NC State forced six turnovers and the Wolfpack amassed 466 yards of total offense in a 41-10 blowout win over rival UNC in Kenan Stadium.
The win keeps State’s (5-6, 3-4 ACC) bowl hopes alive while UNC dropped it’s second consecutive game and now sit at 7-4 overall and 3-4 in the ACC.
The Wolfpack started the scoring with a 39-yard field goal from Josh Czajkowski after recovering a Shaun Draughn fumble at the UNC 23-yard line.
After holding UNC on the ensuing possession, State took over at their own three yard line and would begin an impressive 11 play drive that would cover 97 yards and eat up better than five minutes on the clock.
The Pack converted on three key third downs on the drive and finished it off with a strike from QB Russell Wilson to TE George Bryan for 17 yards and the touchdown.
UNC would respond and drive 44 yards on 11 plays for a Connor Barth 37-yard field goal to narrow the lead to seven at 10-3 with 8:48 left in the half.
Both teams would trade possessions the rest of the second quarter and the Pack threatened to build on their lead late in the half after a TJ Yates’ pass was intercepted by DE Willie Young and returned to the UNC 39 yard line. However, the Pack was able to pick up just eight yards and Wilson’s fourth down pass to WR TJ Graham fell incomplete.
Third downs were huge for State in the first half as they converted on five of 10 opportunities while the Heels were successful on just one of six attempts.
The second half opened with both teams trading possessions. However, Wilson completed a huge 55-yard pass to WR Owen Spencer that moved the Pack inside the red zone. From there it would be all Jamelle Eugene as he caught two passes for 14 yards then carried the ball for the final six as State would open up a 17-3 lead.
The Heels would respond quickly, moving 60 yards in just five plays- the drive culminating in a Ryan Houston five yard run to close the gap to 17-10.
From there on it would be all Wolfpack. With 6:44 left in the third quarter, State took over at their own 32 yard line and proceeded to drive 68 yards in 10 plays, culminating in a two yard plunge by Andre Brown to give the Pack a 24-10 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Richard Quinn was stripped by S JC Neal and the Pack took over at the UNC 21 yard line. On the next play Wilson would hit Spencer on a beautiful 21 yard pass as the Pack took a 31-10 lead.
State would add a 32-yard Czajkowski field goal to make it 34-10 in the fourth quarter. Following a Robbie Leonard interception of Cam Sexton, State would close out the scoring on a Eugene one yard run that gave State their final margin of victory, 41-10.
While the Pack’s set season highs in total yards (466), passing (279) and rushing (187), it was the defense that set the tone all day for NC State. The Pack stuffed the UNC running game and harassed the Heels’s QB’s all day.
Carolina was held to just 203 total yards, their lowest output of the year and State’s six forced turnovers were the most since the Pack forced six against Eastern Kentucky in 2005.
Willie Young, in particular, had one of his biggest games in a Wolfpack uniform. The junior defensive end finished the game with four tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss and an interception.
Offensively, QB Russell Wilson continued to make his case for ACC rookie-of-the-year honors. The freshman QB finished the day by setting the Wolfpack record for most pass attempts (203) without an interception. That streak is now the nation’s longest. In all, Wilson completed 17 of 28 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns while adding 50 yards on the ground on 11 carries.
The Pack now returns to Carter-Finley Stadium next weekend for a crucial matchup with the Miami Hurricanes. State needs one more win for bowl eligibility while the Hurricanes will be looking to rebound from a 41-23 loss to Georgia Tech.