Weekend Wrap: September 17
Football: If you’re a Carolina football fan, you’ve seen a little bit of everything since Mack Brown left for Texas. But you should never say, “Now I’ve seen it all.” Because that’s about the time a game like Saturday happens. Louisville walloped the Tar Heels in the first half, which felt familiar. But then, improbably, Carolina mounted a furious second-half rally. As a UNC fan, the most striking thing about my emotions during the comeback were how different they were from when the basketball team is making a similar rally. That was part of my three takes I posted right after the game (there’s some good discussion in the comments there, including quotes from Louisville coach Charlie Strong that help explain Carolina’s play call on the final fourth down). Turner filed his postgame story for GoHeels and also followed up with his Sunday storylines yesterday.
Field hockey: The top-ranked Tar Heels rolled on, beating sixth-ranked Old Dominion 3-2 on Friday and getting an ACC-opening 2-1 win over 13th ranked Wake Forest on Sunday.
Men’s soccer: Top-ranked Carolina played to a 0-0 tie with 15th ranked Wake Forest in Chapel Hill on Friday night.
Women’s soccer: Carolina is now winless in its first two ACC matches. The Tar Heels lost at Maryland on Thursday night, then tied 5th-ranked Virginia in Charlottesville on Sunday afternoon while playing without three injured defensive starters. Kealia Ohai, just back from the U20 national team, scored both goals against the Cavaliers…but leading scorer Summer Green is now playing with the U17 national team. You’d have to think this is one of Anson Dorrance’s most challenging coaching jobs. It’s hard to build chemistry when key players are constantly coming and going. But you also want them to have that valuable international experience.
Volleyball: Carolina dropped its ACC opener on Friday night in Raleigh, losing 3-1 to NC State. The Tar Heels came back to outlast Ohio in five sets on Saturday.
Cross country: The men’s and women’s teams each finished second at the adidas Invitational in Raleigh on Friday.
Men’s golf: Carolina hosted the Tar Heel Intercollegiate and finished second in a 13-team field.
It was a big Sunday in the NFL for Carolina football alums. Brandon Tate, Hakeem Nicks and Greg Little each caught a touchdown pass for their respective teams. That prompted a bit of reminiscing from T.J. Yates, who no doubt remembers how fun it was to throw to such talent.
Hakeem Nicks was perhaps the most spectacular player in the NFL on Sunday, hauling in 10 catches for 199 yards and a score for the Giants. Oh, and he did it all on an injured foot. “Getting single coverage doesn’t happen that often for me,” he said. Just a guess, but it’s probably not going to happen again anytime soon.
In addition to Nicks, more stats for the rest of the Tar Heels in the NFL on Sunday:
Shaun Draughn had five carries for 56 yards for the Chiefs and also caught a 23-yard pass.
Zach Brown had 10 tackles and a sack for the Titans.
Bruce Carter had 10 tackles, one for loss, for the Cowboys.
Greg Little caught five passes for 57 yards and a touchdown for the Browns.
Brandon Tate caught three passes for 71 yards and a touchdown, plus averaged 24 yards on his three kickoff returns for the Bengals.
Connor Barth made both of his field goals, including a 52-yarder, and all four of his extra points for the Buccaneers.
Robert Quinn had three tackles and a sack for the Rams.
Johnny White had five carries for 11 yards for the Bills.
Gerald Sensabaugh added two tackles for the Cowboys.
One other Tar Heel pro had a notable weekend, but he did it with a bat. Alex White had a three-run homer against the Padres, and it was the second straight start for the pitcher that he’s homered. He’s the first major league hurler to go yard in back-to-back starts since Josh Johnson in 2010.
There was also some truly awful Diamond Heel-related news. Kay Stallings, the fan who was hit by a laser of a foul ball at the NCAA regional at Boshamer Stadium in June, died this week. Mike Fox had visited him in the hospital when the accident first happened, and said Mr. Stallings was in remarkably good spirits considering what happened to him. The thoughts of everyone in Chapel Hill are with the Stallings family.
Best story I read this weekend: When I was a senior in high school, our fantastic English teacher, Sandra Umstead, assigned a term paper with a unique twist—we could write on any subject we wanted. I wrote about the Jeffrey MacDonald case, the infamous 1970 Fayetteville murder case in which Dr. MacDonald was accused of killing his wife and two daughters. MacDonald steadfastly maintained his innocence, including in a phone conversation with me while I was writing the paper (getting a phone call from a man in prison for triple murder was a little unusual in our house). Now, over 40 years after the crime, and over 30 years after he was convicted, he’s about to get a new hearing.
Did he do it? I don’t know. But I know that everyone who has been involved in the case for a long time is absolutely convinced their version of the facts is true. That includes long-time columnist Dennis Rogers, one of my interview subjects for my high school term paper, who came out of retirement to write about the case again on Sunday.
And a bonus read: no matter what your politics, Michael Lewis's story on Barack Obama is a must-read, if for no other reason than the extraordinary access he had to the office of the President of the United States.
Three Tar Heel storylines to watch this week:
1. There are varying opinions on the East Carolina football series. It’s indisputable, though, that it doesn’t feel quite as special to play them anymore. When the series first resumed, it felt like a big deal and tickets were hard to find. Now, it’s more like another nonconference game on the schedule. But it’s also a nonconference game the Tar Heels need to win.
2. You probably know that the Washington Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg last week. You might not know that the Mets are doing the same thing to Tar Heel alum Matt Harvey. His last 2012 start will be tomorrow night against Philadelphia. Since being called up in late summer, Harvey has been very impressive for the Mets.
3. Hakeem Nicks comes home Thursday. Coming off his fantastic 199-yard performance, Nicks and the Giants have a short turnaround before coming to Nicks’s hometown, Charlotte, to face the Panthers on Thursday night. I'm just going to be honest about this: even though some of Nicks's records have been vacated, I don't feel anywhere close to the same way about him as I do about, for example, Marvin Austin. What about you? Do the NCAA troubles change the way you view Nicks?