But somehow, some way, it just never got done. Until Saturday.
In what might have been its final contest of the season, the North Carolina football team put together a complete game. The Tar Heels scored on offense, defense and special teams as they pounded Duke 59-21 in front of 24,673 spectators at Wallace Wade Stadium.
The win, UNC's third in a row, made the team bowl eligible. North Carolina (6-5 overall, 3-5 in the ACC) is one of six such teams in the ACC, but only five squads are guaranteed postseason trips.
"This team is very deserving of a bowl," UNC coach Carl Torbush said. "Any time you finish like we finished with three wins in a row, I think it means a lot more about where you are right now than if you ended up 7-4 and lost the last four games.
"I feel good about that, and we've done all we need to do."
That statement certainly applies to UNC's first-half performance against the Blue Devils, who wrapped up their second 0-11 season in the last **** years.
Led by quarterback Ronald Curry, the Tar Heels put up an ACC-record number of points in one half to carry a 52-7 lead into the locker room.
Curry broke a 7-7 tie with a 43-yard scramble up the middle for a touchdown with 5:45 remaining in the first quarter, and then the flood gates opened.
After a 37-yard field goal by Jeff Reed, defensive end Julius Peppers sacked Duke quarterback D. Bryant and forced a fumble. Joey Evans picked it up and returned it 26 yards to the 1, where Curry scored on a sneak two plays later to make it 24-7.