The Tar Heels didn’t find a good way to start their story this season, but they are still hoping to find a good way to end it.
“We can finish this thing however we want to finish it,” defensive coordinator John Papuchis said at practice Tuesday. “No player in that locker room, no coach is completely going to be pleased with the end result of the year. I mean no one is. But you could make the best of the situation you're in and finish strong."
And the feeling at practice was more positive than it has been in weeks.
Three weeks ago, the Tar Heels slipped to 1-8 as they gave away a glorious end of game opportunity against Miami. In some ways, the loss has aged well. The College Football Playoff Committee ranked Miami No. 3 in the nation Tuesday night. This came after a decisive win against then-No. 13 Virginia Tech and a throttling of then-No. 3 Notre Dame in back to back weeks. The week before that, they barely escaped Chapel Hill with a win.
The Tar Heels put together perhaps their most meaningful performance of the season on Thursday. Facing Pittsburgh on the road in an ACC matchup, UNC held strong at the end of the game to pull off their second win of the season. From start to finish, it was a refreshingly complete performance for the team.