The distance between Burlington and Kenan Stadium is only 31 miles, but the road proved much, much longer for wide receiver Dwight Jones. Jones will play his final football game for North Carolina on Monday, against Missouri in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. (5 p.m., ESPN2). He will end a career that started a year later than he expected it to, and that seemed certain, at one time, to be played elsewhere.
UNC's Jones set to close out career
The Winston-Salem Journal
One of the most challenging aspects of the bowl season is preparing for a completely unfamiliar opponent.
After facing mostly SEC and Big East teams in recent seasons, North Carolina (7-5) will be in for a huge change when it faces Missouri (7-5) in the Independence Bowl on Monday in Shreveport, La. (5 p.m., ESPN2).
Players on both sides of the ball say the Tigers are unlike any opponent they've seen.
Bowl Prep 101
The Durham Herald-Sun
Only twice in the past 10 years has the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl not been decided by a touchdown or less. And considering North Carolina's participation this year, don't expect things to change in the 36th edition of Shreveport's postseason game.
If the outcome is in question in the waning moments Monday, the University of North Carolina won't be shocked, or fazed.
Suspense common for Tar Heels
The Shreveport Times
Southern Mississippi's Austin Davis has simple advice for North Carolina's quarterbacks as the Tar Heels move into the Larry Fedora coaching era.
"Protect the ball - no turnovers. That's first and foremost," Davis said this week.
There's no room for turnovers in Fedora's spread offense
The Charlotte Observer
The last two years, Missouri moved on after a miserable bowl performance in Houston, followed by a collapse in the desert. Navy embarrassed the Tigers 35-13 in the 2009 Texas Bowl. Last year, Iowa returned Blaine Gabbert's untimely fourth-quarter interception for the game-winning score at the Insight Bowl.
Heading into Monday's Independence Bowl against North Carolina (7-5), Pinkel said he's still bothered by those outcomes. The Tigers had won three of four bowl games before flopping in Houston. But neither loss shook the foundation of the program. Missouri moved on.
Pinkel, Tigers bothered by recent bowl defeats
The Columbia Tribune