“I’m excited for our team, especially our seniors, who fought through some early season adversity and won five of the last six games to become bowl eligible,” said head coach Larry Fedora.
“This is a resilient bunch of guys that kept believing in one another throughout the year and I’m glad they were rewarded with a bowl game. We’re looking forward to facing a very good Cincinnati team led by an outstanding coach in Tommy Tuberville.”
After starting the season 1-5, Carolina ran off five straight wins to finish the season 6-6 overall and 4-4 in the ACC.
The Tar Heels will be making their fourth appearance in the Charlotte bowl game, but are seeking their first win. Carolina fell to Boston College in 2004, West Virginia in 2008 and Pittsburgh in 2009.
Carolina is just the sixth team since the regular season expanded to 12 games in 2006 to start the season 1-5 and make a bowl game. Only one – Rutgers in 2008 – came from a BCS conference. The turnaround is similar to the 2001 season when UNC opened with three losses, but rebounded to win five straight and make a bowl game.
The Bearcats will be making their second appearance in the game after defeating Duke 48-34 last year in Charlotte. Cincinnati finished the regular season with a 9-3 overall record (6-2 AAC , third place). They won six of their last seven games to end the season.
Cincinnati's defense is ranked Top 10 in the nation and is coordinated by former UNC staffer Art Kaufman ('09-11).