CHAPEL HILL, NC – Tar Heel head footbal coach John Bunting shared his thoughts on the game -- and other tidbits -- after reviewing the offensive and defensive tape from UNC's 38-35 victory over the ASU Sun Devils in Tempe, Arizona.
He feels that Darian Durant played tough against ASU, and awarded him the "Chip Award" (Player who "plays with a chip on his shoulder") for his heady plays and 417 yards passing, along with awarding Chesley Borders the "Game Rock" for his nine receptions, 192 yards, and four touchdowns. "It's nice to be adding another name to that boulder."
"The defense struggled" in giving up 657 yards of total offense to ASU, the most ever in UNC history, but gives some credit to the Sun Devils' offense -- doesn't feel like the defense got better, as it did in the loss to Gerogia Tech.
The Sun Devils' best corner covered Sam Aiken, giving Chesley Borders a mismatch at his position in one-on-one coverage; thus allowing such a great offensive outburst from the Shelby native.
It's frustrating for Bunting and the defensive staff to stand on the sideline and watch an offensive shootout.
Penalties -- false starts, in particular -- were due to crowd noise. The staff decided that it would not be a problem beforehand, but it turned out to be -- "It hurt us. No doubt, it hurt us." In the future, there will be at least one day of practicing with crowd noise before going on the road.
On defense, the task of stopping NC State could be similar to that of stopping ASU. There is talent at the quarterback and wide receiver positions.
Wallace Wright has improved at carrying the football an area where there were concerns in the past and he hit the hole hard on kick-off returns against ASU "the best it's been done since I've been here."
Topher Roberts stepped up his performance on kick-offs against ASU after the coaches decided to have him and Danny Orner to compete in practice the week prior to the game.
Reiterated the thoughts that he shared prior to the season that this campaign could be one of the most challenging of his life and feels that is playing out just as he felt it would.
The early arrival helped the team to adjust to the time difference and the climate, but it may have helped the most by allowing the team to bond -- "They want to come together, they want to play for one another, they want to sell out for one another. That's important."
At halftime of the game in Tempe, Coach Tranquill challenged the offense to play their game for the big-time players to step up, for the playmakers to take charge and make plays. "For being a small man, he has a lion's heart, and he laid it on the line. As I was walking out with Coach Hunter Tranq had already left for the box I said to Hal 'Traq was pretty excited in there, wasn't he?' and Coach Hunter said, 'Yes, and rightfully so. It was great!'"
Said that he and this team needs the support of the UNC fans. "We won't be able to beat NC State unless our fans are out there. And I'm hoping that they'll be out there wearing blue. We'll have to play a fine football game to beat NC State, but we won't be able to do it without the fans. I'm hoping that they'll be there to support us.
"That's part of the culture change that we are trying to achive that we are working on, on a weekly basis, in season and out of season. We are relentless with what we are trying to do with our football team, and we are relentless in what we are trying to do with our football fans. We have great fans, and I expect their support."