Staff photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Dec 30 2010 - Coach Derek Dooley reacts during the Music City Bowl in Nashville on Thursday evening.
NASHVILLE - After further review, college football finishes can be crazier than LSU and Tennessee earlier this season.
For the second time this season, the Volunteers were forced to head back on the field to complete a game they thought they'd already won.
And for the second time this season, they suffered another stomach-punching loss that probably won't ever be forgotten.
Casey Barth's 22-yard field goal in second overtime, moments after UT true freshman quarterback Tyler Bray was intercepted, lifted North Carolina to an even-wilder-than-LSU, 30-27 win over the Vols.
The game seemed nearly complete when North Carolina took over at its own 20-yard line, trailing 20-17 with 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter. North Carolina completed a long pass on first down, though, and UT sophomore safety Janzen Jackson was penalized for a personal foul, giving the Tar Heels 15 more yards. UNC then completed a 12-yard pass to the 25 before shockingly trying a run play with 14 seconds left.
UNC quarterback T.J. Yates spiked the ball with 1 second left on the clock, and several extra Tar Heels still on the field. Unlike the NFL, where time is run off the clock for a similar penalty - which would have ended the game the Heels were simply penalized and given time to kick a 39-yard field goal as time expired. Barth made the kick, sending the game to overtime.
A long instant replay review was needed before officials ruled the game wasn¹t over and put North Carolina back on the field. UT fans - who were approximately 90 percent of the crowd - booed loudly and pelted the field with debris.
The game started normally enough, though.
North Carolina struck first, and it struck fast. Senior tailback Shaun Draughn took a simple hand-off, broke free down the left sideline, juked Jackson and breezed in for a 58-yard touchdown with 10:58 left in the first quarter - the Tar Heels' third play from scrimmage.
The Vols came back late in the quarter. Bray used a playaction end around and took advantage of busted coverage to find senior wide receiver Gerald Jones wide open for a 29-yard score.
UNC re-took the lead at 10-7 on Barth's 28-yard field goal early in the second quarter, and the Heels led at halftime after the teams traded big passing plays in the half's final two minutes.
True freshman wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers, a former Calhoun High School star, gave UT its first lead on a 45-yard touchdown with 1:30 left in the half. The Heels answered quickly, though, on Erik Highsmith's 39-yard touchdown catch with 0:27 left in the half.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, and the Vols re-took the lead with 5:16 left in regulation on Bray's 8-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Justin Hunter. Daniel Lincoln's extra point was blocked, though, allowing North Carolina the chance to re-tie the score with a field goal.
The teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime - Yates snuck over the goalline, and then UT senior tight end Luke Stocker answered with a spectacular, 20-yard catch.
Contact Wes Rucker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-851-9739. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/wesruckerCTFP or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tfpvolsbeat.