Before Saturday evening, no Tar Heel team in history had known exactly what it would take to beat Florida State in Doak Campbell Stadium. Sure, they’d had ideas, but were never able to execute a winning game plan. Saturday, that was ancient history.
To beat a desperate Florida State team desperate to stay in the ACC’s Atlantic Division race, it took a career performance from T.J. Yates. It took another supreme effort from Dwight Jones. It took halftime adjustments from the Tar Heel defense to shut down an efficient Seminole attack. It took luck. And it took what Butch Davis called a secret weapon: sophomore tailback Hunter Furr.
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“We were waiting until the last three minutes of the Florida State game to spring him on everybody,” Davis said with a laugh after the game. Furr had just three rushes, but when the Tar Heels needed a reliable runner to move the ball, he answered the call.
The snakebitten Johnny White broke his collarbone in the first half, ending the best season of his career. Shaun Draughn sprained his ankle in the second half and was unavailable the rest of the way. Ryan Houston, who has not played this season and could potentially redshirt, did not travel to Tallahassee. For the most important time of the game, Carolina was down to backup fullback and one-time tailback Anthony Elzy, and Furr. The sophomore (who could have been considered the fifth-string tailback) had spent the last six weeks on the scout team, mimicking upcoming opponents to prepare the Tar Heel defense.