Goddard ends college career on sour note

Published 6:31 pm Sunday, December 28, 2008

By By Kevin Travis, Sports Editor
CHARLOTTE — If the game would have played out like the season, Trimane Goddard would have ended Saturday’s Meineke Car Care Bowl with the ball firmly in his grasp. Unfortunately for Goddard, the final game of his college career didn’t end the way he would have liked.
The West Virginia Mountaineers took a 31-30 victory over Goddard’s North Carolina Tar Heels at a sold-out Bank of America Stadium. North Carolina (8-5) had its chances, but the Mountaineers (9-4) came up with the clutch plays in the final minutes.
Goddard had a spectacular senior season, which included coming up with two interceptions and one fumble recovery to seal victories for the Heels.
The 5-11, 200-pound safety 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 (Junior Edge also had seven in 1961). Dre Bly had 11 interceptions in 1996 and Lou Angelo recorded eight in 1972.
Goddard, who returned one interception for a touchdown, had 54 tackles, five pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
A co-captain with the Heels, Goddard earned several accolades this year. He was named to the 2008 Associated Press All-America Second Team, 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 finished with six tackles in Saturday’s Meineke Car Care Bowl. However, the senior didn’t play as well as he would have liked.
He couldn’t take down Noel Devine inside the 10 as Devine broke Goddard’s grasp during an 18-yard touchdown run. Goddard was later beat in one-on-one coverage on a 44-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Alric Arnett, who made a nifty one-handed grab on the play, in the first quarter.
In the fourth, Goddard slipped on the turf as Jock Sanders caught 41-yard pass, which led to a West Virginia touchdown that put the Mountaineers up 31-30.
Goddard, who wore No. 31 for the Heels, wouldn’t mind playing in a senior bowl game to get rid of the sour taste left from Saturday’s loss.
While Goddard was hoping to end on a brighter note, he was happy to have played at Bank of America Stadium for the second time in his career. He also played there in the 2004 Continental Tire Bowl, a 37-24 Boston College victory. As a freshman, Goddard recorded one tackle and had a 15-yard kickoff return.
From playing at tiny Roanoke High School, where Goddard set all kind of records and earned numerous awards for the Class 1A Redskins, it’s been a successful journey for the UNC safety.
Goddard finished his UNC career with 12 interceptions (tied for third in UNC history with three others) and 182 tackles. (Dre Bly picked off 20 passes from 1996-98 while Lou Angelo had 16 interceptions from 1970-72.)
While his college days may be numbered, Goddard will likely begin an NFL career next year. He doesn’t care who selects him or where he goes. Goddard is just happy to have the opportunity.
For the UNC safety who had a knack for coming up with clutch picks all season long, any pick by an NFL team will be a blessing.