Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

North Carolina Tar Heels 37, No. 24 Florida State Seminoles 35

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State sophomore kicker Dustin Hopkins had been imagining, longing for even, the chance at a field goal to win a game in the waning moments and succeed where so many of his predecessors had famously failed.

He had his shot Saturday, a 40-yarder, with the Seminoles trailing North Carolina by two and seven seconds left.

"I was really thankful for the opportunity God put on my plate," he said.

But Hopkins, who missed a 42-yarder wide right earlier in the fourth quarter, pushed this attempt in the same direction, sealing the Tar Heels' dramatic 37-35 win at Doak Campbell Stadium and giving the Seminoles their second straight last-minute loss.

"I hate it for him, I hate it for us, but that's ball," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said.

"He missed it."

The No. 24-ranked Seminoles (6-3, 4-2) entered needing help in the ACC's Atlantic Division after a 28-24 loss Oct. 28 at North Carolina State, in which quarterback Christian Ponder lost a fumble on a second-and-goal play from the 4. They got it, too, as Clemson upset N.C. State and Miami beat Maryland before FSU's game began.

Not that the Seminoles took advantage.

Credit the resilient Tar Heels (6-3, 3-2), who have overcome the impact of an agent scandal and an ongoing investigation into possible academic misconduct that has resulted in 13 scholarship players missing at least one game.

Credit senior quarterback T.J. Yates, too. He threw for three touchdowns and a school-record 439 yards — the most against FSU since Florida's Danny Wuerffel put up 443 yards in a win in 1995. And after a botched punt that led to an FSU touchdown, Yates led his team 72 yards in 12 plays, setting up a go-ahead 22-yard field goal by Casey Barth, whose brother Connor kicks for the Tampa Bay Bucs, with 55 seconds to go.

"We created a lot of drama there at the end," UNC coach Butch Davis said, referring to senior Mark House snapping a ball over the head of redshirt freshman punter C.J. Feagles, the son of former longtime NFL punter Jeff, who was penalized for trying to kick the ball backward and out of the end zone while it was in the field a play.

That gave FSU the ball at the 1, a gift to be sure, and fullback Lonnie Pryor scored his second touchdown of the game on the next play to regain the lead for his team, 35-34, with 5:49 left.

"Mark's done a phenomenal job for his entire career," Davis said. "I know he felt bad. I know C.J. felt bad. But the single best drive our team has had in my four years here as a head coach was the answering drive."

But the Seminoles looked like they would answer that.

Sophomore Greg Reid returned the ensuing kick 50 yards to the UNC 45. Ponder, who threw for a season-high 264 yards and three touchdowns without committing a turnover (he had six in the previous two games), hit junior receiver Taiwan Easterling for 3 yards, then sophomore receiver Willie Haulstead for 9 and 13 to reach the 20. He then took a 2-yard loss to center the ball between the hash marks and set the stage for Hopkins.

As Hopkins did on his first try of the day (and early in his freshman year) he left his hips open, which meant his right leg didn't swing through the ball. And, as a golfer will tell you, that will lead to a slice, one that silenced the FSU fans who had seen such a result far too many times.

"We know if Dustin kicks that 100 more times, he's going to make all of them," Ponder said. "I told him we know what kind of player he is, and he's got to forget about it."

Hopkins, who calmly answered questions afterward, even paraphrased Scriptures (Psalms 34:18) about how "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."

Hopkins had hit at least one field goal in 10 straight games, the second-longest active streak in the nation.

"Of course, it's so disappointing," he said. "I've got to bounce back. We've all got to bounce back from the loss and come back next week and beat a really good Clemson team. … It was an awesome opportunity, and I still feel the same way. I hope it comes up again. I hope it comes up three more times."

N. Carolina 37

No. 24 FSU 35

North Carolina Tar Heels 37, No. 24 Florida State Seminoles 35 11/06/10 [Last modified: Sunday, November 7, 2010 12:16am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning 2017-18 schedule: Stanley Cup champion Penguins, expansion Golden Knights among the coming attractions

    Lightning Strikes

    The Lightning's season schedule was released Thursday afternoon, and there are plenty of must-see matchups coming to Amalie Arena. Here are the home games with the most intriguing storylines:

    The champs

    (Oct. 12, Oct. 21)

    The two-time defending champion Penguins make two early trips to Tampa. [AP photo]
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning 2017-18 schedule

    Lightning Strikes

    The Lightning's Brayden Point celebrates a goal during a game against the Ottawa Senators in February in Tampa. [AP photo]
  3. What Wilson Ramos will mean to the Rays lineup, pitching

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chris Archer was stumping for all-star votes for Corey Dickerson during a live interview Wednesday morning on the MLB Network when he lifted the right earpiece on his headset and said, "I hear a buffalo coming."

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos (40) waves to the crowd after being presented with the Silver Slugger Award before the start of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
  4. Jameis Winston as 2017 NFL MVP? 66-to-1 odds from Vegas


    Could Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston be an NFL MVP in 2017? It's certainly unlikely, but the sports book at Bovada has opening lines with Winston getting 66-to-1 odds, worse than 22 other players across the league.

    Bucs fans would be very happy if quarterback Jameis WInston can put himself into consideration for the NFL MVP award during the 2017 season.
  5. Deon Cain, Duke Dawson, Derrick Nnadi among SI's top 100 players


    Sports Illustrated's countdown of the top 100 players in college football continues with three more local players.

  6. OCTOBER_cokwr_cpzh4_cre1l_chk2m