Article Courtesy: UNC Sports Information
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Atlantic Coast Conference has released North Carolina's 2014 football schedule and the Tar Heels will play six home games in Kenan Stadium, including conference games against Virginia Tech (Oct. 4), Georgia Tech (Oct. 18), Pittsburgh (Nov. 15) and NC State (Nov. 29).
The schedule is also highlighted by road games at Notre Dame (Oct. 11) and UNC's first-ever ESPN Thursday night game at Duke on Nov. 20.
"We are excited to get back on the field and continue to build on the momentum created by our outstanding finish and our win in the Belk Bowl," said head coach Larry Fedora. "We have six chances to play in front of our fans in the Tar Pit and we have already started working to put a smart, fast and physical team on the field at Kenan Stadium this fall."
Carolina closes out the regular season at home against NC State for the first time in school history and just the fourth time overall. The other three season finales against the Wolfpack came in Raleigh in 1995 and 2009 and in Charlotte in 1998.
Overall, Carolina's 12-game schedule features nine teams that played in bowl games a year ago and five teams that won at least games.
Tickets for 2014 are on sale at GoHeels.com.
Carolina will open the season at home against Liberty on Aug. 30 and San Diego State on Sept. 6. Following an open week, the Tar Heels travel to East Carolina on Sept. 20 for just the fourth time.
The East Carolina game is the first of five consecutive weekends against teams that played in a bowl game last year. Carolina travels to Clemson on Sept. 27, plays host to Virginia Tech on Oct. 4, travels to Notre Dame on Oct. 11 and welcomes Georgia Tech on Oct. 18.
The Tar Heels hit the road for games at Virginia on Oct. 25 and Miami on Nov. 1 and then have a second open week. Carolina faces Pitt on Nov. 15 and then closes the year against Duke and NC State.
Carolina opens spring practice on Wednesday, March 5, in Chapel Hill. Carolina's Spring Football Game is set for Saturday, April 12 at 3 p.m.
The Tar Heels return 17 starters from last year's squad that rebounded from a 1-5 start to win six of its final seven games and capture the Belk Bowl. All-America returner Ryan Switzer, who tied the NCAA record with five punt returns for touchdowns, is one of several young players who return in 2014. Freshmen or sophomores scored 46 of Carolina's 55 touchdowns last year.
For more coverage of North Carolina football, follow the Tar Heels on Twitter @TarHeelFootball.
2014 Schedule & Notes:
• Aug. 30 - Liberty: Carolina's first-ever meeting with the Flames of the Big South Conference. Liberty was 8-4 in 2013.
• Sept. 6 - San Diego State: Carolina's only prior meeting with San Diego State came in the 1998 Las Vegas Bowl. Led by Bowl MVP Ronald Curry, the Tar Heels defeated the Aztecs, 20-13, as both teams struggled to move the ball under extremely windy conditions. SDSU bounced back from an 0-3 start last year to go 8-5 and win the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
• Sept. 20 - at East Carolina: This will be the Tar Heels' fourth visit to Greenville and first since 2011. All four visits have come under different UNC head coaches - John Bunting in 2003, Butch Davis is 2007, Everett Withers in 2011 and Larry Fedora in 2014. The Pirates posted a 10-3 mark last year and beat Ohio in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl.
• Sept. 27 - at Clemson: This marks Carolina's fourth trip to Death Valley in the last five meetings against Clemson. In 2011, T.J. Thorpe had a 100-yard kickoff return against the Tigers late in the game. Clemson finished the 2013 season ranked No. 8 in the country and beat Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.
• Oct. 4 - Virginia Tech: Behind Giovani Bernard's career-high 262 yards rushing, Carolina downed the Hokies, 48-34, in the last meeting in Chapel Hill in 2012. It was Fedora's first ACC victory. Virginia Tech went 8-5 last season and lost to UCLA in the Sun Bowl.
• Oct. 11 - at Notre Dame: Carolina has never won in 11 previous trips to South Bend. In the most recent trip in 2006, freshman wide receiver Hakeem Nicks had six catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Notre Dame is coming off a 9-4 season and a win over Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl.
• Oct. 18 - Georgia Tech: Carolina will look to end a perplexing five-game skid when it plays host to the Yellow Jackets during UNC's fall break. Georgia Tech won seven games last year, but fell to Ole Miss in the Music City Bowl.
• Oct. 25 - at Virginia: After losing 14 consecutive games to the Cavaliers in Charlottesville from 1983-2008, Carolina has won two straight at Virginia, including a 37-13 thumping on Thursday night in 2012. Virginia was 2-10 a year ago.
• Nov. 1 - at Miami: Carolina has historically played well on the road against the Hurricanes, including an 18-14 win in Fedora's first season in 2012. Miami won nine games last season, but fell to Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
• Nov. 15 - Pittsburgh: Carolina is 3-0 against the Panthers at home, including wins in 1974, 1979 and 1998. Pittsburgh went 7-6 with a win over Bowling Green in last year's Little Caesars Bowl.
• Nov. 20 - at Duke: Carolina and Duke will meet in an ESPN Thursday night game for the first time in school history. Carolina is 6-6 all-time in ESPN Thursday night games. Duke won 10 games last year and lost a memorable 52-48 game to Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
• Nov. 29 - vs. NC State: For the first time in school history, Carolina closes the season at home against the Wolfpack. NC State was 3-9 overall last year.
UNC/ WFMY News 2 Sports