Local News

Players, Fans Return from Gator Bowl

Posted January 2, 1998 12:00 a.m. EST

— What a year for the North Carolina Tar Heels! Thursday they wrapped up one of their best seasons ever with a stunning defeat over the Virginia Tech Hokies.

The Tar Heels came out of the gate running and never looked back. UNC struck first and often in Jacksonville. Quarterback Chris Keldorf threw for 161 yards in the first quarter alone. It was an impressive debut for new head coach Carl Torbush, one that left an impression on the many fans who made the trip to the Sunshine State.

You would think after a long day in the Gator Bowl and a flight back to RDU, Tar Heel fans might feel a little weary. That just wasn't the case as WRAL'sLen Besthoffmet the masses. Among the most pumped up folks on hand, UNC coach Carl Torbush.

"As a football team, I think this was the best game we played all year," Torbush explained. "I think we really put in together offensively, defensively with the special teams. For the first time this year, we played some good halves. This is truly the first four quarters we have put together."

UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour isn't sure how the outcome of the game will affect the team's final standing. He believes the team will either remain at number five or get bumped up to number four.

Tar Heel fan Bill Moore was beaming as he deplaned at RDU. He says the team is very supportive of their new coach. For Moore the trip was a very good time. He hopes the Heels can play for a national title next year.

In spite of Torbush's triumph, he has no plans to coach another game from the press box.

"I don't see that it's feasible, the reason being that next year I need to be the head coach of the university," said Torbush. "Today I was the head coach, but more so the defensive coordinator. I think going into the Spring, we'll have to make some adjustments so I can get acclimated to doing what I'd like to do on the field instead of the press box."

The 11-win season is only the third the team has had in 107 years. The 42 points scored in the Gator Bowl are the most scored in UNC's 22 bowl appearances.