Halftime Update: UNC 10, LSU 30

North Carolina began its season opener against Louisiana State as if the Tar Heels didn’t need the 13 ineligible players. Halfway through the second half, it was apparent they did. In a span of five minutes and 38 seconds, the Tigers scored 23 points to take a 30-10 lead against UNC in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. With the help of a UNC fumble in its own territory, LSU struck first with a six-yard pass from Jordan Jefferson to Russell Shepard to go up 7-0 with nearly nine minutes left in the first quarter. But UNC responded with an 82-yard drive capped by Devon Ramsay’s first career touchdown.

Football

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Recent changes leave Tar Heels uncertain

Football has been swallowed up in Chapel Hill. There is no talk of potential 1,000-yard rushers and quarterbacks aiming for redemption. Anticipation isn’t surrounding a defense poised for greatness — it hovers on the decision of a couple of NCAA investigators and team officials.


UNC waiting on final results

North Carolina football players will board the team bus today at 9:30 a.m. bound for Atlanta. Head coach Butch Davis said any players who are ruled ineligible to compete, by either the University or the NCAA, will not travel with the team to its game against Louisiana State on Saturday.


Scarlet Knights counting on sophomore QB

In the three years since a magical 2006 campaign brought Rutgers a whisker away from the school’s first-ever Big East Football Championship, the Scarlet Knights have failed to manage a finish higher than fourth in the eight-team conference. This year, Rutgers returns a trio of young, talented skill position players from a team that went 9-4 and won the St. Petersburg Bowl against UCF.


Strong secondary unit returns for Tar Heels

Although often masked by the disappointment of an inefficient offense and a less-than-perfect conference record, the sixth-ranked North Carolina defense was the bright spot of last year’s football season. For safety Deunta Williams, it just was not bright enough.


Butch Davis has spent his whole offseason answering questions on agents, tutors

Exactly one month after NCAA investigators set up shop in Chapel Hill, athletic director Dick Baddour made a surprise appearance at UNC football’s media day on Aug. 12. The 14-year A.D. spoke for 10 minutes about the investigation the NCAA launched into the football program. It involves possible improprieties between agents and seniors Marvin Austin and Greg Little.


Wilson leads depleted 'Pack

Russell Wilson’s future could end up being in professional baseball. But this fall, N.C. State University will look to the redshirt junior to turn its football team around. Wilson was picked in the fourth round of June’s Major League Baseball player draft by the Colorado Rockies. However, he is also a star on the gridiron.


Barth and Jones lead special teams squad

The North Carolina special teams unit will return a number of key starters in the fall. Thus, it will be expected to improve upon last season’s mediocre numbers. The special teams squad failed to crack the top three in any category among ACC schools last year and finished in the bottom half of the conference in three categories.


Linebackers at core of UNC's stout defense

North Carolina outside linebackers Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant play football with different styles. Both are essential to one of the best defenses in the NCAA. Carter is a playmaker. Two years ago, he led all of college football with five blocked kicks ­— four punts, including three in one game and a field goal attempt. Last season, Carter recorded seven and a half tackles for losses, two sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown.


Blue Devils no longer a joke

The Duke football team enters the 2010 season following a landmark year. They will have to work to remain consistent after losing some key players to graduation. The Blue Devils finished the 2009 campaign with a 5-7 overall record and went 3-5 in the ACC, finishing fifth in the Coastal Division. The five total wins, three within conference, were the most by a Duke team since 1994.


QB comes back to Clemson

The Clemson Tigers have a lot of holes to fill following the departure of All-American C.J. Spiller. Spiller, the most valuable player of the ACC Championship game and the Music City Bowl, led the Tigers in rushing yards, return yards and touchdowns.


'The U' to fight for Coastal crown

When Miami became a football powerhouse in the early 1980s, it did so by recruiting elite talent and playing the top teams in the country on their home field. Coach Randy Shannon hasn’t strayed far from that philosophy during his time in Coral Gables, Fla. In the past several seasons, Miami has gone against Bowl Championship Series powers Oklahoma and Florida. This year, they will play at Pittsburgh and Ohio State.


Georgia Tech hopes to defend ACC title

Last year, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets powered through ACC competitors week after week and swept past Clemson in the ACC title game to finish their season with an 11-3 record — one that included a 24-7 win against the Tar Heels alongside just a single conference loss to Miami.


After 34 seasons, 'Noles ushers in new regime

There’s a new sheriff in town, and in Tallahassee, Fla., it’s nothing but business. After 34 seasons at the top of Florida State, head coach Bobby Bowden resigned in January, handing over the reins to the Seminoles’ offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher.


SEC powerhouse to be UNC's first big test

On Saturday, North Carolina might play the most important game in the history of its program. That day, the No. 18 Tar Heels will take the field against No. 21 Louisiana State in ABC’s nationally televised Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game held in Atlanta. But the implications of that game might affect the national picture more than the game itself.