Adam Gold

Giovani Bernard attains legendary status

Posted October 28, 2012
Updated October 30, 2012

With the NC State Wolfpack facing a 3rd and 13 from their own 22-yard line, North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora walked over to Roy Smith, a sophomore wide receiver who also returns punts for the Tar Heels. Fedora leaned in, as though to whisper some words of encouragement to Smith, but instead must have told the kid to take a load off. It had to go something like, "hey Roy, we're going to force these guys to punt, and when we do, we're going to let Gio try and win it for us right here."

Well, they did.

And, so did Giovani Bernard.

Bernard punt return dooms Wolfpack Video: Bernard punt return dooms Wolfpack

Bernard trotted out onto the field, set up near the 35-yard line and awaited the Will Baumann punt. At that moment, Bernard had returned 11 punts on the season for an impressive 176 yards and a touchdown. At that moment it was hard to believe that NC State would give the most dangerous -- and the best -- player in the Atlantic Coast Conference a chance to make something happen. At that moment, with the Pack apparently content with overtime, it was hard to imagine a kick anywhere near the player with more than 900 yards from scrimmage in the last four games AND a 16-yard average this season on punt returns. UNC gets late dramatics to top NC State, 43-35 Slideshow: UNC gets late dramatics to top NC State, 43-35

Use your imagination.

Bernard caught the punt, backpedaling near the 25-yard line, right at the ACC logo in front of the Tar Heels bench and rolled to the right. From there, all that was left was the real estate. Carolina's punt return team blocked it beautifully, and Gio streaked down the right sideline and into the annals of this century-old rivalry with a 73-yard, game-winning, losing streak-snapping touchdown.

The play really sums up everything you need to know about Bernard. Every single time he touches the ball you get the feeling that it could end with cannon fire. The only thing really surprising about Bernard's touchdown was that he ever had the chance to do it.

Team of the Week

Child please!

(No Stephen A. hi-jinx here, kids)

North Carolina was in full meltdown mode. Fresh off allowing Duke to drive the length of the field in the final minutes a week prior, the Heels were staring at a 10-point deficit with about 12 minutes to go. Keep in mind, that this was a game in which the Tar Heels led 25-7 in the 1st quarter. Maybe someone whispered that to the offense, because the 9-play 74 yard drive for the touchdown brought the lead down to just a field goal and helped Carolina regain their equilibrium. The rest, well you know how it ended. Cannons blasting. North Carolina at N.C. State Inside the Rivalry: NCSU vs. UNC Football

Player of the Week

With apologies to the school record for single-game touchdown passes for Clemson QB Tahj Boyd, and the 200+ yard receiving night for the Tigers' Sammy Watkins. Giovani Bernard, the soon-to-be ACC player of the year, blew up for 304 all-purpose yards in the Heels 43-35 win over NC State. 135 and a pair of touchdowns on the ground, 95 on eight catches and then there was the punt return. Have you heard about Bernard's punt return? I think it might be available on You Tube.

Unsung player of the Week

It's been a tough year for the North Carolina defense. Kevin Reddick, the Heels' senior linebacker who is a legitimate NFL prospect, has not taken to the new scheme very well and his draft stock has suffered. But, when his team needed him the most, Reddick delivered. Two huge 4th quarter sacks, the second coming on the first play of NC State's final drive which ultimately led to Bernard's heroics. That's worth some recognition, if you ask me.

Moment of the Week

You probably didn't even see it. In fact, it didn't even happen in the ACC. South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore suffered a gruesome leg injury in the Gamecocks win over Tennessee. It's actually his second serious injury in college and brings into serious doubt whether he'll be able to have an NFL career. As I was watching the medical personnel cart Lattimore off the field and into a waiting ambulance I couldn't help but think about Giovani Bernard's future. Now, don't accuse me of saying that an education isn't important, but if Gio Bernard isn't in the 2013 NFL draft, I'm going to find him and fight him.

Top to Bottom of the Week

1-Florida State (8-1)…You expected something other than a 6-touchdown win over Duke?
2-Clemson (7-1)…You expected something other than a 4-touchdown win over Wake?
3-North Carolina (6-3)…Wait, how did this team lose to Duke and Wake again?
4-Duke (6-3)…Yeah, well, they're still bowl eligible.
5-NC State (5-3)…The lucky bounce off the College Park upright apparently came with a price.
6-Miami (4-4)…The Hurricanes slept in advance of their Thursday game with Virginia Tech.
7-Virginia Tech (4-4)…The Hokies slept in advance of their Thursday game with Miami.
8-Maryland (4-4)…Should tell you everything about the ACC that the team who gave BC their first 1-A win is 8th.
9-Wake Forest (4-4)…Got thumped by Clemson, but it wasn't as bad as Georgia Tech.
10-Georgia Tech (3-5)…I thought the defense was supposed to improve with Grumpy Al Groh gone.
11-Boston College (2-6)…Finally beat a team from the lower 48. Never mind, Maine IS in the continental US.
12-Virginia (2-6)…Nearly lost again, but the Bye missed 4 field goals.

Three to watch….of the Week

3-Clemson at Duke, 7:30/ESPN2…Blue Devils need the bye week, instead get Sammy Watkins at Wallace Wade.
2-Georgia Tech at Maryland, 12:30/laptop…Let's face it, this isn't a great week.
1-Virginia Tech at Miami, 7:30/ESPN (Thurs)…Oh I believe in yesterday. Suddenly, they're not half the teams they used to be.

44 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Aint ur day Oct 30, 2012

    great play for the weekend, not legendary though

  • Aint ur day Oct 30, 2012

    what Todd said

  • Toddler10-21 Oct 30, 2012

    Hershell Walker, Bo jackson, Doug Flutie, Rocket Ishmail, Jim brown, Ehtan Horton, Kelvin Bryant, Charlie Ward, Torry Holt, Ricky williams, Lawerence Taylor, Micheal Vick, etc are legends. Gio is a special player, but a return aganist state?

  • Toddler10-21 Oct 30, 2012

    A legend? Come on guys. He is a special player. He returned a kick aganist there rival. Was it for the ACC championship? A National Championship? Has he put up great numbers aganist top teams in the country? That wont happen because of UNC's schedule. Dont foreget UNC you did lose to Duke.

  • blt2 Oct 29, 2012

    Isn't FREE everything what got the program into trouble to begin with????

  • Luv2Camp Oct 29, 2012

    Gio - go pro, young man. Make the money while you can. You are one injury away from the end of your football career.

  • JohnnyVoodoo Oct 29, 2012

    I'm sorry, but i just gotta laugh at this one. Don't get me wrong, it was a great play at a time when the Tarheels needed it the most. BUT, to say this guy is a legend now?? C'mon, are you serious? What a joke.

  • davidvanwagener Oct 29, 2012

    View quoted thread


    You realize Kentucky was on probation on basketball recently. The OSU is on probation in football right now.

  • Turheel Oct 29, 2012

    View quoted thread


    Good post Peart! Best wishes to the Pack the remainder of the way. If they win out, it might get them to the ACC Championship game. FSU still has to go to Blacksburg, which is never an easy task. GO HEELS!

  • Dr. Feelgood Oct 29, 2012

    View quoted thread


    No, but we will be cashing the NCSU bowl split check. Thanks for the financial support!!! BTW, you ain't bowling yet, don't be counting calves before they are born...

More...

 

 

  • The Ryder Cup

    Today at 9:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: Duke vs. Virginia

    Today at 12:30 pm on FOX50

  • CFB: Oklahoma vs. TCU

    Tonight at 5:00 on FOX50

  • CFB: Arizona State at USC

    Tonight at 8:00 on FOX50

  • The Logan Zone

    Tomorrow at 11:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • The Ryder Cup

    Tomorrow at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers at Atlanta

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Kansas City at Pittsburgh

    Tomorrow at 8:20 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: NC State vs. Wake Forest

    Today at 3:30 pm on WRAL-FM

  • CFB: Tennessee at Georgia

    Today at 3:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • CFB: Louisville at Clemson

    Tonight at 7:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Panthers at Atlanta

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

AP Top 25
Thu, Sept 29
14Final
6
42
Fri, Sept 30
7
6Final
10
44
Sat, Oct 1
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
20
 
14
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
 
13
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
 
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
2
 
22
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
 
23
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
 
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
12
 
11
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
25
 
8
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
4
 
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
15
 
9
1:00 PT2:00 MT3:00 CT4:00 ET8:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST
Preview
 
2:00 PT3:00 MT4:00 CT5:00 ET9:00 GMT5:00 北京时间2:00 MST4:00 EST
Preview
21
 
18
3:00 PT4:00 MT5:00 CT6:00 ET10:00 GMT6:00 北京时间3:00 MST5:00 EST
Preview
 
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
1
 
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
16
 
3
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
5
 
17
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
 
19
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
 
7:15 PT8:15 MT9:15 CT10:15 ET2:15 GMT10:15 北京时间7:15 MST9:15 EST
Preview
24
 
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Sep. 29
Miami7Final
Cincinnati22
Sunday, Oct. 2
Indianapolis 6:30 PT7:30 MT8:30 CT9:30 ET13:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST8:30 CT17:30 UAE9:30 ET12:30
Jacksonville 
 
Carolina 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Atlanta 
 
Oakland 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Baltimore 
 
Detroit 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Chicago 
 
Tennessee 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Houston 
 
Buffalo 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
New England 
 
Seattle 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
NY Jets 
 
Cleveland 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Washington 
 
Denver 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 北京时间1:05 MST3:05 EST3:05 CT0:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ET19:05
Tampa Bay 
 
Los Angeles 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 北京时间1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25
Arizona 
 
New Orleans 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 北京时间1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25
San Diego 
 
Dallas 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 北京时间1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25
San Francisco 
 
Kansas City 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET23:30
Pittsburgh 
Monday, Oct. 3
NY Giants 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET23:30
Minnesota 
 
Minor League Baseball
International League
El Paso 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 
 
Ryder Cup (PGA)
USA: 5 | Europe: 3
Foursomes - Day 2
MatchScore
Reed / Spieth
Garcia / Cabrera Bello
 
Walker / Johnson
Rose / Wood
 
Snedeker / Koepka
Stenson / Fitzpatrick
 
Fowler / Mickelson
McIlroy / Pieters
View Full Leaderboard
 
Reignwood LPGA (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1M. Hur-2018
2B. Henderson-1918
3tM. Lee-1718
3tI. Kim-1718
3tS. Feng-1718
6tS. Feng-1218
6tA. Yang-1218
8I. Lee-1118
9tS. Kim-1018
9tE. Ji-1018
View Full Leaderboard
 
Ryder Cup (EURO)
USA: 5 | Europe: 3
Foursomes - Day 2
MatchScore
Reed / Spieth
Garcia / Cabrera Bello
 
Walker / Johnson
Rose / Wood
 
Snedeker / Koepka
Stenson / Fitzpatrick
 
Fowler / Mickelson
McIlroy / Pieters
View Full Leaderboard
 
Pacific Links (CHMP)
PosNameScoreThru
1C. Montgomerie - z-15F
2S. McCarron - y-15F
3tM. Jimenez-13F
3tJ. Sluman-13F
3tS. Dunlap-13F
3tD. Garwood-13F
7tB. Langer-12F
7tM. Dawson-12F
7tO. Browne-12F
10tF. Funk-11F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
ATP Scoreboard
Saturday, Oct. 1
Chengdu Open (ATP)
Semifinals
(6) V. Troicki3 5    
K. Khachanov6 7    
(3) G. Dimitrov66 6 6   
(5) A. Ramos-Vino78 1 6   
 
Shenzhen Open (ATP)
Semifinals
(3) R. Gasquet6 4    
J. Tipsarevic2 1    
(1) T. Berdych6 7    
T. Bellucci2 5    
 
WTA Scoreboard
Saturday, Oct. 1
Wuhan Tennis Open (WTA)
Final
(10) D. Cibulkova1 1    
(14) P. Kvitova6 6    
 
Tashkent Open (WTA)
Final
(4) N. Hibino3 6 3   
K. Pliskova6 2 6   
 
China Open (ATP/WTA)
First Round
A. Beck3 2    
B. Bencic6 6    
J. Ostapenko1 6 5   
Y. Putintseva6 3 7   
E. Vesnina2 1    
E. Makarova6 6    
M. Puig2 0    
Y. Wickmayer6 6    
M. Lucic-Baro2 2    
S. Lisicki6 6    
(2) G. Muguruza1     
I. Begu0     
A. Cornet 
S. Rogers