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Monday Musings: Chillin’ in Chapel Hill

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Tuesday edition!

NCAA Football: Miami at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Monday Tuesday (we had some technical difficulties yesterday that impeded my ability to get this article up timely)! Meaning it’s to slap on those orange-and-white unis and bounce off of the Canes-related thoughts running through my mind.

1) First and foremost, I went to Chapel Hill last weekend, and I must say...it was a very fun trip, game result notwithstanding. We flew into Raleigh on Friday afternoon, had a couple of drinks at the Whisky River bar at the concourse terminal, then caught an Uber to our AirBNB house. It was absolutely gorgeous. Wooded setting with a pool and all the amenities of home. This is the way to travel folks. I will not stay in a hotel again on a road trip, if I can help it.

2) So we hit up the nearby town of Carrboro on Friday night, given they had a number of microbreweries. That place....really wasn’t too much of my scene. From organic grocery stores to indie-style coffee shops, yeah, I was less than impressed. The selections from the breweries were....okay, I guess. The IPAs and blonde ales weren’t anything worth writing home about. We did get some very good food and probably the best beer at the Spotted Dog in Carrboro, where we watched Clemson struggle with Syracuse. The chipotle burger and fries was *chef’s kiss*. We knew we needed to pace ourselves this weekend, so we went back home around 11 and crashed watching Oregon underachieve against an inferior Cal squad.

3) We woke up and hit Neal’s Diner for breakfast in Carrboro (closest town). The bacon and pimento cheese biscuit with a side of grits was phenomenal. Highly recommend. After going back to the house and watching the start of LSU-Florida, we took an Uber to Franklin Street and wandered into a bar called Might as Well. They had tons of games on with some open tables, so it seemed like a decent enough place. The wings were ok, and I settled for some Coors Light by that point. We watched Florida blow it against LSU, but then the clouds opened and the rain fell. We didn’t feel like getting drenched, so we stayed there and watched Miami’s typical first quarter slow start, with a surprising Jahfari Harvey pick-six sprinkled on top.

4) The rain stopped, so we made our way across campus, which is pretty nice. The tailgating crowd earlier had been very polite. Largely a wine and cheese group under white tents, which were still being disassembled as we approached the stadium. After walking in and getting some beers, we made our way to our seats. Just in time, of course, to see the UNC kicker get roughed, followed by a Sam Howell touchdown to make it 28-10. Surely that 4-point swing wouldn’t matter later........

5) Kenan Memorial Stadium is absolutely gorgeous. Yes, it’s dated, but it’s in the middle of campus with trees hanging over one side and a view of campus over the other. It’s a good size at around 51,000, which gives the feel of a small big-sized stadium. It was easy to get in and out of with a number of gates, which is also a plus. They also had more concession stands than I would’ve imagined. However, the bathroom situation was abysmal. Nothing upstairs unless you were in the box. Us commoners in 202 had to go downstairs, where it seemed half the stadium was converging. Terrible.

6) Jaylan Knighton is now RB1, due to Cam Harris’ unfortunate knee injury. That was sad to see. Harris had been running effectively (when the line did their jobs) in recent weeks, and you hate to see his Miami career end like that. However, we saw the spark that Knighton gave when he gets the ball in his hands. I talked about it in my season preview: Knighton is the biggest home run threat out of the backfield, and we saw it when he took a swing pass and went 60 yards for the score. 3 touchdowns in his first opportunity as the true featured back. He has to be a 20-25 touch per game player going forward without question.

7) That was some of the worst tackling you’ll ever see in a game, and it can’t be excused. Has to be shored up. There is a certain starting defender with experience in the secondary who doesn’t have an OR by his name in this week’s depth chart that I expect A TON from going forward. THAT ALL BEING SAID, the defense bowed their backs and stopped the Tar Heels to give the offense the ball back one last time. That was a big boy series, and one I wasn’t expecting to see. Kudos to the defense for keeping the game alive.

8) I don’t have any problem with the play call that led to the tip-interception. I saw some criticism on Twitter about that. Come on, y’all. He had a receiver open (albeit one who woud’ve been tackled beyond the first down marker by the safety) and likely would’ve hit him. It’s a higher percentage throw than a fade. You want an out called? Ok, but calling a slant that would’ve resulted in a clock-stopping first down as stupid is a bit silly. It was a freak play - one that we’ve almost come to expect to happen to our cursed program - and one that you just have to shake your head at and walk out. Or at least that’s what we did.

9) We walked laughing to ourselves (because what other choice did we have at that point? Cry?) back to Franklin Street and, again back to Might as Well, where we put back plenty more beer before taking an Uber home. We all flew out the following morning.

10) Overall, I thought it was a fantastic trip. With the exception of literally one person (some obnoxiously-loud redneck wearing a #1 UNC jersey in section 203 around Row J) everyone there was very nice and welcoming. Even the drunk college students leaving the fraternity houses were respectful. I was honestly surprised. Kudos to the UNC bunch. We’ll be back again sometime.

Anyone else go to the game? Hit us up with your experiences. Go Canes.