CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina is approaching its opener against The Citadel with all the intensity and attention of a rivalry because a year ago the Tar Heels nearly lost this type of game.
The Tar Heels want to take another step toward becoming a serious Atlantic Coast Conference contender, and they know they can't afford to allow another Football Championship Subdivision team to keep things close.
The Bulldogs visit No. 21 North Carolina on Saturday night, but defensive end E.J. Wilson says the Tar Heels might as well be facing an established power because "every game is the same level of importance."
The Tar Heels dodged embarrassment in last year's opener by holding off McNeese State 35-27 in a game delayed by lightning.
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