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The Daily Tar Heel

Tar Heels Still in Hunt for Postseason Game

North Carolina football fans will have to take timeout from their hatred of N.C. State this Saturday.

If they want the Tar Heels to go bowling, a Wolfpack victory at Virginia would help the cause tremendously.

Although UNC (5-5, 2-5 in the ACC) can't catch the Cavaliers (5-4, 4-3) in the conference standings, UVa. will not be bowl eligible if it doesn't pick up another win. After N.C. State, the Cavaliers head to Virginia Tech, a likely loss.


(5-5, 3-4) is also teetering on the edge of bowl dreams. But the Terrapins will have to beat Georgia Tech (7-2, 5-2) to become eligible after losing to the Tar Heels 13-10.

And despite the ugliness on the Kenan Stadium field Saturday, Micron PC Bowl representative Mike Cochran was impressed.

"I think you have a very exciting football team," Cochran said of North Carolina. "You win next week (against Duke), you're 6-5. We'd love to have you."

The Micron PC Bowl gets the fourth pick out of the ACC. A trip to Miami for the bowl formerly known as the Carquest is up for grabs between UNC, UVa., N.C. State and Maryland.

Still, any scenario involving the Tar Heels getting selected fourth out of the ACC seems unlikely. But if Virginia can't get a sixth win, UNC very well could earn the fifth slot and go to Hawaii for either the Aloha or Oahu Bowl.

Even if the Tar Heels become the sixth pick, they could go back as an at-large selection to the Las Vegas Bowl, which they won in 1998.

Of course, it all hinges on UNC's taking care of business in Durham.

"If we win next week, I feel like we'll be very deserving of a bowl game," UNC coach Carl Torbush said. "We've shown improvement. We would have won three games in a row, and I think this football team with the marquee players that we have - the Currys and the Spoons and the Peppers - will be very deserving to go."

Parker Breaks Through

UNC tailback Willie Parker went where no Tar Heel runner has gone in three years - over 150 yards.

Parker became the first player to do so since Jonathan Linton's 199-yard game against Duke in 1997.

Parker rushed for 158 yards - 117 in the first half - on 21 attempts to top UNC's previous best performance of the season by 62 yards.

But the game wasn't all sunshine for the redshirt freshman. At the end of 61-yard sprint down the left sideline in the second quarter, Parker coughed the ball up on the Maryland 17-yard line.

"He can get in better shape," Torbush said. "It looked like one of those trucks crawled on his back on that touchdown run he had that he ended up fumbling."

He'll Lose Till November

With another Torbush squad making a rebounding act, much is being made of the coach's late-season savvy.

Torbush's UNC teams are now 7-2 in November but are 7-16 before then.

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"I'll try to figure out the reason for that," the coach said.

Maybe Torbush should look closely at the schedule. The Tar Heels have picked up pairs of November wins those years courtesy of Duke, Maryland and N.C. State.