Sep 12, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; A North Carolina Tar Heels helmet during the second half of the game against the North Carolina A&T Aggies at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Tar Heels defeated North Carolina A&T Aggies 53-14. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
9. 1998 Las Vegas Bowl
The Carl Torbush Era got off to a bit of a rocky start at 6-5. This was a disappointment because much of the cast of the 1998 Gator Bowl was still around. Bly was still roaming the secondary. The Heels had found a defensive weapon in converted defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban. The problems were on the other side of the ball where the offense had trouble with injuries. The team had to lean on freshman Ronald Curry to make things happen.
The ACC had no ties to the Las Vegas Bowl. The bowl had an opening and the Tar Heels were invited to fill it and take on the San Diego State Aztecs.
The story of the game was the weather. The wind in Nevada that day was horrendous and suppressed the score by making kicking on one side of the stadium almost impossible.
The other bright spot that makes this game memorable is a 48 yard touchdown run by Curry where he seems to accelerate the whole way through the run.
It was a strange game that saw the first Aztec touchdown scored when Aztecs receiver Lonnie Mitchell picked up his own team’s fumble and ran it in for the touchdown. North Carolina would answer with twenty points in the first half and then just hold on to win 20-13.
Torbush would coach three more years, but reach no more bowl games. He was replaced with John Bunting in 2001.