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September 15, 2012LOUISVILLE, Ky.--- It may not have looked as bad on the scoreboard as the last time North Carolina played at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, but Saturday's 39-34 loss at Louisville Saturday afternoon sure felt similar at times to the 69-14 shellacking John Bunting's UNC team took there back in 2005.
The Cardinals (3-0) did whatever they wanted offensively in the first half, amassing over 10 yards a play on average while scoring every time they had the ball.
It was a painful, demoralizing half of football for the visitors that resulted in UNC trailing at the intermission, 36-7.
The Cards added a field goal early in the fourth quarter to take a 39-14 advantage, and at that point in the ball game they had doubled UNC's time of possession, with over 30 minutes of ball control to North Carolina's 15.
It was gut-check time for UNC and with the odds seemingly stacked overwhelmingly against them, they manned up in a big way, scoring on three successive drives to remarkably pull within 39-34 and give themselves a chance to win.
And following a recovered fumble, UNC amazingly had the ball deep in Louisville territory with a chance to take the lead. Carolina moved inside the Cardinal 5-yard line before a fateful fourth down play in which Erik Highsmith had his hands on the ball but couldn't come down with it amidst double-team coverage.
"What we did learn about the Tar Heels is they've got a lot of fight in them," said UNC head coach Larry Fedora immediately after the game.
With the tough loss, Carolina falls to 1-2 on the young season heading into next week's game at home against East Carolina.
Stay tuned for full postgame coverage here at Tar Heel Illustrated.