For the past five years, when it comes to football, this is OUR STATE.
For those of us who endured the 0-for-7 streak against Carolina during Mike O’Cain’s tenure 1993-99, there are few moments more satisfying than hearing the band play “Old MacDonald had a farm…” after the Carolina game (for the inexperienced among you, we only hear that after victories). The last time State lost to the Bastards Born and Bred of The Flagship, the iPhone didn’t even exist and The Carolina Way wasn’t yet revealed for the giant lie it in fact has always been.
Here’s a quick look back at the past five in the series:
November 2007: 31-27 (Raleigh)
This was the first contest between Tom O’Brien and Butch Davis. Except for the final score, this one wasn’t pretty, although it was plenty dramatic. Carolina took the lead in the fourth quarter after Daniel Evans’ second pick six, but State scored the go-ahead touchdown with under two minutes to play. However, it took a stress-inducing four-play goal line stand after Carolina drove to first-and-goal on the State seven with less than 30 seconds remaining. State broke up T.J. Yates’ fourth pass — all incompletions — in the corner of the end zone to secure the victory.
November 22, 2008: 41-10 (Chapel Hill)
State dominated every aspect of this game from beginning to end, and #25 Carolina got their first taste of an unstoppable Russell Wilson, who had nearly 330 yards passing and rushing. Early in the third quarter, once it had really gotten out of hand, the faithful still inside Kenan Stadium joined in unison to boo T.J. Yates. The win kept State’s bowl hopes alive and ended Carolina’s chances of winning the Coastal.
November 28, 2009: 28-27 (Raleigh)
#24 Carolina jumped out to a 24-14 halftime lead after scoring on a long play with under a minute left in the first half. But State controlled the second half and Carolina couldn’t find an answer for Russell Wilson, who had four TD passes in the game. State scored the go-ahead touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter and then State blocked Casey Barth’s field goal attempt with under five minutes to play, and then intercepted T.J. Yates with under 30 seconds to play to seal the victory. With only four wins, this was essentially State’s bowl game. (Beware: the video below contains sound by Pam Ward and may not be suitable for all audiences.)
November 20, 2010: 29-25 (Chapel Hill)
This was the most nerve-racking, exciting, and rewarding of the stretch. Carolina led 13-10 at the half and then 19-10 near the end of the third quarter when Russell Wilson threw the forever-infamous 2-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to Owen Spencer. Kevin Reddick was so upset that he punched Jarvis Williams in the helmet. A few plays before this touchdown, finally fed up with being dominated by the Amazing Russell Wilson, Quinton Coples unleashed an incredibly-flagrant and admittedly pre-meditated late-hit on Wilson after he was several yards out of bounds (read more here). Less than two minutes after the Hail Mary, with State trailing 19-17 at the beginning of the fourth quarter and the game still very much in doubt, T.J. Graham returned a punt 87 yards for the lead. With just over a minute remaining, Carolina scored a touchdown but State’s defense held against the two-point conversion, and then dropped T.J. Yates — who, that day, amidst a crowd of boos from the faithful, became Carolina’s all-time leading passer — for a safety and secured the victory.
November 5, 2011: 13-0 (Raleigh)
State’s defense dominated this game. The most excitement was actually generated during the week before when Everett Withers — while “The Flagship” was mired in the most appalling case of institutionalized academic fraud in the history of the NCAA — openly questioned State’s graduation rates. TOB responded with his comical “triple play” comments. Then, State’s defense produced four sacks and three interceptions and held Carolina to three yards rushing en route to the first shutout in the series in over 50 years.
October 27, 2012:??(Chapel Hill)
For the record, I never — never — think we’re going to beat Carolina. And this year, it’s justified: State has never won six straight in its history against Carolina.
Old MacDonald had a farm…