Going into this one down a total of 13 players due to alleged communication with agents and “tutor abuse”, the UNC football team has faced severe controversy over the past couple of months. And the likelihood of the Tar Heels pulling off a win against the LSU Tigers was slim to none. But no one obviously consulted with Tar Heels quarterback T.J. Yates about that as he put on a magnificent performance down in Atlanta, Georgia.
Yates threw for a total of 412 yards, completing three touchdown passes in this Georgia Dome thriller, a career high for him. LSU’s Patrick Peterson led the Tigers, running a total of 257 yards, which included an 85-yard touchdown. Thank God for Peterson as he was the glue that held the LSU offense together. As for the Heels as a whole, they did indeed come out ready to fight. They were able to get on the scoreboard early on with a touchdown and a field goal, even taking over the lead momentarily. But their run would shortly be stifled by the brutal LSU defense. Within minutes, the Tigers appeared to be well on their way to a blowout victory. But the Heels gave Tar Heel Nation something to cheer about as they began to close the huge gap. With seconds left on the clock, :02 to be exact, Yates threw a pass to tight end Zack Pianalto that slipped through his hands in the end zone, resulting in an LSU victory. Pass interference during the final play was questionable but was not reviewed by the referees.
No need for Butch Davis or his players to hang their heads about this one. Playing without more than a dozen members of your team would be difficult for any team to master. But they were able to do it. They showed a lot of heart and even when it appeared that the Heels were done for, they clawed back into this one, only losing by 6. LSU on the other hand, should take this win as a sign to brush up their skills, as they had trouble with a Carolina squad that was not fully loaded.