“With guys being young, you knew that they were going to make mistakes,” senior linebacker Bruce Carter said. “They kept their heads up, and kept fighting. I think that was the key thing, just not to get down.”
After that, Boston and his secondary-mates settled down. Boston grabbed a pick with three seconds left in the first half, and that momentum carried him through the rest of the game.
“It’s my first time out there. 80,000 fans, plus the Georgia Dome,” Boston said. “You don’t expect that for your first game. Once we calmed down, it was just like a regular game.”
For the final 30 minutes of the game, UNC’s defense pitched a shutout, giving the offense a chance to make a game out of it. The Tar Heels’ patchwork defense allowed 118 yards for the second half.
Boston himself had two forced fumbles, including a dramatic fourth quarter tackle that punched the ball loose from LSU running back Stevan Ridley.
Had Boston not forced the fumble, LSU would have run out the clock and won the game without giving UNC a chance to come back.
“I felt like I had to make a big play for my team because I had just let them down,” Boston said. “I had to show them that I’m trustworthy.”
Boston was not the only replacement who stepped up under the bright lights of the Georgia Dome, he just stepped up the most.
“Young guys who hadn’t played much did a nice job,” UNC coach Butch Davis said. “They came in and played well, made some plays. I think that they’ll clearly be better for having had that experience.”
Despite watching Boston get beat on the deep pass to Randle, North Carolina defenders all thought that Boston had a big play or two left in him for the game.
“He’s a baller. He’s a playmaker,” said Robinson of Boston. “After that touchdown there was confusion in the secondary, but I told him, just calm down because you’re going to make a play. All training camp, all he had been doing was making plays. He told me, he said ‘I got you, big brother. I got you.’”
With two weeks to prepare for the unorthodox Georgia Tech offense, the secondary is expecting their second half performance to carry through the layoff and into their first game at Kenan Stadium.
“Now that we got that first game out of the way, now, we’re ready to go crazy,” Boston said. “We’re really good, and we just found that out.”
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