The game was Spain's second in Kenan Stadium. The 6-foot-5, 274-pound offensive tackle from Charlotte (N.C.) Providence previously attended the UNC-Miami game last season.
However it was Spain's first live exposure to UNC's newly installed up-tempo, spread offense.
"Obviously, the speed at which the offense wants to run plays is vastly different," Spain said. "A lot of NFL teams are starting to go to a no-huddle, so obviously it would be good to come out of college from that type of system – not that that's guaranteed to anybody. The offense is very similar to the one I run in high school."
Besides the outcome, another major difference between Saturday's contest and last season's that caught Spain's eye was the improvement to UNC's game day atmosphere. A couple examples include the players jumping into the student section following pregame warm-ups and fireworks after every UNC score.
"I think that's a great thing to do from a coaching and playing standpoint, for sure, and it keeps the spirit alive around campus," Spain said. "It definitely did stand out to me. They definitely hadn't done that before. It creates a more fun playing atmosphere, which is a good thing, which I obviously like."
Upon his arrival on campus, Spain was immediately greeted by UNC coaches. He spent the most time with Gunter Brewer, his area recruiter, and Chris Kapilovic, UNC's offensive line coach.
"Partially, it was just small talk and just building our relationships," Spain said. "But we talked about the game a little bit and their game plan."
Additionally, Spain met with Larry Fedora in his office a couple of hours before kickoff.
"We talked about how I'm being a leader for my team right now, since I'm not playing," Spain said. "He just wanted me to keep coming back and keep building relationships with them."
Saturday's game was the first college game Spain has attended this season. He'll travel to Columbia this Saturday for his second – South Carolina vs. Georgia. Beyond that, he's setting his visit schedule week-to-week.
Spain, whose scholarship offer count is quickly approaching 20, has yet to establish a list of favorite schools.
"I'm still pretty wide open, but the places that I've been I obviously like," Spain said. "I want to start narrowing it down in the next couple of months and name a couple leaders in the next couple of months. But I want to really experience a lot of games and talk to a lot of coaches some more before I start doing that."
Spain's goal is to have a firm list of five final schools by January or February. To help him get to that point, he'll release a top ten a month or two before then.
"Probably the most important thing is the life without football," Spain said. "Would I go there if I were to get injured and couldn't play. And also I have to enjoy the other side outside of football.
"Also, the relationships with the coaches [is important]. Obviously they could change, but I have to like the coaches that are currently there.
"Close to home is obviously a good thing, but I'm not going to not go somewhere just because it's a little bit far. I'd say also my relationship with the players is important, because that's who I'm going to be spending time with."
Speaking of life without football, Spain is receiving a taste of just what that is like this fall since he sustained an injury in his season opener.
"I hyperextended my knee and the problem was my femur fractured the top of my tibia three millimeters," Spain said. "So that's why I can't do any forcible extension yet, even though I'm walking around. I can't run or jump or anything."
Although he's ahead of schedule, Spain won't be cleared for football activity until sometime in November. With Providence's regular season finale on Oct. 26, he'll likely miss the remainder of this season, unless the team makes a deep playoff run.
"It's been tough," Spain said. "Obviously, I want to be out there with the guys – especially the O-line, because we're such a tight group. And I feel bad seeing them play their hearts out and I can't be a part of it.
"But it's been good in some ways, because I can be there for my team and try to help everybody in other ways. And [my doctors] say [the bones] will actually be stronger than before."