ATLANTA — North Carolina's final two chances to beat LSU and complete an epic comeback ended with quarterback T.J. Yates trying to find tight end Zack Pianalto in the end zone.
Each pass from the 6-yard line hit Pianalto but he couldn't come down with either. The second pass, on the final play, was close and could have been considered pass interference under different circumstances.
Pianalto, who finished with a team-best eight catches for 74 yards, was not interested in excuses or the blame game for UNC's 30-24 loss.
"I dropped both of them," Pianalto said.
The first pass hit Pianalto off his pads in the back of the end zone. The second pass bounced off his hands near the goal line. Yates, who finished with a career-best 413 yards, said he was looking for Pianalto all the way and will continue to lean on the senior tight end.
"That's the guy I'm going to in that situation," Yates said. "No doubt about it, next week if we're in the same situation, I'm going back to him."
A dejected Pianalto could have easily hid from the media or blamed the ref or the missing UNC players for the loss but chose to accept responsibility.
"I don't want tell you how I feel right now," Pianalto said. "At least we know we have a team full of fighters. We came back at halftime down 30-10 and how chance to win on the last two plays. I think that says a lot about our team."