Rivalry recap: Top Three UNC Wins
We're starting today with the same ground rules as yesterday: these are the top three wins in the Carolina-State series, but only the games I've seen in person (which means since 1986) are included. This story was a lot more fun to write than yesterday. Plus, it distracted me from the fact that I'm going with Woody Durham to speak at the Raleigh Sports Club today, which I expect to be a challenging experience. In August it seemed like a great idea to go to Raleigh during the week of the Carolina-State game. Today? I think I'd rather watch a highlight reel of Austin Rivers and Conner Vernon.
3. Sept. 25, 1993: Carolina 35, NC State 14. This is what five years of frustration looks like. State had won the series--sometimes in blowouts, sometimes in last-second fashion--every season since 1988. It was clear Mack Brown had turned around the UNC program, but he still hadn't beaten the Wolfpack. The Tar Heels even survived having starting quarterback Mike Thomas knocked out on the first series, as Jason Stanicek stepped in and overcome an injured shoulder to lead Carolina to the win. Very few people remember that Curtis Johnson rushed for 153 yards on 18 carries. Many more recall that there was a near-brawl, including a helmet-swinging altercation, at the end of the first half.
Then, after the game, in perhaps the most memorable on-field handshake of all time, UNC assistant Donnie Thompson body-slammed State assistant Ted Cain. Naturally, this is bad sportsmanship and no one condones it. But to a 16-year-old going crazy in the stands at Carter-Finley Stadium, this was pretty close to the coolest thing ever.