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September 18, 2003North Carolina (0-2, 0-1 ACC) plays its first road game and second consecutive non-conference contest of the 2003 season on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Big Ten conference foe Wisconsin (2-1, 0-0). The game will be televised nationally by ESPN at Noon (EST).
Carolina opened the season with back-to-back home losses, including a 37-0 shutout loss to FSU, and a disappointing triple-overtime loss to Syracuse on Sept. 6. Carolina did not play last weekend (Sept. 13). The Wisconsin game is the first of 10 straight games for the Tar Heels who play at NC State and at home against Virginia after returning from Madison.
Wisconsin is coming off a 23-5 home loss to UNLV.
Carolina is making its first visit to Camp Randall and is facing a Big Ten opponent for the first time since beating Indiana in 1999. UNC and Wisconsin will complete a home-and-home series in 2005 when the Badgers visit Chapel Hill on September 17.
UNC-WISCONSIN/BIG TEN NOTES
DURANT'S NUMBERS IMPRESSIVE
Durant enters the Wisconsin game ranked 10th in the country in passing, averaging 24.5 completions per game, and is 18th in the nation in total offense, averaging 275.5 yards per game. He leads the Tar Heels in both passing and rushing this season and has accounted for five of the Tar Heels' six touchdowns. He has thrown for at least 200 yards in eight of his last 10 games.
In the triple-overtime loss to Syracuse on Sept. 6, Durant broke the school record for career touchdown passes with his 36th TD in the third quarter. He finished the game 31 of 44 for 316 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. His 31 completions tied the school record set by Kevin Anthony against LSU in 1985.
Durant's total offense (285.6) and passing yards per game (265.2) were tops in the ACC in 2002 despite missing four games with a broken thumb. He became the first Tar Heel to lead the ACC in total offense since Paul Miller in 1971.
Durant threw for a school-record 417 yards and five touchdowns against Arizona State in 2002. It was the first 400-yard game of his career and was the second-best game by an ACC quarterback in 2002. In 2001, he set freshmen single-season records for touchdown passes (17), completions (142), passing yards (1,843) and total offense (1,971).
NEWCOMERS SEE ACTION
Brown and McGill both enrolled at Carolina in January and participated in UNC's spring drills. Brown has started the first two games at outside linebacker, and McGill started at tailback against Syracuse. McGill led the team with 48 rushing yards on 12 carries against FSU, including a long run of 19 yards. Mason, a native of Rocky Mount, N.C., caught five passes for 25 yards against the Seminoles and is currently third on the team with seven catches for 74 yards and one touchdown. He caught a 44-yard touchdown pass in the loss to Syracuse.
A total of 20 newcomers have played in the first two games of the season. In addition to the 11 true freshmen, junior college transfer Lionell Green, junior walk-on tight end John Dunn, sophomore walk-on tight end Justin Phillips, sophomore offensive tackle Brian Chacos, sophomore offensive tackle Drew Hunter, redshirt freshman punter David Wooldridge, redshirt freshman defensive back D.J. Walker, redshirt freshman linebacker Victor Worsley and junior transfer running back Chad Scott have played for the first time this year.
In John Bunting's three seasons at Carolina, 24 true freshmen have seen playing time, including six in 2001, seven in 2002 and 11 in 2003.
THE BYE WEEK
THE BYE WEEK CONCERT
This season, Bunting did not have to go nearly as far during the bye week to hear one of the music industry's legendary performers. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band appeared in a final area concert of their current World Tour at North Carolina's Kenan Stadium on Sunday, September 14. Bunting and his staff worked on Sunday, but it's worth noting that all of Carolina's football coaches' offices overlook the stadium playing field where Springsteen was performing.
The concert was the first major concert at Carolina's football stadium since the Carolina Concert for the Children in 1983 which featured Todd Rundgren, U2, The Producers and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The Springsteen concert in Chapel Hill was the only date in the Southeast on the current leg of his summer stadium tour.