Post-Game Quotes • Oct. 27, 2012
North Carolina 43, NC State 35
"That was a lot of fun. It was obviously a wild game, lot of things going back and forth. We had talked about during the week that it didn't matter what happened in the first couple plays of the game. It didn't matter what happened in the second quarter, third quarter. It was going to come down to the last possession. We really believed that and the kids bought into that. They bought into it and they believed that we were going to win the football game. That's the reason we won the football game because they believed that."
On Giovani Bernard's game-winning play
"He had rolled his ankle a little bit so we took him off the punt return. He's a guy that when a play needs to be made, he wants to be out there. He wants the ball in his hands. I promise you he was one of those kids that was always wanting to take the last-second shot in the backyard. He's just one of those guys. He wants the ball in his hands. He wants the opportunity to make a play. Some people look at that, they get nervous, they get scared because everybody's looking at me in the situation - not him. That's when he excels."
On who was supposed to return the punt
"I knew he was going out before I called the return. I saw that. It would have been Roy who would have been going out there. If I thought that Gio was 100-percent and I don't think he was 100-percent the whole whatever the last two quarters when he rolled his ankle, I don't think he was, but he willed himself to be. He made a great play. And look, you've got to give those other 10 guys a lot of credit because I don't think anybody touched him. He just called it and ran, so you've got to give those guys some credit."
On preparing for this game
"There wasn't a whole lot of talking about it, actually. I told them at the beginning of the week, 'Surely I don't have to say anything.' They know what this game meant and those seniors - they had never done it. Those guys did some talking. Cooper said some things last night and Sly said some things last night. Reddick would have said some things but he had an IV in his arm and was sick as a dog. He couldn't be with us last night. We had a few guys like that. We had guys all through the week that were like that because they were sick. It was just a bunch of kids that played hard together and believed in each other and got it done.
On their offensive play calls late in the game
"Well we wanted to get a little bit of field position and get the ball out a little bit and then we wanted to continue to attack. We didn't want to think that we could just sit on a three-point lead. We had been successful throwing the ball the whole time. We had a chance with Underwood running wide open down the boundary and we missed him."
On the final punt return
"I think at that point you just want to kick it and get it out of there. I think we might have over-kicked it. He hadn't hit the ball real good all day and that's probably the deepest kick he hit. What you want to do is just kick it high in the air and make him fair catch it, which we'd been doing. We had the wind behind us and the wind took it but still you have to cover and make a tackle"
On his team's defense
"[Carolina] came out and two of the plays were a reverse pass and reverse. We practiced all of the trick stuff. I wasn't anything that we didn't expect. They hit two of them like that and then we fumbled the ball. Other than that, when we got down to playing football, we played well."
On Carolina's energy
"We expected the first quarter blitz. When you're in a situation like this and all the hype that's gone on...they haven't won in five years, it's a home game, they've been spending all year getting ready for it...you expect them to blitz coming out with that in the first quarter. That's the way these games go. You have to survive it."
UNC Player Quotes
On the Importance of this game
"We were able to come out victorious. It was a big deal for us. And I preached on this last night about how I wanted to do this not for myself, but for the seniors, for my teammates, for the coaches, for everyone who is affiliated with this program. Take this opportunity and say, 'We're going to get these guys, we're going to bring them down.' They beat us the last couple years, but we finally came out big this year. We had great intensity all game, there was a lot of adversity but I'm really glad we got this win."
Most exciting game he's played in
"This is the most exciting game I've played in. Not from the aspect of how it happened, because when you've got a guy like Giovani Bernard, best running back in the nation, it's always something happening. Giovani's a great player and the way it ended, it shows the fight we have. That last kickoff showed we have a lot of fight in us. He ran his heart out. I'm proud of the guys."
On the players getting frustrated during the game
"No, not at all. We were made for this. No matter how many points we were down, we kept fighting back."
On practicing defense
"This is my first week practicing...and I did it for about 30 minutes. They told me Tuesday and I didn't practice it until Friday."
On the importance of the game
"I'm glad I stayed in the game this time. It's great knowing that my teammates and I beat State. I'm kind of speechless right now. I'm going to lean on this game going into the bye week. This is tremendously big for the coaching staff. Beating your in-state rival is big for the school and the coaching staff. Just something else on the resume. And I know it's big for us, because now we can go around talking trash around town."
On being sick
"It was like 80 degrees in the room and it felt like it was 30. It was just something that was bugging me. I thought I had the flu. I was going to play regardless. I told the coaches, because the guys want me to play. Some times you just got to play."
"As a team, we're just very blessed to have him. Very humble kid. The play he made was unbelievable."
On the locker room
"You make memories like that. I'll never forget as long as I live. It's something you can cherish as a team, and these are the guys I'll be friends with for the rest of my life...I absolutely cried. Unbelievable play by Gio. After you battle and battle, for him to come up with a great play. I told him to check himself into the play for the punt, and we needed a big return and it's unbelievable what he did today."
On his game-winning play
"It was just digging deep. This entire team, this is something that we faced the entire year - adversity. We were down and we wanted to make something happen. Each and every single game we face some kind of adversity and coach Fedora stressed that adversity, how we face it, calling the right plays and taking it head on. That last play is something that this entire team knew what we had to do and we were able to accomplish it."
On not being out to return the punt originally
"I kind of waived somebody off. I told my backup punt returner, 'Let me try to see what I can do on this one.' It was something that I had to dig deep in myself. My ankle was bothering me a little bit. I went down earlier in the game and I had to tough it through. That's the type of player that I am and that's the type of team that we are. We just had to take it on and see what we could do with it."
If the coaches knew he was making the play
"I don't think so. At the last second, once I saw who we were returning I said, 'Man, let me get this one.' Coach Fedora, that's the type of player he wants on his team - the guy that would take adversity right on and we were able to do that."
On the play
"That's my favorite punt return. That's the same punt return, same call that we did against Elon. That's my favorite punt return. Once I saw that I had to get in there. I had to tell myself to get in there no matter how bad my ankle was hurting. It was something you have to dig deep and do."
On what he saw while making the play
"To my right, that's where the player was supposed to be going, I saw all blue jerseys, the dark blue. So I knew I had a wall coming back at me. I saw one of my guys. I just started yelling, 'Go, go, go, go.' I can't remember who was in front of me who was able to block the punter and I was able to out run the last guy. I still can't believe it. I'm still shaking right now. After that I started crying. I couldn't hold my emotions back."