Charlie Justice’s Greatest Game?

Oh, long time Tar Heel football fans, I’ve got a question for you. What Charlie Justice football game at UNC would you consider to be his “greatest”? Or, said another way, if you had a time machine and could go back in time to watch any game that Choo Choo played…which one would it be?

8 thoughts on “Charlie Justice’s Greatest Game?”

  1. If this post was indeed “aimed” at me, I am honored and pleased to comment.

    If you look at statistics, Charlie Justice’s greatest game as a Tar Heel came on October 2, 1948, against the University of Georgia. He gained a total of 304 yards in leading Carolina to a 21 to 14 win that day. The stat sheet looked like this:

    Touchdowns. Justice 3 (9-yard run in the 3rd quarter, 13-yard run in the 3rd quarter, 84-yard punt return in the 4th quarter)

    … but that game was played at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. I believe the question was what game “at UNC.” That’s touch. I’m sure many would say the ’48 Texas game, when Charlie ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more.

    But for me, if I could be in Kenan one more time for a Charlie Justice game, I would turn back the clock to November 20th, 1948…the day Wallace Wade brought his Duke Blue Devils to town. As a matter of fact, I’d settle for getting to see one play from that game.

    About half way through the 3rd quarter with the score tied 0-0, Duke’s Freddie Folger punted to Carolina and Bill Maceko returned the punt to the Duke 43. On first down, Justice took a handoff from Hosea Rodgers about midfield and started out to his right. As he approached the south sideline, four Duke defenders were waiting…he almost went down, but regained his footing. At about the 25 yard line he cut in behind Bob Mitten’s block of the Duke safety. The record book calls it a 43-yard run…but those who were there that day say Justice ran at least 100 yards on the play. A description in “The Alumni Review” went like this: “The Carolina Choo Choo curved in and out of Duke’s roadblocks along a route as crooked as the Southern Railway’s train tracks that climb the mountains between Old Fort and Ridgecrest on the way to Justice’s hometown of Asheville.” UNC Head Coach Carl Snavely said he had never seen a better run.

    I agree with the coach.

    To see Justice’s run in the ’48 UNC-Duke game, click on “Magic Moment #35.”

  2. Jack, I didn’t “aim” the post at anyone in particular, but I certainly appreciate your comments! I’ve read about a lot of Charlie Justice’s games, but I wanted another opinion (or opinions) about this topic. I have an ulterior motive for posting the question…one that I will reveal at a later date. Thanks for your help!

  3. A recent commenter thought all of Charlie Justice’s games at UNC were great. The comment reminded me of one of my favorite Justice stories…one that I recently included in a post on “A View To Hugh.”

    In the spring of 1980 when longtime Sports Editor of the “Greensboro Daily News” Smith Barrier was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, WFMY-TV sports reporter Johnny Phelps interviewed Barrier and asked him to list his favorite sports moments. Said Barrier, “I’d have to put Frank McGuire and the 1957 national champion Tar Heels near the top. And of course David Thompson leading NC State to a NCAA championship in the Greensboro Coliseum in 1974… and Billy Joe Patton at the Masters in 1954.” At that point Barrier paused for several seconds. Then he added, “and every time Charlie Justice handled the ball for Carolina was a genuine thrill.”

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