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Mack Brown Goes for the Win

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Mack Brown made the right call.

Mack Brown made the right call.

Though the end of Clemson's dramatic 21-20 win at North Carolina will long be debated, and the Tigers ultimately escaped with a victory after stopping the Tar Heels on a late two-point conversion attempt, the decision made by Brown was the correct one. As the home underdog, with Kenan Stadium rocking after a late touchdown, North Carolina tried to capitalize on both the moment and its momentum with one play, all with an offense in rhythm, to take down the defending national champions.

Sure, an extra point and overtime could have extended the opportunity, but the Tar Heels chose one play from the three-yard line -- and for good reason.     

The situation, at the end of the game, was simple: a 27-point underdog needed mere feet for a historic victory over the top ranked team in the country. Brown never hesitated in keeping his offense on the field, showing a trust in his team, specifically his true freshman quarterback Sam Howell. North Carolina ran a variation of the triple-option, with Clemson reading the play and well and ultimately stuffing the attempt. The Tar Heels fell just short of an upset that would have helped shape the early season narrative. 

Brown and the North Carolina played the odds, choosing one untimed down for a chance at signature win. What happened doesn't make what was decided wrong.

Even in a loss, the confidence displayed by Brown will likely benefit the Tar Heels moving forward. For a first-year head coach taking over a two-win team from the year prior, Brown, a College Football Hall of Famer, has energized North Carolina. More so, wins over South Carolina and Miami, along with the near-triumph over Clemson, has come with validation. Brown, head coach in Chapel Hill from 1998-1997, came back to town to win; Saturday was a clear example of that.

Already, the Tar Heels matter. Brown, has made a difference, in that regard, in the opening month of the season. Obviously, the final sequence will be talked about for some time. Credit Clemson for making a big play. Beyond just taking the Tigers to the brink, credit Mack and North Carolina for going for the win.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports