Ebron backs up the talk - with teammates' help
Posted November 2, 2013
Updated November 3, 2013
One thing about Eric Ebron: he's not boring.
Ebron stoked the flames of the State-Carolina rivalry, waging a Twitter-based war of words with Wolfpack fans earlier in the week and essentially predicting a win with a "rude awakening" tweet shortly before kickoff.
And he backed it up.
More specifically, Ebron and his teammates backed up the prediction. I'm not sure if it was his intention to play amateur psychologist, but Ebron's public display of bravado became a motivating factor for his own team. Slideshow: North Carolina defeats NC State, 27-19
Normally, these kinds of comments serve as bulletin board for the opponent. But as Marquise Williams put it, "that gave us hype, and we had to back him up." The outspoken tight end challenged his teammates, and they responded.
To put it another way, they would never have heard the end of it had Ebron's prediction proved false.
Ebron enjoyed - even relished - the role of villain. He was all smiles when answering post-game questions. "If we don't have your respect already, we're going to keep on taking it until the point where you have no choice but to respect us," he said, taking special offense with the Wolfpack's "Our State" marketing campaign.
"I mean, this is our state," said Ebron. "Our winning ratio to their losses - I mean, we're killing them. So you've just got to let them know."
And he did.
Mark this down as another interesting chapter in a rivalry game that - while by no means factoring into the national championship picture - has tended to produce more than its share of memorable moments on the field and off. In the last few years alone, we've seen the Tom O'Brien-Everette Withers feud ("Flagship University" vs "Triple Play"). Russell Wilson's Hail Mary and Gio Bernard's punt return.
Ebron's comments might not be as memorable as those moments, but they're just enough to keep the embers smoldering until next fall.