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UNC Returns Onside Kick for a Touchdown in Chaotic 4th Quarter Against App State

The North Carolina Tar Heels football team travelled to Appalachian State for their second football game of the college football season. The Tar Heels had come into this game a narrow favorite, and had as much as a twenty point lead going into the fourth quarter.

Then the game started to take a stark turn.

App State Takes On UNC 

Chase Brice #7 of the Appalachian State Mountaineers in action against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers during the first half of the Boca Raton Bowl

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

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Much like the NC State-Eastern Carolina game being played within the Tar Heel State, this game had some drama in the last minutes. But unlike the Pirates and the Wolfpack's Week 1 matchup, this game would have a few more wrinkles than just a missed field goal.

The App State Mountaineers were able to claw back, ultimately putting up 40 points, and scoring six touchdowns in the final frame. It was a sucker punch UNC football was able to withstand, but things got extremely interesting.

The Onside Kick

Bryson Nesbit (18) of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates in the rain after scoring a touchdown during a football game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Florida A&M

Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Whenever you're down by less than a TD late in the second half, you are probably going to consider a variation of a kickoff known as the onside kick. Of course, they rarely work. Every now and then the kicker is able to place it perfectly and skid the ball 10 yards down field and into the hands of a player from his own team.

With the score 56-55 in favor of Mack Brown and UNC, and Appalachian State having just scored thanks to QB Chase Brice, the Mountaineers lined up for an onside kick. The ball did not make it 10 yards, but it was recovered by Bryson Nesbit in stride, and he sprinted the sideline to take it to the house. Never in my life have I seen an onside kick go so poorly for the team who was trying to get that extra edge.

Late Game Strategy Doesn't Pay Off

In an ideal world, you would recover the ball, manage a first down or two, get into field goal range, and put the weight of the game on the shoulders of your kicker. But as the two teams collided, Nesbit plunged the dagger into the hearts of the Mountaineers.

What's even crazier here, is the scoring wasn't over. Appalachian State was able to get into the end zone 20 seconds later, lining them up for an ability to tie with a two point conversion. They were stuffed at the goal line, and UNC came out of this game as winners.

But if they didn't have that onside kick return, could The Mountaineers have pulled it off? The way they were scoring in the fourth quarter leads me to believe the answer could have been yes. But their onside kick snafu gave UNC that extra bit of a lead they needed in order to hold on.

It's only Week 1 of the NCAA season. What could we see happen next? Buckle in, folks. We're in for a wild ride this season. Especially if you live anywhere near Chapel Hill.

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