After racking up nearly 600 yards of total offense against the Tar Heel defense, the Wolfpack found themselves with a chance to win the game with 30 seconds left.
NC State chose to give the ball to their main man, running back T.A. McLendon, who burst through the line from the three-yard line and appeared to cross the goalline for the score. The head linesman signaled touchdown, which led to a huge roar from the Wolfpack fans in attendance, as NC State looked to have tied the score with 24 seconds left.
However, as the field goal unit came on to attempt the PAT to take the lead, the officials discussed the play and overturned the touchdown call, literally taking six points off the scoreboard.
"It was not an overrule," referee Jim Knight said after the game. "The line judge, Rick Page, saw the runner's knee down before the ball crossed the goal line plane. He relayed that information to me and that was how the play was ruled."
McLendon thought otherwise. "I got in," he said following the game. "They called it a touchdown, didn't they?"
After taking the points away, Knight next chose to take ten seconds off the clock, leaving the ball spotted just short of the goalline with 14 seconds remaining and the Wolfpack with no timeouts.
On the next play McLendon fumbled after being hit by defensive end Khalief Mitchell, and safety Kareen Taylor recovered, securing a 30-24 win for the Tar Heels.
Several questions remained following the game. How can a touchdown call by the line judge be overturned? Was McLendon's knee down or did he cross the goalline first? Why did the referees take ten seconds off the clock? Those question's will probably remain unanswered, but either way you slice it, North Carolina came away with a huge victory.
NC State dominated the game statistically, totaling 577 yards of total offense with 304 yards coming on the ground. North Carolina had 356 yards of total offense, but more importantly, no turnovers. The Wolfpack had three crucial turnovers and that proved to be the difference.
NC State lost for the first time in nine games when McLendon rushes for 100 yards, as the junior finished with 117 yards on 19 carries and one score. He also added another 54 yards receiving on two receptions.
Junior quarterback Jay Davis had his second consecutive strong outing, as he completed 22 of 28 passes for 273 yards. Davis played all the snaps at quarterback for NC State.
North Carolina's Darian Durant played perhaps his finest game of the year, as he passed for 192 yards and three touchdowns while completing 15 of 23 passes.
The surprise of the game was the play by fullback Madison Hedgecock. Hedgecock finished with 69 yards on 10 carries, including a huge run late in the fourth quarter on 4th and 1.
NC State (3-2 2-1 ACC) now must prepare for a stiff test next weekend against the Maryland Terrapins (3-2 1-1 ACC) in College Park, Maryland. North Carolina (3-3 2-2 ACC) completes their out of conference schedule with a road game against Utah (5-0).
North Carolina State coach Chuck Amato, center, yells at officials after a touchdown against North Carolina was disallowed, despite the scoreboard in the background showing the score tied, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2004, during the second half in Chapel Hill, N.C. North Carolina won 30-24. (AP Photo/Sara D. Davis)