Things just keep getting worse for Larry Fedora in Chapel Hill.

By Jenna West
September 08, 2018

In one of Saturday's more unexpected outcomes, East Carolina upset North Carolina 41–19. The Pirates, predicted to be one of the worst teams in the FBS, stunned a sloppy Tar Heels squad, scoring 20 unanswered points and pitching a second half shutout for their first win over a Power 5 team since they upset NC State in September 2016.

For the uninitiated in the current state of Tar Heel State football, here are five reasons why North Carolina's loss to East Carolina was the worst of the day:

1. The Pirates lost to North Carolina A&T last week and some people weren’t even surprised

East Carolina lost their season-opener 28–23 to NC A&T last Sunday, in a game that was postponed by a day due to weather. ECU never held a bigger lead than 17–7 in the second quarter in a game that was filled with mistakes. The Pirates' worst gaffe came the fourth quarter, as they drove to the Aggies' 30 with less than a minute left and the clock running. Wide receiver Deondre Farrier went to the sideline, creating confusion, and wide receiver LeRoy Henley went on the field but didn't know where to line up. Quarterback Reid Herring's hail mary pass bounced off of wide receiver Taj Dean's hands and into a defender's for an interception.

2. UNC lost its last two games to ECU in embarassing fashion (70–41 and 55–31)

Saturday's meeting marked the first time the two schools had met since 2014. The 70 points ECU scored in Greenville that night were the second-most most they had ever scored and the most UNC had ever allowed. In the time since then, offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley was hired away by Oklahoma, head coach Ruffin McNeill was (somewhat controversially) replaced by Scottie Montgomery and the program had drifted into irrelevance in the AAC.

3. Larry Fedora’s seat is only getting hotter

Heading into the 2018 regular season, Fedora held a 43–34 record in his six seasons at UNC, but the past few seasons have been rough ones that make the Tar Heels’ 2015 ACC title game appearance feel like a decade ago. UNC finished 3–9 last year and 1–7 in the ACC, only beating Pitt in-conference and dealing with a rash of injuries. If Fedora, who is now 0–2 against ECU, can't turn around the Tar Heels' record this year, this game might be looked at as the point where the season got out of hand.

4. UNC's suspensions

In August, the Tar Heels suspended 13 football players for between one and four games after learning that members of the team sold school-issued sneakers in exchange for up to $2,500 in cash. The number of players found to have violated NCAA rules was so high that UNC was allowed to stagger their suspensions for the safety of the active roster. Included in the suspensions being served in the first weeks of the season was quarterback Chazz Surratt, who threw for 1,342 yards and eight touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. Surratt was assumed to be in competition for the starting quarterback spot in 2018, but junior Nathan Elliott has run the offense in season-opening losses to Cal and now ECU.

5. They allowed 41 points to a really bad offense

ECU went 3–9 last year, allowing 56 points or more a whopping six times, and lost nine of its last 10 in 2016. But the regression of the offense following McNeill’s departure has been just as disappointing for Pirates fans. Montgomery, formerly Duke’s offensive coordinator, had seen the heat rise on his own seat considerably since the start of the 2017 season. He may not be completely off the hook, but he definitely has company now in Fedora.

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