CHAPEL HILL - One up for grabs pass was caught by NC State in the end zone, but another fell to the ground for UNC. That was the difference as NC State walked away from Chapel Hill with an emotional 29-25 win.
State secured the win when redshirt sophomore linebacker Terrell Manning sacked Yates in the end zone with 27 seconds left in the game for a safety.
NC State's defense came up with the first big play of the game. UNC senior tight end Ed Barham caught a 13-yard pass to the NCSU 28-yard line, but fifth-year senior middle linebacker Nate Irving ripped the ball out of his hands for the Wolfpack. Sophomore defensive tackle Brian Slay hustled to recover the ball, and replay upheld the play.
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North Carolina struck first offensively.
NC State redshirt sophomore cornerback C.J. Wilson missed an open-field tackle on UNC senior running back Anthony Elzy, and he went 46 more yards to the NCSU 23-yard line. Elzy gained 52 yards on the pass from senior quarterback T.J. Yates.
NCSU senior defensive end David Akinniyi responded with a sack for minus-13 yards, but the Tar Heels bounced back. Yates threw a screen pass to Elzy, who rumbled for 20 yards to the Wolfpack 16-yard line. Elzy then rushed for nine yards and capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown reception from Yates to give UNC a 7-0 lead with 4:34 left in the first quarter.
NC State got on the board with 10:30 left in the first half, tying the game at 7-7 on a two-yard touchdown pass from redshirt junior Russell Wilson to fifth-year senior wide out Darrell Davis. Two plays before that Wilson hit senior receiver Owen Spencer on a 48-yard bomb to the UNC 4.
Czajkowski made the extra point to tie the game. Freshman walk-on Chris Hawthorne handled kickoffs Saturday however.
UNC took advantage of a Wilson interception to retake the lead at 10-7. Wilson tried to connect with sophomore running back James Washington out of the backfield on a wheel route, but UNC safety Da'Norris Searcy had excellent coverage and made the pick at the NC State 39.
The Heels reached the NC State 9 when Yates swung out a pass out to Elzy for 7 yards on third and goal to the NC State 2, forcing a 19-yard field goal from Casey Barth with 2:38 left in the first half.
Aided by three UNC penalties, NC State quickly tied the game with a 47-yard field goal by Czajkowski with 1:08 left in the first half.
UNC quickly responded. Yates found sophomore receiver Erik Highsmith for a 29-yard pass on first and 10 at the UNC 33 to the NC State 38. That helped set up UNC kicker Casey Barth's career long field foal of 49 yards with 15 seconds left in the first half, making the score 13-10 in favor of UNC at halftime.
North Carolina scored first in the second half.
Yates connected with senior H-back Ryan Taylor for a first down on fourth and three, and then found Taylor again for 18 yards to the NC State 7-yard line. The Wolfpack defense stiffened, and Irving made a nice break on a pass to knock it down in the end zone to force a field goal.
Barth made his third field goal of the game, a 21-yarder, to give the Tar Heels a 16-10 lead with 9:42 left in the third quarter. Barth later tacked on his fourth field goal, when he made a 38-yarder to give UNC a 19-10 lead with 4:38 left in third.
Wilson rushed 34 yards on third down and 18, and then drew a late hit penalty from UNC defensive tackle Quinton Coples to set up first down and goal at the four-yard line. Wilson eluded four different Tar Heels defenders on the play.
North Carolina's defense stiffened on the first three plays, but NC State went for it. The fourth down and two play broke down and Wilson scrambled right and just threw the ball up. The ball got tipped by Searcy and scooped up by Owen Spencer for a miraculous two-yard touchdown with 52 seconds left to cut the UNC lead to 19-17. Instant replay confirmed the touchdown and the Wolfpack had new life.
NC State fifth-year senior wide receiver Jarvis Williams and UNC middle linebacker Kevin Reddick were both tossed out of the game on the touchdown.
NC State forced a UNC punt on the Heels next possession, and junior receiver T.J. Graham made them pay with an 87-yard punt return for a touchdown to give State its first lead of the game at 24-19 with 14:07 left in the contest.
State forced UNC's first three-and-out on the next possession. The Pack then went to work on the clock. State ran eight times in a 10-play possession and reached the UNC 2 before being forced to kick a field goal. After a delay of game penalty, Czajkowski made a 24-yarder with 5:41 left to give the Pack a 27-19 lead.
The Heels started their next possession strong with a couple of screen passes to Elzy that went for 17 and 42 yards respectively to the NC State 20. Three straight Shaun Draughn runs netted eight yards, forcing a fourth and two. Yates completed a pass to Joshua Adams, who originally dropped the pass but hauled in the rebound.
Yates was sacked on first and goal at the 16. After an incomplete pass, he connected with Highsmith for a 16-yard touchdown with 1:18 to go, but officials ruled after further review that Highsmith was down at the NC State 1.
On fourth and goal, Yates hit an open tight end Christian Wilson for a one-yard touchdown with 1:05 left in the game. The two-point conversion attempt though failed when a scrambling Yates had to throw the ball up for grabs and it was knocked away.
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