We’re hoping in the way-back machine for our latest video. This time we go back to Oct. 27 as we step inside North Carolina’s locker room to chronicle their thrilling 43-35 win over N.C. State in Chapel Hill.
Under first-year head coach Larry Fedora, the Tar Heels came in at 5-3 looking to snap a five-game losing streak to their intrastate rivals. The Wolfpack were 5-2, riding a two-game winning streak that begin with their stunning upset of Florida State.
The day begins in rousing fashion as the Tar Heels arrive to the locker room after pre-game warmups to discover new helmets. The team’s reaction to their chrome lids with an exploded Tar Heel absolutely lend credence to the “the players love them” line every coach trots out after a team reveals its latest bold uniform choice.
Fast forward to the game, North Carolina jumps out to a 25-7 first-quarter lead only to see N.C. State respond with four unanswered touchdowns to put the Tar Heels in a 10-point hole entering the fourth quarter. North Carolina tied the game on a 34-yard field goal with 1:24 to go and then star running back Giovani Bernard provided one of the rarest endings of the season by returning a punt 74 yards to put the Tar Heels on top for good with just 13 ticks left on the clock.
“Once I saw what we were returning I was like, ‘Man, let me hit this one,'” Bernard said after the game.
North Carolina finished the season at 8-4 and sitting atop the ACC Coastal Division but, due to NCAA sanctions, were barred from postseason play. Whether they knew it at the time or not, this was the high point of the Tar Heels’ 2012 campaign.
“We said one play at a time you were going to do your job and play harder than the guy across from you one play at a time, and that’s how you ate that elephant,” Fedora told his team after the win. “Seniors, that’s for you.”