UNC Headed to Military Bowl to Meet Temple

Brant Wilkerson-New

Mack is back, and so too is North Carolina in a bowl game.

Making their first postseason appearance since 2016, the Tar Heels were selected for the Military Bowl, where they'll meet Temple on Dec. 27 at Noon (ESPN) inside Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.

"Our number one goal when we returned last year was to send the seniors out the right way," Carolina coach Mack Brown said in a statement. "Everything we did, from spring practice to summer workouts to fall camp, was with an eye on winning enough games to get these seniors to a bowl game. Now, when this group looks back on their careers, they’ll be able to say they helped get the program on the right track and finished with a bowl game. I’m just so happy for everyone involved in our program, but especially, that group of young men."

The return to the postseason marks a dramatic turnaround for the Tar Heels (6-6) after Carolina won a combined five games in the 2017 and 2018 seasons under former coach Larry Fedora.

Senior safety Myles Dorn committed to Carolina shortly after its run to the Coastal Division championship in 2015.

"Getting to a bowl game is a big deal for this program and I’m looking forward to playing in the Military Bowl," he said. "The last few seasons have been tough, but we believed we were a better team than we showed."

For those that endured the program's lowest points, leaving on a high-note was a priorty.

"Coach Brown and the new staff told us they wanted us to win right away, that it wasn’t about rebuilding, and the older guys really appreciated that," left tackle Charlie Heck said. "Fortunately, we were able to finish the season off strong, get to six wins, and get a chance to experience the Military Bowl."

Temple (8-4), making its fifth straight bowl appearance, finished third in the American Athletic Conference behind defensive end Quincy Roche, who was chosen as the league's Defensive Player of the Year.

The game will be the first meeting between the Owls and Tar Heels.

Carolina has lost its past three bowl games, last winning the 2013 Belk Bowl vs. Cincinnati.

Mack Brown, 13-8 overall in bowl games, will be coaching Carolina in the postseason for the first time since the 1996 Gator Bowl. He was 3-2 in bowl games during his first stint in Chapel Hill.