UNC hardly got embarrassed in its uphill battle against LSU in Saturday night’s Chick-Fil-A Kick Off Classic in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

UNC quarterback T.J. Yates

  • Photo courtesy UNC athletics
  • UNC quarterback T.J. Yates

No, missing 13 players — most of them regular starters — with six ineligible and the other seven held out as a precautionary measure in case they might be, the No. 18 Tar Heels had two shots from the six-yard line in the closing seconds before finally succumbing 30-24 in the season opener for both teams.

Now they’ll get a week off before we all find out who hits the field against Georgia Tech on Sept. 18.

No. 21 LSU led 30-10 at halftime before the Tar Heels scored 14 fourth-quarter points and almost pulled off what would have to have been considered a monumental upset under the circumstances.

Patrick Peterson had 257 yards including an 87-yard touchdown on kickoff and punt returns for the Tigers.

The Tar Heels lost despite an heroic effort from quarterback T.J. Yates, who completed 28 of 45 passes for 410 yards and three touchdowns and was not intercepted. Jheranie Boyd caught six passes for 219 yards and a score.

LSU’s Jordan Jefferson completed 14 of 20 for 157 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Russell Shepard led the Tigers’ ground attack with 72 yards and a touchdown on six carries.