Goddard having a golden year

Published 3:14 am Tuesday, October 7, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
CHAPEL HILL — No. 24 Connecticut trails North Carolina 17-3 late in the first half.
The Huskies are marching down the field in the waning seconds of the first half, and are poised to cut into the Tar Heels’ lead and steal the momentum just before the half.
A touchdown here, and Connecticut could potentially tie the game on the opening drive of the second half.
UConn sophomore quarterback Zach Frazer marches the Huskies 53 yards in 39 seconds, and with 25 seconds left gets the Huskies inside the North Carolina 10-yard line.
On first-and-goal, he drops back to pass and fires a bullet in the direction of tight end Martin Bedard. The ball glances off Bedard’s hands and ricochets towards Tar Heels safety Trimane Goddard, who reaches back and corrals the ball with his right hand for an interception at the five-yard line. The pick preserves UNC’s two touchdown lead at the half and eventually helps them upset Connecticut, 38-12.
It’s the second week in a row that Goddard has come up huge for the Heels.
In a 28-24 win over Miami on Sept. 27, Goddard intercepted two passes in the final seven minutes, one in the end zone on the final play of the game to lead North Carolina to its first win at Miami since 1957. He also added a season-high eight tackles and was named the ACC’s Defensive Back of the Week.
Goddard is in the midst of career of year. The Roanoke High School graduate leads the ACC with four interceptions and is tied for the national lead with 0.80 interceptions per game. He’s also fifth on his team in tackles with 22.
The four interceptions are a new career-high. He now has nine interceptions in his career, the 11th most in school history.
Goddard is part of a UNC defense that leads the nation with 12 interceptions.
After an injury-riddled start to his career — he missed the entire 2006 season with a broken foot and also was sidelined this spring with a broken wrist — Goddard is finally fulfilling the potential he displayed after being named the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Class 1-A Mr. Football in 2004.
Goddard has played a crucial roe in helping the Tar Heels move into the rankings (No. 22 in this week’s Associated Press poll) for the first time since 2001.
Goddard, who has made 23 starts at North Carolina, isn’t ready to turn his attention towards playing in the NFL. While he said that playing in the NFL is his ultimate goal, he also added that his primary focus right now is helping UNC win its first ACC title since 1980.
While he may not want to think about what the future holds for him, Goddard’s teammates are certain that the Tar Heels’ safety will be playing on Sundays next year.