Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Last UNC Trip Lingers; 'Noles Start New Season with Old Memories

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Last UNC Trip Lingers; 'Noles Start New Season with Old Memories

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Thomas, Times-Union sports writer

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Lingering outside the visiting locker room at Kenan Stadium, a handful of Florida State players watched as North Carolina fans struggled to bring down their goal posts following a 41-9 rout of the Seminoles.

"Just looking up at that scoreboard and seeing that type of deficit; seeing the fans trying to tear down the goal posts, it was like a horror flick," FSU cornerback Stanford Samuels said. "That's what it was the whole second half, disbelief. It was all on our shoulders. We were to blame for it. We have another chance now."

It took 40 minutes after that September 2001 game for UNC fans to finally bring down the goal posts; 10 more than it took to dismantle the Seminoles in a turnover-induced, second-half meltdown. The Tar Heels parlayed five turnovers into 24 points, and the beginning of the end to FSU's 14-year dynasty was on.

Suffering its worst loss to an unranked opponent in Bobby Bowden's tenure, FSU fell from the top 10 for the first time since 1989. But the greatest blow was dealt to FSU's pride.

The residual effect from the first of nine losses over the past two seasons still gnaws at them as the 'Noles open this season tonight against the Tar Heels.

"It's in the back of all our minds," FSU quarterback Chrix Rix said, reluctantly discussing his first defeat as a freshman starter. "Our mission is to make sure that does not happen again; that we don't underestimate them and we get payback from two years ago. It's not a friendly matchup here. . . . They embarrassed us up there two years ago."

Carolina coach John Bunting said his current team knows how good the defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion Seminoles are.

"They [UNC players] also know how they beat them two years ago," Bunting said. "They're coming to our town. They're coming to our place. …

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