Wolfpack and although he didn’t know it at the time, his game in Raleigh would be his last in a Tar Heel uniform. It was an anti-climatic ending to Renner’s career, which was one of the better ones in Tar Heel history but one of the least celebrated in terms of fan acknowledgement I believe.

Renner was an excellent quarterback in 2012 and was looking to have his moment or his game in 2013, where he was the hero, but it never came. Gio Bernard got his moment for Tar Heel fans in the 2012 N.C. State game, but his teammate in the backfield had his career hushed against N.C. State a year later.  He missed time with injuries, a surge of Marquise Williams supports emerged out of the woodwork, and Renner quietly exited the team before the season’s end to prepare for the NFL draft. I will always remember the 2013 UNC N.C. State game not just for the victory but as Renner’s last in Tar Heel blue.

3. Young guns emerge

This game signaled the start of a new era of Carolina football. That sounds like a big statement, but the Renner era ended with the State game and a new crop of talent, many of them Fedora’s recruits, came out and shined against the Wolfpack.

Marquise Williams had a solid game at quarterback, taking the baton from Renner. T.J. Logan scored his first touchdown in the N.C. State game. He symbolically took the baton from A.J Blue, who had five rushes in the game but just four in the final five games of the season. Bug Howard caught a team high 72 receiving yards, two more than now departed tight end Eric Ebron. Freshman Brian Walker had an interception.

Most importantly, the team continued the winning streak started in the win against Boston College that was fueled by contributions by younger players. I think the State game was a page turn for the North Carolina football program with Fedora making his mark with two wins against the Wolfpack and new heroes emerging in the place of the stars of 2012 and the first half of 2013.