Zero Dark Thursday in national spotlight
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's just the second Thursday night game in the past three seasons for Carolina football, and with ESPN'S College Gameday in town, all eyes are on an electric Chapel Hill.
"For us as announcers this is one we kind of circle at the start of the year. I think this community right now is really buzzing around. I went for a jog this morning around campus and you can kind of already feel it and see it. So this is an environment I know as announcers we're all finally excited to see," said ESPN college football analyst Jesse Palmer.
The fan frenzy is well underway on Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill. More than 10,000 fans are headed to Kenan Stadium for the Thursday night match-up.
The Heels have dubbed the match-up Zero Dark Thursday - their fans will be in black, the field is in black, and the team will be showing off their new black uniforms. All the hype only adds to the excitement surrounding the nationally televised game.
"I know as players they absolutely love it. And they are sweet by the way. There's a reason these fans get so excited and the players get excited," Palmer said.
Local businesses are restaurants are looking to cash in. They're serving up foor and a front row bar seat to the game.
"The location's great. Downtown Chapel Hill couldn't be better. People like to come downtown," La Residence restaurant's Fran Gualtieri said.
During the last nationally televised game in 2009, fans boosted the local economy to the tune of $6.3 million.
Even though Carolina enters Thursday's game with just one win under their belts, the Gameday crew said that a win could turn their season around and possibly put them on the path toward a bowl game.
"Something just weird happens on Thursday night football. You never know what's going to happen," ESPN sideline reporter Samantha Ponder said.
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