After sputtering away the first three and a half quarters of this ballgame, North Carolina is going to prevail. Bruce Carter just ended any of Connecticut's hopes at a late game comeback, and UCONN LT Dan Ryan is officially the scapegoat for the Huskies collapse. He was the player who was called for holding in the UCONN endzone, giving UNC the game-winning two points in the process.
North Carolina's a team that's been given the benefit of the doubt by voters across the country--Butch Davis is in his third year, they've got a lot of talent returning on both sides of the ball--but have never really proven themselves as legitimate contenders. To do that, they'll have to win the throwaway games like today's, where they are supposed to win.
So with today as a barometer, what have we learned? The Tar Heels have a long way to go. They won, yes, but it took them almost the entire game to really get going, and they took the lead on a fluky late-game penalty. Will they contend for the ACC title? They may yet, but make no mistake: today, they got lucky.
ALSO: Northwestern just took won their game against Eastern Michigan 27-24. Yay Big Ten!