North Carolina Tar Heels: Ranking ALL the Bowl Games

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Nov 14, 2015; Morgantown, WV, USA; A Texas Longhorns helmet rests on the bench at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

22. 1994 Sun Bowl

In 1994 if you said that Mack Brown would leave North Carolina for the Texas job, I would have had two thoughts. One, that makes sense for Brown. Two, that makes no sense for Texas because they had just beaten Brown in a bowl game. Four years later Brown did leave for Texas and I had forgotten all about the 1994 Sun Bowl in the meantime.

Former Wake Forest head man John Mackovic led the Longhorns at that time and his main weapon was a running back named Priest Holmes. Holmes would later become a fantasy favorite in his days with the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL, but he got his start at Texas. Kicking the ball was another NFL stalwart Phil Dawson.

North Carolina was stuck between teams. Natrone Means was gone, but Leon Johnson had not yet arrived to make that lethal Johnson and Johnson duo. Still they went 8-3 behind quarterback Mike Thomas and speedy receivers like Octavus Barnes and were ranked #19 in the AP.
In the game Holmes made himself felt with four rushing touchdowns. Texas also scored on a fumble recovery.

The Tar Heels tried to get back in the game with big plays. There was a bomb to Barnes, and Marcus Wall took a punt back for a score. The Heels had a 30-21 lead in the fourth quarter. They could not hold a final comeback with half of Holmes scores coming in the fourth quarter.

This bowl loss set up the Tar Heels for their longest string of bowl success, as they would win five bowls between 1995-2001. Brown would replace Mackovic at Texas in 1998.

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