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John Bunting has been saying for
quite a while now, “If you want to
beat the best, you’ve got to play
the best,” using this reasoning for tak
ing on the awesome challenge of play
ing defending national champion
Oklahoma in his first game as coach at
Carolina did not
upset and stun
the Sooners, fin
ishing the game
on the bad side
of a 41-27 score.
But the Tar
tions that had
them before the season’s start.
First, and maybe foremost, there is
life beyond Ronald Cuny. During
UNC’s media day, when asked about
his backups, Curry said, “hopefully,”
there would not be any need for them.
But Saturday was not Curry’s day,
and the decision to pull him in the
third quarter was a sound one. Backup
Dari an Durant needed to take snaps in
a five game, not just some scrimmage
against the rest of the Tar Heels.
Durant gave UNC hope, and in the
fourth quarter threw a pair of touch
down passes to two unlikely candidates
- backup wideout Chesley Borders
and tailback-tumed-wide receiver
Brandon Russell. He also led the Tar
Heels so close to a eight-point deficit,
you could almost sense the heart
attacks on Oklahoma’s sidelines.
Curry is UNC’s quarterback, but at
least Bunting can sleep better at night
knowing that if Curry goes down, die
rest of die season doesn’t go with him.
Durant was 12 for 26 for 152 yards
in a quarter-plus worth of action. He
mounted the offensive drive culminat
ing in Borders’ 26-yard touchdown.
UNC has to feel good about that.
UNC also has to feel good about
itself. Down 24-0 in the blink of an eye,
they did not give up. Julius Peppers took
advantage of an inexperienced quarter
back to put UNC on the board, and
when ESPN panned to the sidelines, the
team’s excitement was palpable.
Bunting was hyped. The players
jumped up and down screaming. They
might have been in a hole, but there
was still fight in them. That is new.
In recent years, Florida State has
slapped UNC every which way early
on, so it’s not like OLTs lead was any
thing new. But when it’s your own fault
and not Peter Warrick that put you far
behind, it’s harder to bounce back.
The Tar Heels’ drive chart went like
this in the first quarter - fumble, punt,
fumble, punt, fumble, punt, touchdown.
By comparison, Oklahoma’s was field
goal, touchdown, touchdown, punt,
touchdown, interception, touchdown.
Immediately after Peppers picked
off Nate Hybl, Antwone Savage
returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touch
down. That’s just the sort of thing that
should have killed UNC.
It did not, and Bunting has to feel
good about that. Down 41-14 at the
half, the Tar Heels looked so far out of
the game, it seemed like they were in
To be a fly on the wall during that
halftime would have been fascinating.
Curry’s evening had only gotten worse
from his fumble on the second down
of UNC’s first series. Bunting got a
view of how poorly the Tar Heels -
who finished 113th in the nation last
season in turnovers - could play. The
only things UNC had going for it was
Peppers’ interception and a kickoff
return for a TD by Michael Waddell,
who fumbled earlier at the UNC 33
after being hit by the Sooners’ punter.
Stiff, they came back. They cut back
on stupid mental errors. The defense
did not let Oklahoma score in the sec
ond half. And in the fourth, a redshirt
freshman without a lick of college expe
rience cut OLPs lead nearly in half.
True, the Tar Heels learned there’s
still plenty of problems too. The run
ning game looked terrible. Turnovers
dug UNC in insurmountable hole.
And Curry was sacked three times.
But after game one, UNC learned
that it has character, and that might be
the most important lesson of all.
Rachel Carter can be reached at
Lack of Fitness Leads to Women's Soccer Loss
The top-ranked Tar Heels
struggled to keep up with
the No. 5 Cornhuskers in
their first exhibition game.
By Kelly Lusk
Assistant Sports Editor
Certain members of the North
Carolina women’s soccer team spent too
much time this summer sitting on then-
And in the
I Wome' s*xr
top-ranked, defending national champi
on Tar Heels’ 1-0 loss to No. 5 Nebraska,
UNC’s lack of fitness was apparent and
“One of the things we weren’t happy
with coming into the preseason was our
fitness base,” Dorrance said. “They
Durant Shines in Debut As Curry Falters
HittL | s j,
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Oklahoma's Brandon Shelby sacks North Carolina's Ronald Curry (1) during the second half Saturday in Norman, Okla.
Field Hockey, Men's Soccer Score Road Victories
The No. 2 North Carolina
field hockey team shut out
Connecticut to earn its first
win of the 2001 season.
The North Carolina field hockey
team opened its season Saturday after
noon with a 4-0 win against Connecticut
in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
The game was a homecoming for
UNC senior midfielder Abby Martin,
UNC’s lack of
in the 71st minute
when the Tar Heel
to clear the ball
but instead served
it to freshman
lofted a shot from
25 yards out that
attempted four of
six shots on goal
in the first half.
“We got the ball in some dangerous
positions and made some very poor
decisions with it,” Dorrance said. “Their
speed of play and pressure disrupted our
ability to made good decisions and play
Neither team had much composure
at the start of the match. Both squads
struggled to connect passes and find
llns v <:< l f)l(l
who is from Saratoga Springs. She
scored the Tar Heels’ first goal 26:02
into the first half. Martin, a third-team
scored on a
scored the sec-
See Page 9
ond goal on an assist from freshman
Charlotte Plugge with 8:03 left in the
their offensive rhythm. Senior midfield
er Jena Kluegel, who played with the
U.S. National Team this summer,
attempted four of UNC’s six shots on
goal in the first half.
One of her tries was the closest the
Tar Heels came to scoring. In the 21st
minute, Kluegel made a break down the
left side of the field and booted the ball
at Comhusker goalkeeper Erin Miller.
Miller barely got her left hand on the
ball and tipped it over the crossbar.
“We had our chances, and now we
just need to work on sticking them,”
She agreed the team’s intensity is not
up to par, and that was the biggest rea
son for the loss.
“We need to be able to play hard for 90
minutes,” Kluegel said. “We need to come
out and play every game like it’s our last.
That’s a characteristic of last year’s team
throughout the NCAA Tournament that
we’re missing right now.”
It’s not as if the Tar Heels didn’t try to
See WOMEN'S SOCCER, Page 9
At 27:35 of the second half, freshman
Kesley Keeran tallied the Tar Heels’
third goal with another assist from
Plugge. Senior back Susan Hayes added
a fourth goal with 11:10 left in the sec
ond half. The goal the first in Hayes’
UNC opens its home season
Saturday and Sunday against Penn State
and Virginia Commonwealth at Henry
Men's Soccer Tops UMass
The fifth-ranked North Carolina
Tiger Woods (left)
finished with a birdie
to defeat Jim Furyk
on their seventh
playoff hole to win
the NEC Invitational.
See Page 9
4 W • i
North Carolina freshman forward Anne Morrell tries to keep the ball
from Nebraska's Danica Carey during Friday's game at Fetzer Field.
UNC coach John Bunting said Ronald Curry
is the quarterback, but redshirt freshman
Darian Durant had a better night in Norman
By James Giza
Sport Saturday Editor
NORMAN, Okla. - Quarterback controversy? Could be
a bit premature.
Quarterback intrigue? That sounds more like it.
The speculation about the starting quarterback job for the
North Carolina football team officially began in the Tar
Heels’ 41-27 loss to No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday night.
In one comer: Ronald Curry, senior.
In the other: Darian Durant, redshirt freshman.
After Durant replaced Curry toward the end of the third
quarter and guided the Tar Heels to their only two touch
down drives of the game, what seemed an absolute certain
ty heading into the season - Curry as permanent starter -
suddenly was tinged with a bit of doubt.
But UNC coach John Bunting made the status of the posi
tion clear after the game.
“Ronald Curry’s my quarterback right now,” Bunting
said. “But Darian’s going to play some football for us this
year, there’s no doubt about it. He’s a playmaker.”
Incumbent starter Curry, who came to UNC four years
ago as one of the most heralded freshmen in the nation,
looked like the same Curry of the past few seasons, missing
his receivers badly and generally appearing uncomfortable.
With about four minutes left in the third quarter,
Oklahoma linebacker Rocky Calmus sacked Curry on the
last play of the quarterback’s final series, leaving him 5-of-14
for 74 yards with an interception that was returned for a
“I don’t think I played well,” said Curry, who was picked
off by Oklahoma comerback Derrick Strait in the second
“I think that Darian came in and did an excellent job. I
feel like if I would have played the way Darian played, then
we probably would have won the game.”
Durant, after a three-and-out on his first series, guided the
Tar Heels on a six-play, 86-yard touchdown drive that cut
OU’s lead to 41-21 with 14:09 left in the game. He was
3-of-5 for 49 yards for the series, broke off a 19-yard run and
capped the drive with a 26-yard strike to Chesley Borders.
On UNC’s next possession, Durant hit wideout Kory
Bailey for a 42-yard gain on fourth-and-10, setting up a 1-
yard TD pass to Brandon Russell. He finished 12 of 26 for
152 yards and also led the team with 41 yards rushing.
“Ever since high school, I’ve been able to make plays,”
said Durant, who, like Curry, has a strong arm and good
“And that was my goal, just to go out there and make a
couple plays. And it turned out that I had a pretty good
But Durant also played down any possible controversy.
“Ronald’s still the man,” Durant said.
“And my job is just to come and relieve him from time to
time and get a little bit of experience right now. So he’s still
“There’s no kind of controversy whatsoever.”
The Sports Editor can be reached at email@example.com.
I IL£ I
men’s soccer team
2-0 on Saturday
night in Chicopee,
Mass., in its first
exhibition game of
the 2001 season.
The Tar Heels
got on the board
early with goals
from Mike Gell in
the second minute
of the contest and
Ryan Kneipper in
the 10th minute.
scored a goal in her
UConn on Saturday.
■ Men's tennis
■ Swimming wins
award Page 9
■ Weinke named
Gell’s goal came after UMass junior
Bryan O’Quinn stopped a Noz
Yamauchi shot. Gell hit a shot in the top
corner off the rebound. Kneipper’s tally
came just eight minutes later, and fresh
man Tim Merritt assisted on the play.
“I don’t think we were ready to play
in the first 10 minutes," UMass coach
Sam Koch said. “They scored two great
goals early, but I think we settled down
after the second one.”
North Carolina will begin regular-sea
son play next weekend when they host
East Carolina and Appalachian State on
Friday and Monday evenings.