From the outside looking in, North Carolina hadn't played like a 2-5 team this season. And from the inside looking out, the Tar Heels certainly didn't act or think like a 2-5 team. Yet, that's where they were entering Saturday's date with N.C. State.
"This always has been and always will be a Tar Heel state," Larry Fedora reminded his team before the game. "Make no bones about that." North Carolina beat N.C. State in Fedora's first season on an all-too-rare game-winning punt return touchdown for a 43-35 victory.
This season's win was less dramatic. N.C. State jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but North Carolina claimed a 14-10 edge after one and a 21-16 lead at the half en route to a 27-19 victory. It was the Heels' first win in Raleigh since 2005.
In the aftermath, Tar Heels players splashed Larry Fedora with a belated Gatorade bath. It was so late, in fact, that the purple stuff nearly landed on N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren.
After a 1-5 start, North Carolina is now 3-5 with Virginia, Pittsburgh, Old Dominion and Duke left on the schedule. 1-5 to 7-5 isn't out of the realm of possibility.