North Carolina's neutral site bowl game turned into a road game with Nashville a 21/2-hour drive from Knoxville. UNC sold 6,000 tickets, of the 69,143 capacity, according to bowl officials.
UNC has little room to complain about the road setting. Its last two bowl games were played in Charlotte, but neither had the feel of a home-field advantage like Tennessee had Thursday.
"Lane Kiffin" might be the equivalent of an expletive in Tennessee, but the former coach gifted the program a keeper in freshman quarterback Tyler Bray. Bray is impossibly skinny (6 feet 6, 210 pounds) and has no understanding that discretion is the better part of valor, but the kid has a rope. The quickest way to rebuild any program is through the quarterback, and Bray might end up being great.
UNC missed running back Anthony Elzy - not for his running ability but for his role in the passing game. Shaun Draughn picked up for Elzy with 100-plus yards on the ground but not as quarterback T.J. Yates' safety net.
Elzy, who missed the game because of an academic suspension, caught 20 passes for 301 yards in the final three regular-season games.
Yates took more chances downfield -- and absorbed more hits from Tennessee's pass rush -- without Elzy to check down to.