Riley Takes In Season Opener

North Carolina verbal commitment Travis Riley was among the 68,919 that filled the Georgia Dome to watch the Tar Heels play LSU on Saturday.

"It was cool," the 5-foot-11, 208-pounder from Kannapolis (N.C.) Brown said. "The atmosphere was real good, there were a lot of fans there, and it was a good game. There was probably an even amount of fans there between LSU and Carolina. The [UNC] fans came out and supported the team – even when we were down."

In the contest, UNC, which sat 13 players due to the NCAA investigation, nearly rallied from a 20-point halftime deficit before losing 30-24 in the final seconds.

"Under the circumstances we were under, we played great," Riley said. "The defense stepped up, T.J. Yates made some good throws, and [Jheranie] Boyd had a great night. I feel like we played good."

As a running back, Riley, who sat 15-20 rows up, focused more on that position throughout the game.

"I like to watch [the game] as a fan," Riley said. "But it's hard not to pay attention to the running backs – see how they're doing [and] how they're playing.

"I felt [the running backs] did well. [LSU] was stopping the run pretty well for a little bit, but we opened it up in the third quarter – [Anthony] Elzy had some runs.

"[The offense] fits [me] real well, because it's a lot of I-formation and a lot of running the ball. That's kind of what I'm used to."

Unlike a UNC home game, Riley didn't receive a chance to speak to any of the Tar Heels' coaches or players before or after the game.

"I was just a fan," Riley said.

On Thursday night, Riley spoke to Ken Browning, UNC's running backs coach.

"He was just telling me everything is going to be all right as far as the NCAA [investigation] they have going on," Riley said. "Then he just asked me about my knee and how school was going."

In his season opener, Riley tore the PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) and MCL (medial collateral ligament), and fractured the tibia in his right leg. He had a CT scan on it last week.

"They said it looked better than they would have expected for the type of injury I had," Riley said. "I don't have to have surgery."

Riley's injury is expected to take 6-12 weeks to heal.

Riley remains optimistic that he'll play later this season. Brown's final game is Nov. 5, which is ten weeks after he suffered the injury.

"We'll have to see how I'll do and we'll take it from there," Riley said.

Once he is off crutches in four weeks, Riley will begin a rehab program. He'll be working with his school's trainer, as well as a personal trainer a couple of days a week, to get the speed and strength back in his leg.

Once healed, the injury isn't expected to cause any future problems for Riley, who sprained the MCL in the same knee ten games into his junior season.

"I think it's just a coincidence it happened [to the same knee]," Riley said.

Riley will graduate from Brown in December and then plans to enroll at UNC for the spring semester.

"I just have to finish these two classes – [english and math] – and I'll be ready to roll," Riley said.

Since he's graduating early, Riley will likely take his UNC official visit during the football season. He's eyeing the weekends UNC hosts Clemson and Virginia Tech.

"I feel like both of them will be pretty good games," Riley said.

Regardless, Riley plans to be in Kenan Stadium for all of UNC's home games this fall.

"I live an hour and 45 minutes away, so I'm going to try to make it to all of them," Riley said.

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