CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -The No. 15 North Carolina football team is now painfully familiar with the bitter taste that attaches itself to unrealized hope. The Tar Heels dropped the second game of the season to the unranked Virginia, 44-41, on a cold Halloween Saturday night in Charlottesville.
UNC watched the final embers of its comeback hopes die as the Cavaliers converted a fake punt on fourth-and-3. For the second time this season, the Tar Heels' electric offense watched from the sidelines as the opposing team took a knee and the comeback they ignited fell short.
Since Mack Brown was named head coach, the North Carolina football team has lost eight games by a combined 32 points — none of those have been by more than a touchdown. For UNC fans, it feels like it always comes down to that final play, the dropped pass, the missed fourth down stop.
Contrary to popular belief, football games —even close ones— are not won or lost in the final minutes. Football games are decided in the details: extra yards squeezed out of a run, missed tackles, turnovers, penalty yards. They're decided by muffed punts and fumbled laterals— points left on the field, that haunt you like ghosts in close defeats.
The Tar Heels are becoming all too familiar with when exactly games are decided as they continue to ignite a comeback effort seemingly after the sparks have already been stomped out.