Blog Entry

Bowl Grades: Music City Bowl

Posted on: December 31, 2010 2:12 am
Edited on: December 31, 2010 2:16 am
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Posted by Chip Patterson

North Carolina uses a blocked extra point, three personal fouls, and two overtimes to knock off Tennessee 30-27 in the Music City Bowl.


NORTH CAROLINA

Offense: The gift North Carolina fans got for Christmas was a healthy Shaun Draughn. Draughn has been battling an ankle injury since early November, but returned to make his first start of the season against Tennesee. The senior from Tarboro, N.C. had his second best outing for the season - rushing 16 times for 127 yards and a touchdown. Knowing that Tennessee was weak against the run, and both Elzy and Johnny White would be out, there was doubt as to if the Tar Heels would be able to take advantage of the weakness. Clearly they did, and clearly it worked out okay. GRADE: B

Defense: While North Carolina did give up 312 passing yards to Tyler Bray, they did limit the entire Vols offense to just 27 yards rushing. Forcing Tennessee to become one dimensional allowed the Heels to drop linebackers into coverage, particularly in overtime. Linebackers like Quan Sturdivant, who picked off Bray in overtime to set up the game winning field goal. The most impressive defensive performance might have come from Donte Paige-Moss. Paige-Moss returned from a busted nose he received from making a helmet-less sack to block the extra point to keep the score at 20-17 late in the fourth quarter. If that kick sails through and Tennessee claims a 21-17 lead, Barth's clutch leg would not have been an option. Big play after big play (not to mention Zach Brown's interception return), and this is a defensive squad lacking 3 future NFL draft picks. GRADE: A

Coaching: North Carolina head coach Butch Davis admitted after the game that the too many men on the field penalty was his fault. The offense had been told to clock the ball after Draughn's run, while the field goal team hustled out to try and kick it before time expired. The confusion was epic and the result, while the right call, will haunt Tennessee fans for a while. If anything, this was another example of Davis getting this team to battle back. It may be from suspension, it may be from injury, or in this case it was facing an impossible deficit in a not-so-neutral stadium. Somehow, the Tar Heels got it done this season - the newest Music City Miracle was just another example. GRADE: B

TENNESSEE

Offense: I know it stings for Tennessee fans right now, but there is plenty of good things to take away from the Music City Bowl. More than anything, the future is very bright with Tyler Bray under center. The freshman quarterback lived up to his late season charge against a tough Tar Heel defense and had a field day. Bray completed 27 passes to nine different receivers for 312 yards and four touchdowns. The deficiency in the running game (27 net yards) has to be a concern, and the three interceptions (particularly the last one) weren't fantastic, but there is plenty to be hopeful for with Tyler Bray leading the offense. GRADE: B-

Defense: Any positive things the defense did before the end of regulation will be completely forgotten thanks to some brutal decision-making in the final minutes. From Janzen Jackson's penalty on Harrelson to defensive end Gerald Williams' unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that set up North Carolina on the 12 yard line to start overtime. Additionally, giving up the touchdown drive before halftime was another huge momentum swinger, but after the way the game ended it seems like a moot point. GRADE: F

Coaching: It was mentioned earlier, but Derek Dooley will probably never want to play the end of close games ever again. After suffering this and the LSU clock debacle earlier this season, Dooley will lead the charge for a rules overhaul in regards to the punishments for substitutions I'm sure. But the blame will have to fall on Dooley as well for the penalties that cost them the game. Discipline issues in the college game will fall on the coaches as much as the players, and those three personal fouls in roughly a minute of gameplay changed the game entirely. GRADE: D

FINAL GRADE: Are you kidding me? Not to go all "standardized test," but if this game is graded in comparison to it's peers it is easily an A++. Not many games before today have carried this kind of impact on the entire college football community. Not to blow anything out of proportion, but this may the spark that gets the last minute run-off instituted in college football for offensive penalties. It does not belittle what North Carolina did in any way (the rule isn't in place), but it may be the last time it occurs ever again in college football. At least you have that kind of potential for historic significance. GRADE: A
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Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 1:25 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Music City Bowl

Powerful features, numerous cheers on the ghost writer. It is always baffling if you ask me actually, yet as a rule, the exact potency as well as the valuation might be overwhelming.



Since: Dec 13, 2007
Posted on: December 31, 2010 1:16 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Music City Bowl

Yes, this game gets a high rating as a Cliff hanger but some of the other bowls have been almost as good, hard to judge and perhaps the last 20 seconds of craziness would have been spared if the proper call on a late hit, personal foul had been called against Tennessee. I think the officials may have had cold feet to do that since they just called that other personal foul on the sideline catch that was probably a catch but we can't tell for sure from the camera angle. Yes, in the end, NC probably deserved the win but the whole thing got to be a bit of a fluke with full respect to both teams. Yes, maybe college ball will instill that ten second run off, it was a crazy ending but the NC kicker made a clutch play in getting that field goal.



Since: Aug 16, 2009
Posted on: December 31, 2010 3:31 am
 

Bowl Grades: Music City Bowl

These two teams have not met since 1961, and never in a bowl game.  After tonite's blockbuster, this could be one huge rivalry and the powers that be in TV sports should try and get this series revived.   This game was fantastic with big plays, lots of background stories, a sell-out crowd, a missed extra-point, scores of penalties, several turnovers, two overtimes and a partridge in a pear tree!  As Chip Patterson said, this bowl game was def an A!!!!!


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