With Chuck Amato’s ass sitting squarely on the hot seat for most fans, it is an interesting exercise to think back to the impact of one, unbelievable, unprecendented call just two years ago. Had NC State gotten the win it deserved in Chapel Hill two years ago, the program would have been to six consecutive bowls and never had a losing season under Amato.
Couldn’t help but link this article from John DeLong today:
Carolina won the 2004 game amid controversy. State thought it was on the cusp of winning when one referee signaled touchdown on T.A. McLendon’s run with six seconds left. Another official overruled, saying that McLendon’s knee touched down before the ball crossed the goal line. State got one last chance, but botched the final play. McLendon wound up fumbling, after being stuffed short, and Carolina held on.
State can tell itself that it was cheated out of a win because of a bad call, and maybe it was a bad call. State can continue to believe it was robbed until the day that somebody replaces Sloan in the Guinness Book of World Records. Regardless, as the drama and controversy unfolded, Bunting kept his wits while Amato didn’t. Bunting made the most of his reprieve. But instead of regrouping and scoring from the one-foot line, Amato argued and moaned and then sent in an ill-conceived play that didn’t work. Anyone think that teams are a reflection of their coaches? Anyone see the chaos on the State sidelines in that sequence?
If Bunting gets Amato’s goat one more time Saturday, however, it’ll be with both forever. And it will be Bunting’s lasting legacy. And even if State wins, Bunting will still get one last parting shot. He’ll step aside, and Amato will have to coach and recruit against his replacement. That can’t be a very comforting thought, either.