North Carolina’s Gio Bernard returned a punt 74 yards with just 13 seconds left to give North Carolina a 43-35 victory over rival N. C. State this evening. The victory ends a five year losing streak for UNC in the series.
Click here to watch video of Bernard’s punt return.
North Carolina hadn’t beaten its in-state rival since Tom O’Brien became head coach of the Wolfpack in 2007.
Even without the punt return Bernard had a terrific game, as he ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught eight passes for 95 yards.
“I still can’t believe it,” Bernard said after the game. “I’m still shaking right now.”
Following the game the Tarheels were elated.
“This wasn’t just a regular win,” senior defensive tackle Sylvester Williams said. “This wasn’t us going out and playing against any other school. This was a team we wanted to beat and we’ve been harping on beating all year.”
“It felt like we did something right, something that needed to be done — not only for us but for everyone,” tight end Eric Ebron concurred.
Inside Carolina tweeted, “Per Gio, Roy Smith was supposed to field the final punt. Bernard waved him off and decided to take the kick.”
One Carolina fan tweeted, “this man Gio Bernard is not a human being”
The victory leaves North Carolina 6-3 on the season with games left against Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Maryland. N. C. State is 5-3 and still must play Virginia, Wake Forest, Clemson, and Boston College.
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Video – Ohio State video game halftime performance