CFB: North Carolina beats Tennesssee 30-27 in double OT
AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Casey Barth kicked a 23-yard field goal in the second overtime to send North Carolina past Tennessee 30-27 in a Music City Bowl that will be remembered much more for the crazy finish of regulation than how it ended Thursday night.
Barth kicked a 39-yard field goal after officials reviewed what had been the final play of the game and decided to penalize the Tar Heels (8-5) for having “more than 11 men” on the field. The Big Ten officiating crew also announced T.J. Yates had spiked the ball with 1 second left.
That allowed Barth to run out and kick the field goal that tied it at 20.
Tennessee (6-7) was stunned at the sudden switch that cost the Vols an apparent bowl victory to cap Derek Dooley’s first season. Tyler Bray threw a 25-yard TD in the first overtime, but Quan Sturdivant picked him off to end the Vols’ last chance in the second OT.
This is the second time this season that Tennessee has lost a game because of too many men on the field. The Vols lost to LSU on Oct. 2 when they got caught having too many defenders, giving the Tigers another chance to pull out a 16-14 win.
“It was chaos again,” Dooley said.
This will hurt much more. Tennessee had the home-field advantage with LP Field painted orange from top to bottom, and the Vols’ fans had been celebrating ever since Bray’s 8-yard TD pass to Justin Hunter put them up 20-17 with 5:16 left.
But Donte Paige-Moss blocked Daniel Lincoln’s extra point, and that provided the edge North Carolina needed to force overtime with Barth’s second field goal.
Tennessee had a chance to clinch the victory when the Vols got the ball back with 1:36 left but punted it back to North Carolina with 31 seconds remaining to set up the bizarre finish.
Everyone was on the field after the clock appeared to run out when North Carolina got caught – and flagged – with too many men on the field. A handful of Tar Heels were running toward the sideline when Yates took the snap and spiked the ball with the holder behind him as if preparing for a field-goal attempt.
North Carolina coach Butch Davis took the blame for the confusion. He said the offensive players were doing what they’d been told a couple plays before, while the field-goal unit started running out.
The Vols started celebrating with the Tar Heels dejected. Officials suddenly announced that the end was under review. They announced the replay showed North Carolina had “more than 11” players on the field for a 5-yard penalty. But they said Yates had spiked the ball with 1 second remaining.
Dooley noted college football doesn’t have the NFL rule that would have run out the clock to punish the offense for the penalty. Davis, who coached the Cleveland Browns for four seasons and won two Super Bowls as an assistant in Dallas, said, “Our game isn’t the NFL.”
Barth ran out, and he kicked the field goal to force overtime.
Angry fans began tossing bottles and other trash onto the field. Tennessee defensive end Gerald Williams chucked his helmet in disgust, bouncing it down the field. Officials threw yet another flag, this one for unsportsmanlike conduct.
That set North Carolina up in the first overtime at the Tennessee 12, and Yates scored on a 1-yard keeper to put the Tar Heels up 27-20.
Bray answered almost immediately. He found Luke Stocker with a 25-yard TD on the very next play. This time, Lincoln kicked the extra point to tie it.
North Carolina chose to go on defense in the second overtime. Sturdivant intercepted Bray on second-and-9 to give the Tar Heels a chance at victory.
The Tar Heels intercepted Bray three times and finished with four sacks. North Carolina also held Tennessee to 27 yards rushing on 29 attempts, outgaining the Vols 385-339 in total offense. Shaun Draughn ran for 160 yards and a TD, and Yates threw for 234 yards and a score.
Yates scored on a 1-yard keeper for North Carolina in the first overtime, and Draughn helped moved the Tar Heels down to the Vols 6. Davis ran Barth out for the winning field goal to spark a North Carolina celebration while a couple of Vols slumped to the field in disbelief.