Bunting, Peppers Semifinalists for Awards

Bunting a candidate for Coach of the Year; Peppers a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.--University of North Carolina football coach John Bunting has been named one of 10 semifinalists for Football News' 2001 Coach of the Year Award, the publication announced today. In addition, Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers has been named one of 15 semifinalists for Football News' 2001 Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Bunting and the Tar Heels began the season 0-3, but then won five consecutive games, including a 41-9 victory over then-No. 6 Florida State and a 38-3 victory at Clemson. The FSU victory was Bunting's first and it was UNC's first ever win over the Seminoles. Carolina needs to win two of its remaining three games to become bowl eligible.

Peppers, a junior from Bailey, N.C., has 47 tackles and leads the team with 8.5 sacks and 17 tackles for losses. He has 51 career tackles for losses and 29.5 career sacks. He is just three sacks shy of Greg Ellis's school record of 32.5. Peppers, who has been mentioned as a candidate for the Lombardi Award (best lineman), Bronko Nagurski Award (best overall defensive player) and Heisman Trophy (best overall player), has more sacks in a two-year period (23.5) than any other player in school history.

Peppers leads a Carolina defense that ranks 20th in the nation in yards allowed.

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