UNC-Duke: John Bunting Quotes + Audio

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina coach John Bunting addressed the media following the Tar Heels' 24-21 win over Duke on Saturday from Kenan Stadium…

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LISTEN (10:06)

Opening remarks:
"That's what I'd probably call your typical Duke-North Carolina game. I've had five of them now and a couple of them have come down to the wire. I'm not surprised by that. We had better stats, but that doesn't mean anything in this game. You've got to put people away, you can't let people hang around. But I'm going to give Duke a lot of credit. They played with a tremendous amount of emotion. They played with a tremendous amount of emotion to start that football game. A lot of it seemed to go against us, in terms of penalties and ejections. To our players' credit, they continued to battle, they never gave into it, they continued to battle. It was looking tough, it was looking bleak, but a lot kids stepped up and made some plays. They worked together very well on that last drive and came up with the plays to win the football game.

"The defense was playing quite well in the first half. I don't think I've ever been around a game where we had two interceptions on the one and we had to fight our way out of that. And then we had a goal-line stand that ends on the one and we had to fight our way out of that. Overall, I'm really proud of the way the kids responded. We were able to finish the game. That's probably the best thing about it. Our seniors get to leave their last home game with a win over arch-rival Duke."

On Ronnie McGill's fourth down run and the spot of the ball:
"You never know exactly because of those stakes (chains) when they are lined up across the way. And they were on the far sideline. It's a guessing match. We made it by that much. Last week, we lost a tough game by that much. That was Jesse Holley's lament last week, going into (the locker room vs. Maryland): ‘It's a game of inches'. We got an inch today and we were able to capitalize on it and punch it in."

On Balmer's ejection and having so few defensive linemen available:
"The guys that started and finished, we owe them an awful lot of credit. We were hurting on the front going into the game. We weren't sure if Shelton Bynum would play at all. He played some. We went in with a defensive end situation that was really difficult. No Hilee Taylor (foot), no Brian Rackley (concussion). Two of the four defensive ends that we've been playing this year are gone. Melik Brown comes back and gives us some significant snaps. With Kentwan gone, you're dealing with a situation where we don't have anyone else to go to. We couldn't move Chase Page out there, because of the situation with Shelton. I'm going to give those kids a heck of a lot of credit. Chase goes down and comes back to play. Tommy Davis goes down and comes back to play. Those kids really, really toughed it out. If there are any guys who deserve some credit for courageous play, it's that defensive front today."

On Wallace Wright and his injury:
"I don't think I've ever seen a guy as upset as he was over there on that far sideline. He knew that his career as a Tar Heel was over. He had tears of disbelief and disappointment not being able to play anymore as a Tar Heel. He's had a great season for us. He's done everything we've asked him to do. He earned a scholarship here after walking on the football program. Sorry to see it end that way."

On running the ball
"We never stopped trying to run the ball. We probably should have tried to keep throwing it some more. They were bringing the house to try to stop the run. They were taking a lot of chances and we need to make plays when they take those types of risks. That's probably the most disappointing thing about the game. We had a couple of dropped balls and we had a couple of times where we didn't make the connection between the quarterback and receiver. When we have pressure like that, we should be able to block it up and make the connection."

On the 1-game season remaining:
"We have one game left and we can play some more if we go up to Blacksburg and win. I didn't want it to come down to this, but that's the way it is."

On the personal fouls:
"I certainly talked about it at halftime. I was really disappointed in losing our poise and not being disciplined. Those things will be addressed again when we get back on Monday. There is no reason for that. You're never going to be able to respond in a way after a play in an illegal way to make it right. You can make it right on the next play on a legal play."

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