North Carolina Tar Heels: Ranking ALL the Bowl Games

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Sep 12, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Members of the Boston College Eagles cheer team lead the team down Higgins stairs to Alumni stadium prior to a game against the Howard Bison. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

25. 2004 Continental Tire Bowl

The first of the Charlotte bowl games the Tar Heels attended was the second bowl game of the John Bunting era and arguably one of the high points of his tenure. The Continental Tire Bowl had come into existence as a way to get ACC and Big East teams to play in then Ericcson Stadium. Since the city was well in the footprint of both leagues it seemed like a good idea.

It helped that the first games featured Virginia, West Virginia, and Pitt, who were just right up the road. The Bowl really wanted North Carolina and NC State to bring their big local fanbases to the game. In 2004, the Tar Heels went 6-6 with a victory over Miami to their credit. The Tire Bowl took the Heels and then paired against Boston College.

Boston College had been in a tight race for the Big East crown but had lost it late in the year and fallen to this spot. Coach Tom O’Brien had ridden a diminutive quarterback Paul Peterson and a pass rush led by Matthias Kiwanuka.

The game started out like the good games the Tar Heels had played that year, with the playmaking of Darian Durant balanced out with the late season running of Chad Scott and Ronnie McGill. Durant would find Derelle Mitchell for over a hundred yards receiving during the game. The Tar Heels held a 24-21 lead in the third quarter.

They were still only behind 27-24 after Andre Callender ran one in for the Eagles. On third down, Carolina defensive end Tommy Davis came in and sacked Peterson, breaking the quarterback’s leg. It would prove to be the turning point of the game.

O’Brien decided to fake the field goal the next play and kicker Matt Ohlinger went in untouched for the score. At that point the game was over, and the Heels did not score again. A young Matt Ryan finished the game for the Eagles. It would only be the beginning of O’Brien’s winning ways against the Heels which he brought to NC State soon after.

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