University of North Carolina Tar Heels Football


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UNC Tar Heels at Kenan Memorial Stadium

Chapel Hill, NC, is home to the University of North Carolina and one of the premier teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tar Heels play at Kenan Memorial Stadium, which opened in 1927, and after recent renovations has a current capacity of 50,500. Originally named after local industrialist William Rand Kenan Sr., the stadium was re-dedicated in honor of his son William R. Kenan Jr. in 2018. In 2019, legendary head coach Mack Brown returned to the school where he first gained national prominence, leading the Tar Heels from 1988 to 1997 before winning the 2005 BCS National Championship with Texas.

UNC Tar Heels Football History

The University of North Carolina first fielded a varsity football team in 1888. John Heisman credited UNC with throwing the first forward pass in college football during an 1895 game against Georgia, leading to a touchdown which clinched a 6-0 victory over the Bulldogs. North Carolina has won eight conference championships: three in the Southern Conference, and five in the ACC, the most recent occurring in 1980. Many legendary players have played for the Tar Heels, including defensive ends William Fuller and Julius Peppers, and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Chris Hanburger. In 2017, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was selected with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, after throwing for 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns in his junior season.

UNC's biggest rivalry by far is against the Duke Blue Devils, dating as far back as 1888 when Duke University was known as Trinity College. Since 1948, both teams have contested for the Victory Bell, which is painted in the winning team's color after each game. North Carolina also has spirited rivalries against its other in-state rivals, North Carolina State and Wake Forest, and participates in the South's Oldest Rivalry against the University of Virginia, which dates to 1892. North Carolina occasionally faces former ACC opponent South Carolina in the Battle of the Carolinas, with UNC beating the Gamecocks 24-20 in the opening week of 2019.