What an impressive win at Pittsburgh last night.
No one outside of the UNC fan base that is still engaged will pay much attention to Carolina’s 34-31 win, only the Tar Heels’ second of the football season.
But that victory has a lot of hidden meaning to it. Larry Fedora keeping his injury-decimated team interested enough to execute a game plan; the possibility of now avoiding a 10-loss season, and a real building block for 2018.
Playing at frigid Heinz Field against a team that still had a bowl bid in its sights and one loaded for bear against the Tar Heels whom they haven’t beaten since ACC division play started, Carolina had just about everything going against it.
But from Anthony Ratliff-Williams’ electrifying kickoff return to open the game, to big plays throwing and catching the football, to third-string quarterback Nathan Elliott playing the game of his college career, this team kept grinding and finally got rewarded.
The biggest play had to be the fumble recovery at the 1-yard line in the last minute of the first half that created a 10-point swing and gave the momentum to Carolina for the second half. From there, the Heels scored enough and its defense rose up to stop Pitt on its last two drives.
Those young players forced into action ahead of time, combined with the developing talent on this team, now has a vision for next season of where Tar Heel football can go to regain its place as an ACC contender. A win over Western Carolina should give the Heels enough momentum to make an upset at least possible in Raleigh on November 25.
Some may have thought this season was over, but the team that showed its grit to the nation on ESPN proved it wasn’t. For all those reasons, this game will be remembered more than the previous nine.