At 1-3 overall and 1-1 in the ACC, the Tar Heels showed they learned something in battles against top-five foes Oklahoma and Texas earlier in the season and should now have the necessary confidence to have a successful season and possibly get to a bowl game.
Here is what some of the Heels and coach John Bunting had to say after Saturday's victory.
Senior quarterback Ronald Curry
On the team's effort
"We came out and left it out on the field. It's a great feeling. It feels better once you see after the game the way the crowd was chanting and coming onto the field makes it that much more special."
On their growing confidence throughout the game
"I thought we pretty much had the game in control. Once we got to 20 points – to give our defense something to work with. Our defense was tough to score on. I knew they weren't going to give up two scores, maybe one, but I pretty much knew the game was under control when we got 20."
Was this his greatest moment at UNC?
"Of course. You grow up and you're a Florida State fan. You watch Florida State – that's the most publicized team in the nation. And just to play against them and beat them after losing for three years – getting blown out for three years – and returning the favor my senior year is a great feeling."
On red shirt freshman QB Darian Durant's success
"I don't have anything against him (Durant). If I have any animosity, it would be toward the coaches and I don't have any animosity toward them. I understand I haven't played well and he comes in and he has played well. Maybe he's the best that day. I feel like I can play better than I have been playing. Like I said, I don't have anything against him, I wanna be friends with him. We are the quarterbacks at Carolina. I wish him well. I don't wish he goes in the game and mess up so I can get in. I'm more of a team player. I'd like to be in the game making that plays that he's making. But I want him to do well no matter what."
On what he has learned about himself through the adversity of the first three-plus seasons at Carolina
"My childhood and things I have been through through my life have prepared me for any obstacles I go against. This is nothing."
On getting a win
"It feels good to get a win and to play better than what I've been playing. It feels great."
On a sleeping possibly having awakened
"We had chapel this morning and they talked about David and Goliath and I'm grateful this moment for a story like that."
Freshman quarterback Darian Durant
On getting in the game early
"It was exciting for me. It is good to know that coach has confidence in me to get me out there early. It was a big compliment to me."
On the two QB system
"It worked out pretty well. I had no idea that it would work out like that but hey, that's why he's the coach."
About never having punted in a game situation before
"No. I don't know what to say about that. I don't want to put the blame on my ankle but my ankle was kind of sore."
Wide receiver Kory Bailey
On being so open on the TD pass from Curry
"I was thinking ‘catch it'. That's all you gotta do. My first reaction was to turn around and see if we had any penalties. But, it worked out great for us and I was surprised I was that open."
On why the defender wasn't there
"I think he thought that Ronald was scrambling and he wanted to come up and make a play. When I looked back I really didn't see anyone and then I just saw the ball go up in the air and I waited to make a play on it."
On winning a game like this after three difficult years and three losses this season
"It feels great. I've been here since 1997 and we've never beaten Florida State. I think we tied them once maybe (in 1986). Only two other teams in the ACC have and if not anything else it's an indicator that the ACC is on the way up and we've got good teams."
On the rotation of QB's
"I think it worked pretty well for us. When they got in the game, they were able to do their jobs well. Everything just seemed to work for us today and it was a good feeling on the field."
On the crowd reacting positively to Durant
"They've seen what has been able to do. After the game I told him our first three games were on television so our fans know what Darian's capable of doing and they have responded to him well and they responded to Ronald well too."
The importance of Curry playing well after Durant was hurt on the botched punt attempt
"(It was) real important. It did a world of good for our confidence on offense. He really got in his comfort zone late in the game. He was checking things off, calling some audibles and it worked great for us."
On whether Curry was any different in the huddle late in Saturday's game as opposed to the first three games
"He was a lot more relaxed. I think being at home, having a lead and not having so much pressure on us I think put him in a comfort zone and he was able to go out there and lead us right down the field."
Was Curry pressing too much before?
"I don't think…, maybe he was trying to do too at times or he was getting things mixed up but today he was all in his comfort zone."
Linebacker David Thornton
"On defense we felt like we could dominate their offense from the first play of the game. We had studied them. We had seen their offense on film and they weren't too complicated. We have the speed and talent up front and in the secondary to go out and be aggressive and attack their offense the whole game. Everyone was just flying to the ball wanting to make a play."
Defensive tackle Ryan Sims
"I think we played great. Our whole emphasis today was to play our best game that we have this year. I think that's what we went out and did today."
On pressuring the QB
"If you look at the last three games, we've always been doing that. That's the one thing we practice every day is getting back there to the quarterback. So we had to make him think quick."
On the offense moving the ball more than the first three games
"Having the offense making key drives and giving us a break and keep us fresh. That was part of winning the game."
On the students trying to tear down the goal posts
"I mean it was crazy. That's what we wanted. That's why we play football to get out crowd ecstatic like that."
Defensive end Julius Peppers
"It's great for us. We worked hard for it. A lot of people didn't expect this from it, a lot of people didn't think we were able to pull it off. We believe in ourselves as a team. In the locker room before the game we all thought we were going to win the gam. That's what we came out and did. We just stayed behind each other and trusted each other."
On the magnitude of the win
"This is one of the biggest wins in the history of the program, if not the biggest. It's great for me to be a part of something like this."
On the defense's play this year
"We've played well on defense the whole season. As a team, I think we finally put it together – offense and defense and special teams all together at one time. Today it all came together for us."
Tailback Jacque Lewis
On taking off the red shirt and getting a chance to play as a true freshman
"I want to thank God, it felt so good to be out there on the field. I've been practicing so hard to get up there and I got my chance and tried to make the best of it."
On considering waiting until next year to play after the 0-3 start
"My goal was to get in as soon as I could. I didn't want to red shirt, I wanted to play as soon as I could. I got my chance and I am satisfied."
What was the difference considering the 0-3 start and the level of opponent on Saturday
"We just got fired up. We were tired of losing so we just stepped it up and we wanted to get our first win and what a better chance than to get it against Florida State."
Head coach John Bunting
"I want to thank our fans. They were tremendous. I can't tell them how much I appreciate their help in winning this ballgame, starting from the Old Well walk to the field, and then until we took the field, they got our players pumped."
"I told them after the game I was really thrilled for the seniors, because they get to leave here saying they beat Florida State, which only two other ACC teams have ever done. I asked them to also enjoy this victory as much as they could, but to be the classy guys that they are, take care of business tonight, and don't get too excited. I told them, we have another huge game next week. Let's go out and practice and prepare like we did this week."
Andrew Jones is in his sixth year covering football and basketball for Inside Carolina. He also in his fourth year as a copy editor and staff writer for the Wilmington Star-News and hosts a nightly radio show on WAAV-AM980 in Wilmington. He has also written for ACCNews and once published The College Game and the former Total Sports. He can be reached via e-mail at: AJWAAV@aol.com.