North Carolina Tar Heels: Ranking ALL the Bowl Games

32 of 32

Nov 3, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants former players Harry Carson, Michael Strahan and Lawrence Taylor with Television personality Robin Roberts on the side lines before the start of New York Giants vs. Indianapolis Colts game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

1. 1979 Gator Bowl

What could top a close victory over a Lou Holtz coached Arkansas team? How about a close victory over a Bo Schembechler coached Michigan team? Dick Crum did both of those things and did them both at the Gator Bowl.

Michigan had gone 8-3 that season and was ranked 14th in the nation. North Carolina was unranked and had a 7-3-1 record over the year. Michigan had a star receiver named Anthony Carter who go on to have a productive pro career with the Minnesota Vikings. Their quarterback, John Wrangler was so good that they named jeans after him (I kid).

North Carolina had the steady running of junior Amos Lawrence and a team that was building up for the ACC Championship season of the following year. On defense they had switched Lawrence Taylor to linebacker and were seeing signs that would lead to his breakout performance the next year.
A scoreless first quarter gave way to a Michigan spurt of nine points in the second. The only reason that it wasn’t ten was a blown extra point. The touchdown was a 53 yard pass to the fleet of foot Carter.

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The Tar Heels hadn’t scored from lack of trying. They had attempted two field goals only for the wind to have blown them away. A turnover had set up the Michigan field goal. Doug Paschal put the Heels on the board with a two yard run. Quarterback Matt Kupec led the Tar Heels down the field in the third quarter to score again. The last Tar Heel points came in the fourth when Carolina kicked a field goal to make the game 17-9.

Only down a touchdown, Michigan tried to get the ball into the end zone. They were stopped once when Taylor recovered a fumble. They tried again and got Carter loose for a thirty yard score. Now they needed the two point conversion, and they were looking for only one man, Carter. The pass fell incomplete and the Tar Heels held on for their biggest victory against Michigan until the 1993 NCAA Basketball Championship.

Amos Lawrence ran for 118 yards but shared the MVP honors with Kupec. Oh and this happened:

Next: All Time Panther Team

So there they are, all 31 UNC football bowl games ranked from 31 to 1. How will the contest against Baylor rank against this list? There is only one to find out by watching when they play the Russell Athletic Bowl on December 29.

Happy Holidays, everybody!