Young Michael Floyd held the game in his hands. Then he no longer held the pigskin, and after minutes of analysis, the 29-24 score was final on October 11, and a Chapel out-shined a Basilica.
If the climax looked like a Rosary gathering, what with the Tar Heels in Fatima blue and Notre Dame’s nun-navy numerals on a Hill named Chapel, it played like a roller coaster replete with a post-ride pictorial review of its most exhilarating moment. Floyd may have taken his hands off the railing a bit too early and won’t be purchasing his commemorative snapshot.
The freshman wide receiver, who by all accounts—including that of NBC’s Pat Hayden, who notes, “He sure doesn’t play like a freshman”—has shed most rookie mistakes, lined up to QB Jimmy Clausen’s right for a crucial 4th-and-13 on the Tar Heel 33.
Only 11 seconds and five points separated North Carolina from their first victory over the Irish since the election of JFK.
Clausen zipped a spiral toward the slant-running Floyd. The ball stuck smack into his gut for Clausen’s thirty-first and most impressive completion of the evening, and the receiver’s sixth grab added to his short but profound big play reputation.
First down at the UNC 7. Seven seconds lingered on the clock.
But time pulls funny tricks on a man, and before Floyd could genuflect on the grass, he sacrificed—the ball. Thinking less time remained, the Twin Cities native seemed to attempt a lateral to keep the game alive, but UNC safety Trimane Goddard pounced on the loose ball that had skipped 12 yards backward.
Chaos ensued as Tar Heel faithful rushed the field. Officials originally allowed the Irish a chance to snap the ball at the 7, where Floyd had been tackled, ruling he was down. But once the clock ran out, replay officials debated and overturned the original call, giving the ball to UNC and stifling the Irish threat.