Goddard wants to go out a winner
Published 6:15 pm Saturday, December 27, 2008
Kevin Travis, Sports Editor
CHARLOTTE — All-American safety Trimane Goddard could care less whether or not he gets an interception today. Sure, it would be nice to add to his totals, but the North Carolina safety is much more interested in winning the final game of his college career.
Goddard, a former star at Roanoke High School, and his Tar Heels face the West Virginia Mountaineers in today’s Meineke Car Care Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. The game, which will be televised on ESPN, kicks off at 1 p.m.
Goddard’s final season with the Tar Heels has been one to remember. The 5-11, 200-pounder, is tied for the national lead with seven interceptions, a mark that is tied for third-best in a single season by a Tar Heel player.
He returned one of those picks for a touchdown.
Goddard also has 48 tackles, five pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Those numbers helped Goddard, a co-captain with the Heels, earn several accolades this year. Along with his AP honor, Goddard was named to the 2008 Walter Camp All-America Second Team, 2008 Rivals.com All-America Third Team, 2008 SI.com All-America honorable mention and All-ACC First Team.
Goddard, who recently graduated with a sociology degree, will be making his second bowl appearance at Bank of America Stadium. In 2004, Goddard’s Heels fell 37-24 to Boston College in the Continental Tire Bowl.
The UNC safety will be looking to help the Heels (8-4) win their first bowl game since the 2001 Peach Bowl, a 16-10 victory over Auburn.
It won’t be easy as the Mountaineers (8-4), led by quarterback Pat White, have won three straight bowl games (48-28 over Oklahoma in 2007 Fiesta Bowl, 38-35 over Georgia Tech in 2007 Gator Bowl, 38-35 over Georgia in 2005 Sugar Bowl).
This is the second meeting between the two teams in a bowl game. North Carolina beat the Mountaineers 20-13 in the 1996 Gator Bowl.
Bank of America Stadium will be packed for today’s bowl as the game is sold out.
Goddard’s final week as a college football player has been a busy, but memorable one. He and his teammates visited patients at Levine Children’s Hospital on Monday, took a few laps around the track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Tuesday, took in the Charlotte Bobcats-Washington Wizards basketball game Tuesday evening and participated in a street festival and pep rally Friday.
The football memories aren’t likely to stop there. Goddard has a great shot at playing in the NFL next year.
For now, Goddard will put that dream on hold. All the All-American wants now is a bowl victory.