Tar Heels to host Miami for Thursday-night football
North Carolina will have two chances to show off its explosive offense on ESPN’s Thursday night college football schedule.
The Tar Heels will open the season at South Carolina on Aug. 29 and will host their second ESPN Thursday night game on Oct. 17 against Miami at Kenan Stadium.
Though the opponents and locations previously had been announced, the ACC released the exact dates for each matchup on Monday. No times have been determined.
UNC (8-4, 5-3 ACC), Miami and Georgia Tech all tied for first in the Coastal Division in 2012, though the Yellow Jackets advanced to the ACC championship game as the only team that was eligible for the postseason.
The only other ESPN Thursday night game at Kenan Stadium was against Florida State in 2009, when the arrival of thousands of fans caused logistical problems on campus for students, university employees and hospital workers. But UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said he began meeting with campus officials several weeks ago to iron out any issues, though the game will be played during UNC’s fall break.
“A Thursday night home game is an excellent platform to promote the university and showcase our campus in primetime on ESPN,” Cunningham said in a statement. “The feedback I received from those involved with the 2009 contest was extremely positive. It was a successful and unique event for our university community and economically benefitted the town of Chapel Hill.”
UNC will be visiting Columbia for the first time in 23 years The Gamecocks finished eighth in the final AP poll this past season and feature potential Heisman Trophy candidate Jadeveon Clowney.
“Opening the season on the road at South Carolina is a great motivator for our offseason workouts and provides us with a tremendous opportunity on national television,” UNC coach Larry Fedora said.
UNC is 6-4 on ESPN Thursday night games, including a 37-13 win last year at Virginia.
After finishing the 2012 season against Maryland, UNC will close out the regular season against Duke on Nov. 30. The Tar Heels and Blue Devils have met on the last weekend in 38 of the past 46 years, though they played on Oct. 20, 2012, when the Blue Devils won for the first time since 2003.
The Tar Heels will have their home opener against Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 7. UNC will then have a bye week before opening ACC play at Georgia Tech on Sept. 21.
Having extra time before playing the Yellow Jackets is thought to be an advantage, since it gives teams more practice against Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense. But UNC had a bye before facing the Yellow Jackets this past season and wound up allowing a school-record 68 points.
UNC will play East Carolina for the fourth straight year on Sept. 28, then travel to Virginia Tech on Oct. 5 before hosting Miami.
The Tar Heels will host Boston College, their Atlantic Division crossover opponent, on Oct. 26, and then play at N.C. State in Raleigh on Nov. 2. The Tar Heels were shut out in their last trip to Raleigh and haven’t won there since 2005.
UNC will resume the south’s oldest rivalry when it hosts Virginia on Nov. 9, then go on the road for its first conference game against Pittsburgh on Nov. 16. The Panthers are joining the ACC for the 2013 season, and UNC hasn’t played at Pittsburgh since 1990. The teams most recently met in the 2009 Car Care Bowl, which the Tar Heels lost 19-17.
UNC will host Old Dominion, an FCS level program, on Nov. 23, and then will try to get the Victory Bell back when it plays Duke on Thanksgiving weekend.
The Tar Heels open spring practice on March 6 and will play their spring game on April 13 at 3 p.m.
2013 UNC Football Schedule
Aug. 29 at South Carolina, ESPN
Sept. 7 Middle Tennessee
Sept. 14 Open
Sept. 21 at Georgia Tech
Sept. 28 East Carolina
Oct. 5 at Virginia Tech
Oct. 12 Open
Oct. 17 Miami, ESPN
Oct. 26 Boston College
Nov. 2 at N.C. State
Nov. 9 Virginia
Nov. 16 at Pittsburgh
Nov. 23 Old Dominion
Nov. 30 Duke