While driving to Charlottesville, I was discussing the upcoming game with my friend. They are not well versed in Carolina football history and chalking this game up as a win before we arrived in Charlottesville. It was hard to explain that there may be a "curse" of some kind for Mack Brown led squads at UVA. I was looking forward to being the bad guy at an away game and being outside the comfortable element of Kenan Stadium.
Before arriving in Charlottesville, we were greeted with traffic even 30 minutes from the stadium. I texted my UVA buddy saying "What's up with this traffic man, ya'll need to fix this" his response was that it's unfixable and just the way it always is. We finally arrived in Charlottesville with our sights set on finding a good tailgate spot. While stopping by a 7:11 to grab tailgating supplies, I asked the cashier where the best place to tailgate was. He told me that we were a mere block away from the area that we sought.
Pulling into the lot across from the baseball diamond I knew that we were in the right place. There were flags waving, cornhole being played, and an UVA football radio show taking place a few spots down from us. We made the rounds in the parking lot with our trusty He's Not Here cups in our hand, receiving compliments from the Tar Heel faithful on them. There was a rivalry feel in the air, but not one like a game against North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (NC State). This had the feeling of a gentlemanly rivalry, and the Wahoos were extremely hospitable.
Arriving in the Carolina section of the stadium before the game, there was a quiet calmness amongst the UNC fans. Sitting above the visiting side tunnel, you could hear the coaches with a few choice words about UVA. You could tell there was an extra edge to this game. Before the game I was relaxed. It seemed as though this game couldn't be close, can it? There's no way. Then the game began. UVA marched down the field and punched the Tar Heels in the mouth. After this I started hearing dissension within the Carolina section. "We're cursed" "We can't win here" "This is a trap game". While I was discouraged with the first half, I felt as though we wouldn't lose this game. If this was last year, I would have agreed with those statements and the Tar Heels would more than likely lose the game. However, this team is different, and the resiliency and grit of this team showed. It was nice to see Mack excited after the game. He waved at the fans and showed appreciation for the solid turnout.
Walking out of the stadium, I just shook my head and said "they did it again" There was a collective sigh of relief from the fans at the game and all over the country as well. Can they keep winning these close games? Or are we just lucky that "the Coastal is a bad division". Detractors will try to drag this team down but 8-1 is 8-1. I'm just enjoying the ride.