September 26, 2023

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History of the Tar Heels against Big Ten teams

History of the Tar Heels against Big Ten teams

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UNC football will play Minnesota for the first time in program history on Saturday at Kenan Stadium.

When the 20th-ranked Tar Heels (2-0) and 20th-ranked Golden Gophers (2-0) tip off at 3:30 p.m. (ACC Network), it will be Carolina’s first game against a Big Ten opponent since beating Illinois in 2016. .

UNC is 16-13 all-time against longtime Big Ten opponents. Besides Minnesota, the Tar Heels have not played Iowa or Purdue. If Maryland is included, UNC is 53-45 against the Big Ten. Original members of the ACC in 1953, the Terrapins joined the Big Ten in 2014.

Here’s a look at the Tar Heels’ history against Big Ten opponents.

Illinois Fighting Illini

UNC is a perfect 4-0 against Illinois, having won in 1971, 1987, 2015 and 2016. The Tar Heels won those games by an average margin of 26.5 points. UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky accounted for four touchdowns in a 48-23 win at Illinois in 2016.

Indiana Hoosiers

A pair of historic programs on the basketball court, the Tar Heels and Hoosiers haven’t played on the court since 1999. UNC has a 2-0 record in the series, winning 23-6 in 1997 and 42-30 in 1999. A two-sport athlete in the Heels, he took over Ronald Curry, UNC’s quarterback, had three touchdowns in the 1999 meeting.

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Maryland Terrapins

It’s odd to include Maryland in this, because the Terrapins haven’t played the Tar Heels since leaving the ACC. UNC and Maryland played 70 games from 1920-2012, with the Heels leading the series 37-32-1. Quarterback Bryn Renner tied a school record with five touchdown passes in a 45-38 win over the Terps in 2012.

Michigan State Spartans

UNC and Michigan State have not played since the Tar Heels’ 21-15 win in 1964 that capped a three-year run in the series. The Spartans won their first two games by an average margin of 31 points.

Michigan Wolverines

The Tar Heels and Wolverines split a pair of games in the 1960s before UNC pulled out a 17-15 win in the 1979 Gator Bowl.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Huskers won the only meeting between the two programs in 1977. UNC led by 10 points in the fourth quarter before Nebraska rallied to win 21-17 in the Liberty Bowl.

Northwest wildcats

The Tar Heels are 2-0 over the Wildcats, going 12-0 in 1976 before going 41-7 in 1977.

Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes won three of the four meetings in the series. Each of the four games from 1962 to 1975 was played in Columbus. UNC’s only victory was a 14-3 win in 1965.

Penn State Nittany Lions

UNC and Penn State haven’t played in eight decades. The Heels won the only game in the series with a 19-0 win in 1943.

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Outside of Maryland, UNC has played Rutgers more than any other Big Ten program. The Scarlet Knights are 4-3 over the Heels, starting with a 5-0 win in 1894. Carolina has won three of the last four games, including a 24-22 victory behind two touchdowns from Giovani Bernard in 2011.

Wisconsin Badgers

The Badgers went 2-0 over Carolina, with both wins coming in the early 2000s. UNC lost 38-27 in Madison in 2003 and followed up with a 14-5 loss at Kenan Stadium in 2005.

Staff writer Rodd Baxley can be reached at [email protected] or @RoddBaxley on X/Twitter.