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The 18th Rameses, a staple to UNC football games, passed away on Thursday night, and the owners are already talking to a taxidermist about stuffing him.

Chris Hogan, a member of the family that has raised Rameses since the 1920s, said that the 18th Rameses died of natural causes. Although the Hogans haven’t stuffed any of the previous animals, they decided the 18th was especially attractive, and they would work to preserve him.

The family decapitated the animal, buried the body, and plans to preserve the head.

“We knew this was coming,” Hogan said, noting that nine years is a normal lifespan for a ram. “We were really pleased that we got through this last season with him actually.”

The decapitated body of the 18th Rameses as well as his  17 predecessors are buried in unmarked graves on the farm, Hogan said.

“That’s really all I know that we’ve ever done with them,” Hogan said.

Rameses’ head is preserved above ground so that it can be mounted, he said.

Rameses’ son will soon take on a name change and be called Rameses the 19th. He will be at the next season’s football games to rally UNC fans.

“He might be dragging me across the field, but he’ll be there,” Hogan said.

Read The Daily Tar Heel’s account of Rameses’ death, and check back for more on his legacy in March.

Missouri’s mascot Truman may have fumbled and broken the Independence Bowl trophy before the game, but that bad luck certainly didn’t plague Missouri’s football team as they hammered the Tar Heels 41 to 24 during the Independence Bowl  on Monday in Shreveport, LA.

North Carolina was the first team to put points on the board, with a early touchdown in the first quarter after a completed throw from UNC sophomore quarterback Bryn Renner to senior wide receiver Dwight Jones, who was surrounded by controversy in the last week.

Despite this early good news for the Tar Heels, Missouri quickly established a touchdown-scoring pattern in the first half where they went on a 31-point run without any response from the North Carolina offense. The UNC defense had trouble stopping the forward progress of the Tigers in the first half and gave up 31 points. Additionally, injuries hurt two on the starting defensive line, with sophomore linebacker Darius Lipford and junior defensive end Donte Paige-Moss coming out the game with suspected knee sprains.

The second half marked initially seemed to mark a turnaround for the Tar Heels and prompted questions as to what Everett Withers said in the locker room at halftime. North Carolina came out on their first drive in the second half to score a touchdown off of a 44-yard pass from Renner to junior wide receiver Jheranie Boyd. However, the Tigers quickly responded as Missouri quarterback James Franklin strolled into the end zone for a 2-yard rushing touchdown, similar to his touchdown in the first half.

The rest of the half followed without much excitement, though Missouri did get a field goal and North Carolina scored another touchdown just as the game was coming to a close.

Although the game didn’t end in the Tar Heels’ favor, the second half showed marked improvement, as North Carolina’s defense held Missouri to only 10 points for the half. Bryn Renner also had an impressive performance, throwing for three touchdowns during the game, bringing his season total to a school-high of 26 touchdowns.

North Carolina ended the game with 353 total yards, as compared to the Tigers’ 513 yards. The noticeable gap in the Tar Heels’ game, however, was their serious lack of rushing yards, only putting up 36 yards, while Missouri had almost ten times this amount with 337 yards.

This was the last game for UNC interim head football coach Everett Withers, who is headed to Ohio State as a co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach and was widely considered to be a chance for the UNC players to show off to new head coach Larry Fedora, who won his final game as head coach at Southern Mississippi against Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl.

Missouri quarterback James Franklin was announced as the game MVP, with  142 rushing yards, 132 passing yards, and two rushing touchdowns.

For more about the game, check out the post-game stories from ESPN, the N&O, and WRAL.

After the first half, the Independence Bowl has been a story of the Missouri and North Carolina offenses.

In the case of the former, the story is the success of the run game and for the latter, the lack of fluidity.

Missouri has almost doubled Carolina in total yards, but the most noticeable statistic is the lack of rushing yards for North Carolina. Normally a strong rushing team with Dwight Jones and Giovanni Bernard, the Tar Heels have only 13 rushing yards compared to the Tigers’ 192 yards.

The game started out quickly with a touchdown catch by Dwight Jones, recently ruled eligible for the Independence Bowl, but was tied minutes later after Missouri used a trick play with a lateral pass to wide receiver T.J. Moe who threw for a 40-yard touchdown to wide receiver Wes Kemp.

The second touchdown for the Tigers came after quarterback James Franklin ran the ball in from the two-yard line.

Early in the second quarter, Missouri kicked for a 31-yard field goal to widen the Tigers’ lead to ten.

Continuing the trend, Missouri added another touchdown with five minutes left in the first half as Franklin completed a pass to wide receiver Jerrell Jackson.

The Tigers rolled ahead with their thus-unstopped offense to score another touchdown off of a run play by Kendial Lawrence. Missouri has been able to score off of every possession in the first half, scoring 31 unanswered points against the Tar Heels.

As the first half came to a close, UNC was able to make a drive to scoring position after two big throws by North Carolina sophomore quarterback Byrn Renner to junior wide receivers Erik Highsmith and Jheranie Boyd. Although UNC attempted three times to score a touchdown (with two incomplete passes and a failed run), the Tar Heels were able to put points on the board for the first time since the beginning of the first quarter with a field goal by Thomas Moore.

For more updates in the second half, make sure to follow @reesesport.

To read more, check out more coverage from ESPN and the N&O.

UNC said Wednesday that senior wide receiver Dwight Jones will be playing in the Dec. 26 Independence Bowl against Missouri after being cleared of all violations by the NCAA before Wednesday’s practice.

Tuesday, UNC released a statement that Jones would be ineligible for the bowl game:

University of North Carolina senior wide receiver Dwight Jones committed a secondary NCAA violation when he allowed his name and photo to be used to promote an event in his hometown of Burlington, N.C.

Jones allowed his name and picture to be put on a flier advertising a New Year’s Eve birthday party at a nightclub in Burlington. NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from using their name, photo, or likeness in promotion for any for-profit activity and considers this act a secondary violation.

After releasing Tuesday’s statement, UNC sent a cease-and-desist letter to the party promoters, and the entire party has been called off.

Jones, in a statement from the school, addresses the entire situation:

“I apologize to my teammates, the coaching staff, and the University for the poor decision I made to allow my likeness to be used in the promotion of a party given by a family member while still a part of the Carolina football team.  I should have asked the coaching staff or administration before allowing this to happen.  I was wrong and the party is cancelled.  I’m sorry for being a distraction to our team and taking the focus away from our preparation for the Independence Bowl.”

The school asked the NCAA to reinstate Jones and was granted this request Wednesday.

On hearing that Jones will be playing in the bowl game, UNC quarterback Bryn Renner said he was glad to have his teammate back:

“It’s a big relief. Dwight is one of the best receivers in the country in my opinion, and to have No. 83 on my left side and know he’s going to be there, it’s a great feeling.”

Jones has caught 79 passes for 11 touchdowns and 1,119 yards during this season.

To read more, check these stories from ESPN, CBS Sports, and the N&O.

On Thursday night, the Tar Heels (6-4, 2-4 ACC) face the No. 9 Virginia Tech Hokies (9-1, 5-1 ACC) in Blacksburg, Va.

When: Thursday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m.

Where: Lane Stadium

Watch: ESPN

Weather: about 35 degrees

Heels hope to get back on track

The Tar Heels started the season off strong, winning five of their first six games. However, Carolina has struggled recently, losing three of its last four games including a rough shut-out defeat to N.C. State.

With a bye last week, the Heels enjoyed some much needed rest and recovery. Carolina was the only team in the ACC that opened the year playing 10 consecutive games.

Although Virginia Tech leads the overall series, 17-10-6, the Heels are hoping they can recreate the success of their last meeting with Virginia Tech in 2009. In the 2009 game, which was also on a Thursday night in Blacksburg, Va., the Heels beat the Hokies 20-17 with a game winning field goal from Casey Barth.

What to watch

Thursday’s match-up features two of the best running backs in the ACC. The Hokies’ David Wilson is first in the ACC in yards per game while the Heels’ Gio Bernard is third. Wilson and Bernard are each averaging more than 100 yards per game.

Carolina and Virginia Tech are also among the ACC leaders in run defense. Allowing only 102 yards per game, the Hokies rank second in the league. Allowing just 108.3 yards per game, Carolina ranks third.

Carolina is already eligible for a bowl game for the fourth consecutive season, but a win against the Hokies would improve the Heels’ post-season positioning. A win over Virginia Tech would also be the highest ranked team that Carolina has defeated since a 31-28 win over No. 4 Miami in 2004. It would be only the fourteenth time that the Heels have ever defeated a team ranked in the top 10.

If UVA loses to Florida State on Saturday,  a win over Carolina would help Virginia Tech clinch its second straight Coastal Division title.

A Carolina-Virginia connection

Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner, who is completing over 70 percent of his passes this season, grew up as a Virginia Tech fan. His father, Bill, was a punter for the Hokies from 1979-1982. Bill led Virginia Tech in punting average in both 1981 and 1982, and ultimately played in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers.

UNC bounced back from their loss to Clemson last week to beat Wake Forest 49-24. With the win, the Tar Heels improved to 6-3 on the season, 2-3 in the ACC and became bowl eligible. Bryn Renner posted over 300 yards for the first time in his career, and Gio Bernard ran for his sixth 100-yard game this season. The Tar Heels face N.C. State next week.

Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4
Wake Forest  0  10  7  7
UNC  14  7  7  21

UNC 49, Wake Forest 24

Pregame

(35 minutes to kickoff) It’s homecoming in Chapel Hill as the North Carolina Tar Heels (5-3, 1-3) take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-2, 4-1). It’s a cloudy 52 degrees and fans are trickling into Kenan Stadium. Both teams are out on the field for warm ups. The Tar Heels are wearing their home uniforms of Carolina Blue jerseys with white pants and the Demon Deacons are sporting white jerseys with black pants.

(20 minutes to kickoff) What’s at stake: Whichever team walks out of Kenan Stadium with the victory today will be bowl eligible. If that team is Wake Forest, they can also claim the title of “state champions,” having already defeated in-state rivals Duke and N.C. state. A Demon Deacon win would also mean a tough road to a winning season for the Tar Heels, with N.C. State, Virginia Tech and Duke (whose currently giving VaTech a run for their money) remaining on the schedule. A Tar Heel win would make them bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive season and be the first win over Wake Forest since 2004.

(15 minutes to kickoff) This is the 104th meeting between the Tar Heels and the Demon Deacons, one of the oldest rivalries in the ACC. North Carolina leads the series 67-34-2 and boasts a record of 40-18-2 when playing at home. The teams have not met since 2007, when Wake Forest topped the Tar Heels 37-10 in Winston Salem.

(5 minutes to kickoff) The Tar Heels’ homecoming weekend kicked off in a less-than-ideal fashion with Chancellor Holden Thorp and Athletic Director Dick Baddour, among other representatives from the University, facing a marathon NCAA hearing in Indianapolis on Friday. QB Bryn Renner told The Daily Tar Heel the team wasn’t paying attention to the hearing. Earlier today, an airplane pulled a banner around over the stadium that read “RE-UNITE UNC – WWW.REMOVETHORP.COM.”

(1 minute before the game) Wake Forest won the toss and elects to receive. Wake has started the game receiving all 8 games of their season.

The Tar Heels take the field for thier matchup against the Wake Forest Demon Decons on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. Emily Bowe/reesenews

1st Quarter

(14:55) Wake Forest receives the ball at the 7, returns it for 15 yards and will start their drive at their own 22.

(14:19) A 24 yard pass from Price to Dembry puts Wake at their own 46.

(13:33) Brown sacks Price at the 36. Price fumbles and Brown recovers. UNC ball on the Wake Forest 34.

Senior linebacker Zach Brown goes after a fumble during Wake Forest's opening drive on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. Eric Pait/reesenews

(11:20) After a first down, UNC faces a 3rd and 10 at the Wake Forest 23. Renner keeps but is stopped short of the first down at the 14. UNC sets up with three tight ends, looks like they’re going for it, but calls time out.

(10) A 2 yard run by AJ Blue gives UNC the first down, deep in Wake Forest territory.

(9:02) A 7-yard pass from Renner to Bernard puts the Tar Heels in the end zone. It’s Bernards first career reception for a TD. The play is under review, though, as Bernard was close to being tackled before the pylon. (After review, TD stands.)

Redshirt freshmen tailback Giovani Bernard celebrates after his first touchdown of the game, putting Carolina ahead of Wake forest 7-0. Kaylon Kirk/reesenews

(9:02) In a 9 play, 34 yard, and 4:31 drive, the Tar Heels are up on Wake Forest 7-0.

(8:46) After receiving the Tar Heels kickoff, an in-progress drive with a 26 yard running gain by Pendergrass puts Wake Forest at the Tar Heel 26.

(7:55) An interception by Charles Brown stops the Wake Forest drive on the Tar Heels’ 23. UNC ball.

(5:06) After a 48-yard throw from Renner to D. Jones and a few more plays from scrimmage, it’s first and goal for the Tar Heels.

(4:12) An 8 play, 77 yard, 3:43 drive culminates in a 4 yard TD pass from Bryn Renner to Eric Highsmith puts the Tar Heels up 14-0 over the Demon Deacons. Bryn Renner is 6 of 8 for 77 yards and a pair of touchdowns so far.

(4:10) Wake starts their drive from their own 12 after catching the kickoff and stepping out of bounds.

(2:25) UNC stops wake on their 2 yard third down attempt. 4th-and-2 on their own 21. 50-yard punt rolls dead at the 29.

(1:11) Tar Heels start their drive on their own 29. They’re stopped the 41 and will punt.

(1:02) Wake Forest takes the punt at their 25.

As the quarter winds down, Wake Forest hands off to Bohanon for a 2 yard gain and the first down. The quarter ends with Wake Forest in possession on their 36. Tar Heels up 14-0.

Stat leaders for the Tar Heels: Renner had 77 passing yards and 2 TDs, Bernard gained 34 yards on the ground with a 7 yard reception for a TD. Dwight Jones had 61 yards receiving.

Senior wide receiver Dwight Jones rushes down the field after a completion during the first quarter of the Carolina vs. Wake Forest game on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. Emily Bowe/reesenews

2nd Quarter

(12:56) Wake started the quarter on their own 36. They now face a 3rd-and-2 on the Tar Heel 44.

(10:23) Wake continued their drive and finished in the UNC end zone with an 8-yard run by Pendergrass. Their scoring drive was 13 plays, 75 yards, 5:39.

Redshirt freshmen tailback Brandon Pendergrass breaks through the UNC defense for Wake Forest's first touchdown of the game. Kaylon Kirk/reesenews

(10:23) A 24-yard return by Thorpe will see the Tar Heels start from their 25.

(10:07) Renner fumbles the snap, recovered by the Demon Deacons.

(9:53) Wake Forest tries a reverse, but UNC’s Tre Boston intercepts the pass and falls into the end zone for the touchback. UNC ball on their own 20.

(8:30) UNC stopped on third down, punt blocked by Wake Forest. Demon Deacon ball on the UNC 6. That’s UNC’s third blocked punt of the season.

Senior wide receiver Dwight Jones leaps over a Wake Forest defender as he rushes down the field after a completion during the second quarter. Eric Pait/reesenews.

(7:03) Wake Forest can’t capitalize on their great field position. A third-and-goal pass attempt from the 5 hits the turf. Wake Forest kicks a field goal from the 12. The 22-yard kick is good. 14-10 UNC.

(7:03) Wake Forest kicks off out of bounds. UNC takes possession at their 40. 1st-and-10 Tar Heels.

(5:19) Renner sacked for a 12-yard loss. UNC to punt. Renner walked off the field very slowly after the hit.

(5:00) UNC’s punt nearly blocked again by Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons start from their 38. Tar Heel QB Renner getting taped up on the trainer’s table.

(3:34) Brown puts major pressure on WF QB Price on a 3rd-and-12. Price throws it out of bounds, Decons looking to punt from their 37.

(3:24) Gorgeous, 59-yard, career-long punt from Wake Forest punter Alex Wulfeck pins the Tar Heels back on their own 4.

(3:16) UNC’s Gio Bernard turns the corner for a 35-yard gain. UNC first down on their 39.

(0:53) Several huge plays put UNC on the Wake Forest 15.

UNC senior Dwight Jones stiff-arms #4 Josh Bush on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. Eric Pait/reesenews

UNC junior Nelson Hurst brings down a catch on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. Eric Pait/reesenews

(:40) An illegal substitution by Wake Forest gives UNC a first-and-goal at the WF 5.

(:13) Bernard runs for a 4 yard touchdown. UNC up 16-10. Bernard has 10 rushing TDs on the season. That’s the most for a Tar Heel since 1997.

(:13) The extra-point is good. The Tar Heel scoring drive was 8 plays, 96 yards, and 3:11. UNC up 21-10.

The half ends with UNC up 21-10 over Wake Forest.

3rd Quarter

UNC will receive to start the 3rd quarter.

(15:00) Wake Forest kicks it through the end zone. Tar Heels will start on their 20.

(13:38) A run by Gio Bernard is stopped short of the first down. Tar Heels go 3-and-out. 31-yard punt rolls to the Wake Forest 41.

(12:02) Wake Forest also stopped after 3 plays. UNC’s Charles Brown tackled immediately upon fielding the 38-yard punt. UNC will start their drive on their 23.

(11:45) UNC starts with a 19 yard pass from Renner to Boyd. Ball on the UNC 42.

(10) Renner hits Dwight Jones with another big pass. Jones caught it at the 43 and made it down to the 19. Jones now has 110 receiving yards.

(9:21) UNC pegged with a big holding penalty. It’s 2nd and 21 from the Wake Forest 30.

(8:40) Gio Bernard smothered by Wake Forest on a 3rd-and-22. This would be a 47-yard field goal attempt if UNC goes for it.

Senior wide receiver Dwight Jones is tackled by the Wake Forest defense after a reception and drive that put the Tar Heels within field goal range. Eric Pait/reesenews

(7:57) Moore’s 47-yard field goal attempt falls short of the uprights. Score stays the same with UNC up 21-10.

(7:16) Wake Forest takes over after the field goal attempt on their 30. On the second play of the drive, wide receiver Chris Givens shows his speed to advance WF to the UNC 45. Givens was injured on the UNC sideline. He walks back to his sideline.

(6:32) A 30-yard run by Pendergrass gives Wake Forest a touchdown and its longest play of the day. 21-17 UNC.

(6:15) From the UNC 20, Erik Highsmight receives a pass from Bryn Renner for 43 yards. Tar Heels are on the WF 37.

(4:47) A 15 yard reception by Gio Bernard puts UNC on Wake’s 9-and-a-half yardline.

(4:17) Justin Jackson hits Gio Bernard hard on a run and he fumbles it. Tar Heels recover on the 10, but Bernard is clearly shaken up. Replay shows an inadvertent helmet-to-helmet hit as well as bad twisting on Bernard’s leg. Bernard has 89 yards on 21 carries at this point in the game.

(2:56) Nelson Hurst receives Renner’s pass and makes it to the 1. Heels looking to go for it on 4th down.

(2:29) Ryan Houston rumbles into the end zone for 1-yard and the touchdown. Tar Heels up 28-17. Houston is 8th all time in rushing TDs for UNC. Houston has had 11 of his 21 TD runs from 1 yard out.

(1:32) Wake Forest starts their possession on their own 24. On their first third down attempt, Tydreke Powell intercepts Price’s pass, which was intended for Josh Strickland. UNC ball on the Wake Forest 34, but the play is under review.

(1:32) Play stands, UNC ball.

(1:32) Gio Bernard is back in the game at tailback. That’s good news for the Tar Heels.

(0:02) Renner hits Jones running on a tight-rope down the Wake Forest sideline. That’s a 28-yard pass to the Wake Forest 2. Pass interference is called, but UNC declines the penalty. End of third quarter. That play puts Renner over the 300 mark in passing yards for the first time in his career and gives Jones 138 receiving yards. Renner’s earlier career high was 288 yards against Miami.

4th Quarter

(15:00) UNC to start from Wake’s 2 yard line.

(14:13) Gio Bernard gets his third TD of the game on a 4-yard run. That’s his first three touchdown game. His 11 rushing touchdowns on the season, as mentioned earlier, is the most by a UNC player since 1997. His 12 total TDs are the eighth most by a Tar Heel in a season.

(14:07) A personal foul on the kick gives Wake Forest the ball on their 39.

(13:08) Zach Brown picks off Price on the 37 yard line and runs back to the Wake 41. First-and-ten for the Tar Heels.

Wake Forest redshirt freshmen tailback Nick Knott attempts to dodge UNC's sophomore safetey D.J. Bunn on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. Eric Pait/reesenews

(12:12) Gio Bernard crosses the century mark in rushing yards for the 6th game this season with a 4-yard run to the Wake Forest 38.

(11:57) Bryn Renner airs out Erik Highsmith on a spectacular 38-yard touchdown pass. UNC is up 42-17. That gives Renner 338 yards. He’s 21-28 with 3 TDs.

Quarterback Bryn Renner winds back for a touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Highsmith on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. Emily Bowe/reesenews

(7:50) Wake Forest starts on their 31. A steady drive led by backup quarterback Ted Stachitas is stopped on the UNC 25. Gives Wake a 4th-and-4 at the 25.

(7:37) Stachitas throws an incomplete pass and UNC takes over on downs.

(5:26) Bernard runs for 54 yards to the Wake Forest 9. That gives him 154 yards.

(4:45) AJ Blue with a 5-yard TD run. That’s a 6 play, 75-yard, 2:59 TD drive for the Tar Heels. That gives UNC 49 points for the first time since 2004. Their 510 yards to this point is also a season high.

Sophomore tailback A.J. Blue leaps into the endzone to score a Carolina touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Eric Pait/reesenews

(2:23) Bohanon runs for a 3-yard touchdown rush. That’s a 6-play, 65-yard, 2:08 scoring drive for Wake Forest.

(1:32) Sean Tapley runs to the Wake Forest 19.

(0:00) Final: UNC 49, Wake Forest 24. With the win, UNC moves to 6-3 on the season and becomes bowl eligible.

After a three-year hiatus, the Tar Heels (5-3, 1-3 ACC) will take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-2, 4-1 ACC) in Chapel Hill, N.C. for their homecoming game.

After their sloppy performance against Clemson last week that included a season-high six turnovers, the Tar Heels are hoping they can give returning UNC alumni a reason to celebrate. With a 4-1 home record, UNC has played well at Kenan Stadium this season.

When: Saturday, Oct. 29 at 3:30 p.m.

Where: Kenan Stadium

Watch: ESPNU

Weather forecast: about 50 degrees with a chance of a.m. rain

Game preview

Although the Demon Deacons and Tar Heels have not met since 2007, the Carolina-Wake Forest rivalry is one of the oldest in the nation. Saturday’s game will be the 104th meeting. Carolina leads the series 67-34-2 but Wake Forest has won the past two games, played in 2006 and 2007.

With UNC looking to crush Wake Forest’s ACC title hopes and both teams just one win shy of bowl eligibility, expect a fierce match-up.

Slowing Wake Forest’s explosive offense, which is averaging about 31 points per game, could present a tough challenge for the Tar Heels. Quarterback Tanner Price is second in the ACC with 260 passing yards per game, and star receiver Chris Givens is leading the ACC with nearly 127 yards receiving per game.

UNC interim head coach Everett Withers says he is confident that UNC can get back on track after suffering back-to-back ACC losses. “If we take care of the ball, we can be as good as any team in this conference,” said Withers while speaking on the ACC Football Teleconference on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

UNC in the news

UNC’s hearing with NCAA’s Committee on Infractions regarding charges of nine major violations is taking place on Friday, Oct. 28. The charges against UNC include academic fraud and improper benefits.

The hearing will decide whether UNC’s self-imposed sanctions, which include scholarship reductions and vacating all victories by the football program during the 2008 and 2009 seasons, are sufficient.

“We’re all trying to move forward, build, grow, and learn from past experiences,” said Withers, responding to a question about the lengthy NCAA infraction process on the ACC Football Teleconference. “It would be great to have a quick decision… that’s probably the most frustrating thing is not being able to say 100 percent what’s going to happen.”

After two consecutive away games, the Tar Heels (4-1) will be back at Kenan Stadium this Saturday to take on the Louisville Cardinals (2-2).

When: Saturday, Oct. 8 at 12 p.m.

Where: Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Weather forecast: 75 degrees and sunny

Game Preview

Louisville and head coach Charlie Strong come to UNC looking for a win after a tough home loss of 17-13 to Marshall last Saturday, Sept. 5.

Carolina beat ECU 35-20 on the road last Saturday and is hoping to improve its record to 4-0 at home. The Heels have already won home games against James Madison, Rutgers and Virginia this season.

Louisville has dominated the previous two games in the series against UNC. The combined score of the Cardinals wins is a whopping 103-14. While speaking on the Big East Teleconference this week, Strong acknowledged that the Heels are a great football team and playing very well this season. He said this week’s game is going to be a tough road challenge for the Cardinals.

“We expect a very emotional, fired-up Louisville team to come in here Saturday and we’ve got to do a good job both offensively, defensively and with special teams because we know that we’re going to get their best,” said UNC coach Everett Withers while speaking on the ACC Football Teleconference on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Tar Heels’ quarterback Bryn Renner comes in to Saturday’s game with a 75.7 completion percentage, 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns. Renner completed a career high of four touchdowns in last week’s win at ECU. He is the first Tar Heel quarterback to throw four touchdowns in a game since Darian Durant while playing against Syracuse in 2003.

“Bryn each week is getting more comfortable being the leader of our offense, and I think that’s been the most pleasing thing I’ve seen so far,” said Withers while speaking about the Heels’ offense on the teleconference.

Louisville starting quarterback Will Stein is still being evaluated on a day-to-day basis after injuring his shoulder during the Cardinals’ 24-17 win against Kentucky on Sept. 17. It is unclear whether he’ll be ready to start in Saturday’s game.

Dwight Jones has been a solid receiver for the Heels with 33 catches and 6 touchdowns this season. Meanwhile, Giovani Bernard is leading the Heels’ running game and is third in the ACC in rushing with 109.6 yards per game. It should be a good match up against the Cardinals, who have held opponents to only 85 rushing yards a game this season.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

After Saturday’s win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Interim Head Football Coach Everett Withers held his usual post-game press conference. The full audio of the interview is linked below. Here are some highlights. Check back each week to see reesenew’s live-blogcoverage of the Tar Heels.

Withers Post-game Interview – 9/10/11

“I guess anytime you can win the ballgame and have five turnovers and probably five personal foul penalties and at least three opportunities where we had a chance to make big plays on defense with the ball and there are three interceptions and you win, then it’s a good day to be a Tar Heel.”
– Coach Everett Withers

Q: What do you attribute the sloppy play to – the penalties, the turnovers?
A: The only thing that I can attribute it to is lack of focus or stuff that we didn’t concentrate on in practice. So, the only way I know is to go back and focus on it in practice and get better at it in practice.

Q: What do you attribute that to? Usually, week one, week two, that’s where the coaches always say the improvement is. Why the steps back?
A: Well, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a step back. I think it’s something that we can focus on and work on. You know, I mean, we held them to one yard rushing today, so we did some good things this week.

Q: In such a sloppy game, with that goal line stand, ultimately how important was that to this team?
A: Oh, I think it was huge…You know there are a couple of points. That goal line stand, the kickoff return right before half where we went down to kick the field goal, I think those were critical to win the game. The stop here on fourth down and then the four minute drive where Ryan ke[pt] the thing alive and then we were able to get the victory. You think about those three parts of the game and then you think that’s how you win games. When it’s sloppy, if you can make those plays to win the game, that’s when you win the game.

Q: How much of a difference is it for a team when you get that kickoff return and you get a field goal versus going in there if they had scored and you hadn’t retaliated like that?
A: You know, I’m a positive thinker, so I was thinking we were going to get a return  and that we were going to drive down and get a field goal. I don’t think I ever thought that other way.

Q: Coach, Bryn Renner made three bad passes, but for the most part it seemed like he had a pretty good game. Is that how you view it? That he has a lot of things going for him and he’s just got to correct some of those mistakes?
A: No question, no question. I think what’s been said all year long is “Bryn’s young, Bryn’s gonna make some mistakes.” The thing about it is that he knows how to take the criticisms, the mistakes that he makes, and the coaching and try to fix them and that’s what you like about him.