There’s no feeling for a college football team that compares to its home opener.
The players spend all offseason thinking about this moment – running out of the tunnel to thousands of cheering fans. Teams build the anticipation by swaying back and forth in their tunnels, the PA announcer channels the hype music and – BOOM – here comes your favorite team.
We’re already three weeks into the college football season and it’s now UNC’s turn to host its home opener.
The Tar Heels take on Appalachian State at 5:15 p.m. today, within the friendly confines of Kenan Stadium. When these two in-state rivals matched up last year in Boone, a combined 124 points were scored, most in an FBS matchup since UCLA’s 67-63 triumph at Washington State in 2019.
Adding onto the excitement of their home opener, the Heels named their game captains: center Corey Gaynor, jack linebacker Kaimon Rucker, punter Ben Keirnan and an honorary captain, the young man who has been wronged countless times by the NCAA, Devontez Walker.
It’s the home opener game day 🐏
Your Captains for today:
O: Corey Gaynor
D: Kaimon Rucker
ST: Ben Kiernan
— Carolina Football (@UNCFootball) September 9, 2023
Rucker was an absolute stud last week, generating two of the Tar Heels’ nine sacks and a game-high 5.5 tackles for loss.
Gaynor helped pave holes for a UNC ground game that combined for 168 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Kiernan only punted twice, but racked up 85 yards on his punts for a 42.5 yard average.
There’s no doubt that Walker will be cheered for the loudest when Carolina takes the field this afternoon. Expect to hear several “Free Tez” chants break out and for UNC players to be sporting those words on warm-up gear. You can best bet that if the NCAA is mentioned over the loudspeakers, fans will join in a chorus of boos.