Choose a blog

Second-half rally gives Pack 29-25 win over Tar Heels

Bookmark and Share

N.C. State wide receiver T.J. Graham (6) beats the last Tar Heel defender, punter C.J. Feagles (30), as runs back a punt for an 87-yard touchdown to give the Wolfpack the lead for good in early in the second half. CHUCK LIDDY -

See 400 unedited images and an edited gallery from the game.

CHAPEL HILL — Two big plays and a stop kept N.C. State's Atlantic Division title hopes alive and gave the Wolfpack a fourth straight win over North Carolina.

The Wolfpack beat UNC, 29-25 in the rivalry's 100th game and one of its most entertaining.

David Amerson and Earl Wolff knocked away a two-point conversion attempt by UNC to seal the win for the Wolfpack (8-3, 5-2 ACC), who are one win away from the ACC title game in Charlotte on Dec. 4.

UNC quarterback T.J. Yates almost derailed the Wolfpack's division title hopes with a mammoth passing game, 411 yards and two touchdowns. His 1-yard touchdown throw to Christian Wilson with 1:05 left cut State's eight-point lead to 27-25.

For the tie, Yates try to hit Highsmith in the right corner of the end zone but it was batted away first by Amerson and then knocked down by Wolff.

The game turned in the same end zone with a similar jump ball, except N.C. State converted the pass for a touchdown and turned a nine-point deficit into a different game.

N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson hit receiver Owen Spencer, via UNC safety Da'Norris Searcy, for a 2-yard touchdown on a wild fourth-down conversion and T.J. Graham returned a punt 87 yards for a touchdown to give the Wolfpack a 24-19 lead.

Josh Czajkowski added a 24-yard field goal with 5:44 left in the fourth quarter to give N.C. State a 27-19 lead.

UNC led 19-10 on two third-quarter field goals by Casey Barth before the Wolfpack's game-changing rally.

 Down nine points with a fourth-and-goal from the 2, State coach Tom O'Brien elected to go for the touchdown. Wilson scrambled back about 15 yards to his right and heaved it to the back corner of the end zone.

From the end line, Searcy leaped and tapped the ball back into the end zone into Spencer's hands. After a lengthy review, the touchdown was confirmed and UNC's lead was cut to 19-17 with 52 seconds left in third quarter.

After a three-and-out by UNC's offense, which had been clicking on all cylinders in the passing game on a record-breaking performance by Yates, Graham took a 43-yard punt by C.J. Feagles at his own 13-yard line and sprinted up the left sideline, Feagles was the only UNC player to touch the speedy Graham who put State up 24-19 for its first lead of the game.

Yates completed his first 11 passes of the game, including a 7-yard touchdown to Anthony Elzy. He had 210 passing yards in the first half as UNC built leads of 7-0, 10-7 and 13-10.

Yates completed 32-of-43 for 406 yards to take the UNC's career record for passing yards (eclipsing Darin Durant's career mark of 8,755 yards).

Elzy continues to be a revelation as an injury substitution for Johnny White. Elzy finished with nine catches for 178 yards and a touchdown.

State added a safety on a sack by Terrell Manning with 27 seconds left for its fourth straight win in the series. It's only the second time in the series, which dates back to 1894, State has won four straight.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Hopefully this team will not

Hopefully this team will not fall apart and pound the crap out of Duke. Hard to say which team will show this coming weekend.

Now that I've calmed down

Great game to watch, all around.  Several lead changes, emotions running high, redzone stops.  This rivalry may not be relevant on a national level, but it sure made for a good game today.

John Shoop needs to be fired.  I don't care who you are, you aren't fooling anyone when you run play action on third and long.  And we opt for a field goal on 4th and goal from the 2?  And with the power back in Elzy, we throw it twice after 2nd and goal from the 4?  Screw all of you UNC fans who put any blame on TJ's shoulders, he played a hell of a game.  This loss, just as last year's, goes on the coaching staff.  That was atrocious play calling down the stretch.  And CJ Feagles?  WTF do you do with your life?  Whatever, if you've been given the privilege to suit up on Saturdays and you don't want to hit someone, then you should be getting drunk at the tailgate rather than showing off your female genetalia on the football field.

Congrats to the Pack.  As I said before, you played a full four quarters and showed that you were the team that deserved to win.  There were a lot of familiar faces this year, but there won't be as many next year.  It will be interesting to see what's written on the next page of this rivalry.  Great win today, and I wish you guys the best next weekend and in Charlotte (might make the trip to see you play the Hokies).  Enjoy the night, I know it's a good feeling.

same story just not written together in the same room!

your 2nd paragraph is exactly what I wrote up above, albeit yours was written first.  from Shoop to Feagles ... AMEN. 


come on g-alligator, how about having an original thought sometimes, all u do is suck up to holes-20! go DUKE-CHAMPS.


Me and hole 20 are hanging out at the double wide today drinking Schmitz and going over tape of yesterday's game. We're trying to figure out how Bryan wasn't called for a hold on RW's deep ball that set up their first TD. The two players were only out on an island.

(Ping) whine

... see your comments on the blog re: the fight.

Now that I haven't calmed down..

I'd like to thank the carolina fan who sold me 4 tickets on the 40 yard line right in the middle of a sea of powder blue. My two sons, (wearing bright red, mind you) will never forget this day.

I totally agree with Heels20 on the O play calling for unc- it was horrible! What were they thinking trying to play smash  mouth football between the tackles when play action was working so well?

I guess when you run out of real estate in the red zone you ditch all that was working prior- but hats off to the men in Red on D who stepped up when they had to time and time again in the red zone to prevent TD's.

All miraculous plays aside- that was the difference in this game- unc's inability to score TD's in the red zone.

So Eloquent...

Want to know who is buried in the "Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers?"...just ask Heels20 who clearly knows everthing!

What a way with words...blame it all on the offensive coach...TJ's career in Kenan ended with him being sacked in his own end-zone for a safety...very fitting.  Like so many other situations throughout this season and his career, TJ lacked the quickness or the agility to ditch the ball.  Mind you, the game was over anyway. 

As for the offensive coach, he should have at least experimented with another QB during the season.  If you want to single out a coach, how about the special teams that lost the game today and the one versus LSU with punt returns for touchdowns?

Heels20 is very vocal yet not fully coherent or accurate with his assessments.


Thanks, Wal Mart

Glad you hold a grudge because I disagreed with you on a topic.

Notice that TJ threw for 411 yards today.  2 TDs, no picks.  Also notice that I mentioned in another post how Feagles blew it.  You are an embarrassment to the University of North Carolina.  Fortunately, you've made it fully clear that you did not earn a degree from UNC.  Please cheer for another school.  Work on your reading comprehension before you ever again pollute this blog with your diarrhea of the keyboard.

Such Eloquence from Heels20...

As stated before, Heels20 really has a way with words.  And, he is wrong about yet another topic.  I attended UNC courtesy of a full, merit-based award and later obtained an MBA.

Who has the time or the interest in reading all of you lengthy and bombastic posts?



Thanks's nice to

Thanks's nice to have gatr arguing with somebody else for a change!  I can finally catch my breath!  =)


Heels20. Although, I could argue with him if need be.

On the off chance you attended UNC

I'm embarrassed.  You have demonstrated several times this week that you are not an intelligent person.

nor is he ...

knowledgable in the world of Carolina Football.  I don't know how many times you agreed with him to an extent that Renner shoould have gotten some spot play, but TJ played well enough 90 some percent of the time to not warrant much or any from Renner this season.

I guess this guy also feels the goofy back-up QB over at state should have played more this season as well ... especially the first half of the season!? ...

Silly remark

State has a better starting QB than TJ there is more of a compelling reason to keep Wilson on the field as much as possible.  In head-to-head QB matchups, Yates is zero-for-three against Wilson.  Wilson has a chance to put his team into the ACC Championship Game.  Yates never led his team into serious contention for the title over three years.

Yates has superlative individual passing statistics, yet he is not a prolific or consistent winner.  Look at his production of TDs from the red zone...not an impressive stat at all.

Who knows if Renner is better than State's back-up QB since Renner never gets onto the field... even in games like VT when he should have come in at the end of Q3.

Rw vs Tj

RW is a good QB, but in my biased opinion, I am not so sure that I would take him over TJ. From a winning number of seasons standpoint, TJ has more than RW. Yes, RW is 3-0 against TJ, head to head, but in the last two years, it could easily gone the other way. Blocked field goal last year. This past game, they both played well enough to win, obviously for RW, but TJ had the much better game. Nothing he did helped State out the way Searcy's tipped pass or several poor special teams plays did. Admittedly, RW's decision making has not been as good this year, but here they are, knocking on the door to an ACC title game.

Now if RW was in the Carolina Blue uniform, I am sure I could make a case as to why he is so good, besides being an outstanding person.

I know no one will agree with me on this, but that is the way I see it through my blue tinted glasses, sorry about that.

He's done gone lost his freakin mind

I'm on here minding my own business and analyzing the game and he feels it necessary to attack me for a discussion we had LAST WEEK.  And his argument sucks.  "We should've played Renner, I told you so!"  Yeah, because TJ didn't throw for 400 yards or anything.  His third 400+ game of the year.  How can one be so blind?

Not Blind...

What good is 400 yards when TJ's scoring profiency in the red-zone (...this means TDs, not FGs) is sub-par.  Also, the main reason that UNC had -7 yards rushing is because Yates is so immobile that he cannot get out of his own way.  I am happy for TJ that he has passed for exemplary individual yardage statistics ...I just wish he could have been more of a leader and winner by making plays in the red zone and by not taking so many sacks over three years.

Thanks H20.  Twas indeed a

Thanks H20.  Twas indeed a ridiculously epic game...just sucks that somebody had to lose it.  TJ played well, and you're right, anyone who is blaming him should be "dissociated".  You may be right about Shoop, I'm sure you know him better than I.  Carolina had great success early on with the screen passes (much like ECU did against us), and I thought we would see much, much more of that as the game went on.  4th down calls are always tricky; to be honest, I did not agree with State going for it on 4th down when they ended up getting the miracle TD.  State was down 9 at that point with plenty of time left.  I always thought you were supposed to go for the points when you need them, but hey, somehow it worked out for us.  Didn't I say that State would somehow, some way pull this one out?  Unbelievable game...should be an ESPN instant classic IMO.


Yes...Couldn't have been a better day for football. This game had it all. Again Carolina beat themselves. It seems to be a story that continues to repeat itself. Yes TJ had his 400+ game but we had - yardage rushing for the game. Elzy played lights out but our O-line kept missing blocking assignments. I believe the Pack had 7 sacks for the day. Some of that was not the o-lines fault. The D put some decent pressure on Wilson and limited his production in general, but he is a master of putting together those plays that kill ya. Hats off to the one of my favorite QBs in ACC history. Ditto on your other comments about Shoop and Feagles. To CJ...when your last guy standing you do everything in your power keep that score from happening. Remember your counter parts tackle in the VT game last year. That tackle alone should have solidified his job for this year.
Shoop. I know you are depleted but good god come up with something a little more creative than sticking Renner out there as a punter with the possibility of a pass.
Again good luck Pack next weekend on a tough game. Hope you make it to Charlotte.

I'd like to say...

Congratulations to NCSU's players, coaches, and fans on the victory today. I had to listen to the game on the radio at work, and it sounded loud at the stadium. NCSU made the plays it had to down the stretch. When UNC was kicking all of those FG's I said to the UNC student working with me that those would come back to bite them. Sure enough.....

Well, there's one game left for UNC. I've somehow secured free tickets and a parking pass beside the stadium over in Durham, so I'll go just for the tailgate. I hope to see Renner play some, and do more than just punt. UNC needs to start looking for what's coming next year. Sure, they'll probably go to a bowl game, but that doesn't hide the fact the team is losing a lot next year. I'm hoping Gio Bernard heals up, Blue heals up, etc.... and the team surprises next season, but the defense especially will lose a lot. Why not get Renner's feet wet. He's eligible and all?


Its not all doom and gloom for next year on defense. We have an improved D-line coming back and some talented secondary as well. Price really impressed me the past two games. He played extremely well. Offensively we can't help but be better. Our O=line is going to be really good. . . It would be nice to go out 8-5 so we have to beat the Dukies I'm looking for two tickets BTW.

someone had a coming out party in the loss

Paige-Moss.  The guy was a bad ass on the field today (yesterday).  look forward to seeing him next season for sure! 

Dude did contribute to the

Dude did contribute to the highlight reel, I have to agree.

He should be a stud in the years to come...assuming he stops punching people.

I agree...

UNC has some real players returning. The defense can be very good. Davis's first class will be going where they go, and we'll see how the 2nd, 3rd and so on classes can do. On offense, I too hope UNC has a different coordinator. I had to listen on the radio, but even I saw all those play action calls coming.


I read somewhere that Reddick said the reason he acted in such a way to get expelled was because he was spit at. Williams said the same thing. What's up with that? Seems like if it was true those guys should be waiting by NCSU's bus to settle out that junk.

How's that recruiting "Championship" working out for the Holes??

Typical N&O Headline... "Heels Edge Pack in Recruiting War"... And first storyline... "NC State may be one game ahead in the ACC Standings, but in the recruiting rankings, it isn't even close." ... Really!?! One day from the 100th meeting of the teams ON THE FIELD, the Very First Story on the N&O's Sports Webpage is NOT about NC State "Going for 4th Straight Win OVER UNC-Cheatin' Hill" or maybe, "Wolfpack gunning for first ACC Title in 40 years"... NO, its how the Mighty Tar Holes are "dominating" the Pack in the all-important "Recruiting War!" How's that "Recruiting Championship Trophy" looking in Cheatin' Hill today?? And you antique media members wonder why the ABC'ers accuse you of Tar Hole-bias..... Really!?!

instead of antique

why didn't you use the word antiquated?  Probably bc you didn't know the word exsisted or what it meant.

Congratulations Pack. Wilson

Congratulations Pack. Wilson did his thing though I thought UNC did a pretty good job containing him. Special teams just did us in. Feagles needs to go. What a wimpy ass attempt at a tackle on that punt return.. Nice offensive mix for the Pack and a really lousy play calling for the Heels ( again ). Some real lapses on the offensive line but what do you expect when you throw the ball 99% of the time. Elzy was sensational. Bruce Carter was sensational until he got hurt. Play of the game for the Heels was Burney's hit and the punt return for the Pack. I am ready for this season to be over. I hope Russell is able to bring home the championship. It would be a fitting end to his great career.

shoop needs to go

and I think he will.  UNC and their fans are tired of his boring, terrible play calling. 

Feagles does need to go as well.  Never thought I would say a punter needed to go, but it seems like he does something stupid every week.  take your pick today (yesterday). the line drive punt that allowed state to get one hell of a running start on their way to the endzone or the BS attempt at a tackle from Feagles.  Something tells me this guy is an ass off the field.

what I haven't read so far in the posts, and i'm only half way throught them, is the pack's defensive effort inside the red zone or just outside it.  Even though Shoop went conservative in these moments (as usual), state made the neccessary plays to hold the Heels to FG's.  That in itself was the key to state's victory.  UNC outplayed state big time on the offensive side of the ball, but you have to score TD's or you will get snake bitten which UNC did big time.

I will say, though, that (and I can't recall who the UNC player was) he was not out at the two yd line on the leap to the endzone.  He was out inside the one and very close to the goal line, but the ball was placed on the two, still, after the review.  Didn't understand that at all as he never stepped out of bounds.  We'll never know, but you have to think UNC goes for it if the ball is placed in its appropriate spot inside the one on 4th down.  alas, it was not and UNC had to kick a chippy.

this game is so hard to swallow as, yet again, the wrong team won on the given day of the game.  The intangibles beat UNC today (yesyerday).  great effort by ncsu today and the never quit or die attitude.  good luck the rest of the year. 

Yep that was Elzy and I

Yep that was Elzy and I agree he was much closer than the spot. I would have gone for it on that drive, even from the two, and pinned State on the goal line.

Oh well. Seems  like everyone is in agreement on Shoop, Feagles and TJ. I just hope this team can muster up some kick butt on Duke next weekend. I have been saying all season that Duke hasn't put together a complete game all year and it would be our luck to have it happen this coming Sat. It would be great for this team to go out 8-5 after all the adversity it went through this year.

Another epic chapter in this

Another epic chapter in this great series.  After this game, anyone who says this isn't a rivalry is just plain stupid.  Congrats to TJ for playing well on senior day (aside from the safety), and to the rest of the non-cheating Heels.  Glad it was such a competitive and entertaining game, but even more glad that State won, of course.  Too bad Deunta Williams didn't "step down" to our level...0-4 must feel terrible.

Haven't read any comments...

But congrats to the Pack.  The highs are high and the lows are low.  You guys played all four quarters and earned a good win.  Best of luck next weekend and hopefully you'll have success in Charlotte against the Hokies.

What happened to the

What happened to the guaranteed Carolina win?  Boom!

Heels20 is usually a respectable poster, so I won't hate too much.  But for the Holes fans that have been arrogantly running their mouths all season long (GoHeels1984 comes to mind), it's time for you to STFU!  Have fun at the tire bowl!


For the second year in a row, it was a game where the outcome could've been completely altered by changing one play.  But when it came down to it, State made the necessary plays when it mattered and deserved the win.  No blame on officiating.  No blame on injuries.  You guys won and we lost.

Cheaters Never Win

It's true! It's true!  Cheaters Never Win!!!


The 4th down deflection in the end zone, the blown kick coverage on the punt, it just seemed as if those were turning points in an otherwise well played game for UNC given the limited weapons they had on offense.   Even back to the two dropped TD passes by Pianalto against LSU, this team has had more than its share of bad luck this year

Turning point

Just before that all happened, I was ready to concede and give props to Yates, Elzy and UNC's defense, which made the Pack look bad all day. The deflection for the TD turned the tide and, yes, had an element of luck, but was also a heads up play by Owen Spencer. We've been waiting all year for Graham to break one and he picked a great time to do it.

No doubt, the Pack stole one this afternoon. The Tar Heels are probably hanging their heads right now, but they shouldn't. They played well today and, given the distractions this season, the guys on the field this year have a lot to be proud of.


It was a beautiful day and a good crowd for the game. UNC played well and well enough to win. I have not looked at the stats, but T.J. had a very good game and seemed to outplay RW, no doubt. On Spencer's TD, and it was a great play by him, RW had thrown it out of the end zone, even if the State player back there had caught it, he would have been out of the end zone, but Searcy, I think, swatted it back into the field of play. That and the punt return, were key for sure. Even after those two plays, TJ and Elzy, et. al. were still able to drive down and score and had a chance to tied it up. 

Thanks for your complimentary observations and any State fan mouthing off, and I have read a few here already, obviously missed the game, were not able to comprehend what they saw, or only watched the last 40 some seconds. 

Ah, so UNC fan can mouth off

Ah, so UNC fan can mouth off all year long, but after they lose to State, we aren't allowed to mouth ya.  Makes perfect sense.

Again, drink a few more my friend.  You get no sympathy here.  Lucky or not this year, it's four in a row, so I think you would be best advised to not run your smug, arrogant mouth for a while.

Mouthing off

I wasn't, I haven't and I won't mouth off. It is very, let's say idiotic, so you can all you want, I don't mind at all.  I was just saying that those that do either missed watching the game or were so "blind" that that they really missed a lot of great football. 

JPD saw it and his comments reflected that. Take notes from him, or don't.

Just because JPD usually

Just because JPD usually keeps his posts G-rated (which is a very commendable thing, I agree), it doesn't mean that everyone else should do so.  Heck, you and gatr could take note from JPD...most everyone here could.

You claim that you aren't running your mouth?!?  Wow, you really are delusional.  I simply said "TOB > BMFD", and according to you that means I didn't watch the game?  Get over yourself, loser.  Your team was full of cheaters this year, your head coach is a lying sack of you-know-what, and your fans are being exposed for the hyprocritical, smug douches that they are.  Get over yourself, and get the fukk out the time for losers!

jeez max

I am starting to feel like Sandy before she got bad in Grease. Don't make me break out in song. It won't be pretty.

Bottom line-this was a rivalry game that lived up to its hype. UNC didn't lose it; State won it. Say what you want about UNC's inability to score touchdowns in the red zone, the Pack's defense has been making plays in the red zone all year. Give them all the credit.

Anyone who blames this loss on TJ Yates is an irrational idiot. He scared the crap (G-rated)out of me all day. Thank goodness (G-rated) the punt returner on that last punt didn't fair catch the ball and give TJ better field position. Even with less than a minute left, the way Yates was playing and the way State's defense has given up big plays late this year, every Pack fan alive would have been on the edge of their seats counting the seconds down.

All in all, a great college football game.


I am pretty sure that UNC lost this game and State won it. If it is any different, please let me know, because I have has the aching pain in my stomach since Saturday afternoon and I am pretty sure that it is because of the outcome of this game.

State's defense was good, but UNC chose to kick the FG's versus going for it on fourth down. Could have been different if on that fourth and 2 the ball was placed on the 1 foot line?, but there are way too many "coulda, wouldas" in this game to keep track (ref. Searcy's tipped ball). I just know for the majority of the game, UNC played well enough to win.

Agree, regarding T.J., he had a great game and it was only because of his play that UNC led most of the game and even had a chance to win it. Of course, props to RW as well, the long run, the scrambling effort on the 2 yard "hail mary" (it will be a while before I recover from that one, of course that's what I thought last year when Barth stuck his foot in the ground on the FG attempt, and that didn't take too long) all made it possible for State to be in a position to win.  

Of course this is only 4 in a row, so I am not really worried at this point. Now if it turns out to be 10, I will probably start to take notice, but if that happens, I sure State fans will only just see it as another game by that point.


Way to tie it up in the end! Lol




Still under the influence.

Let me take the time to say that while I sometimes get riled up, it's all in good fun here.  I actually like you and guys are alright.  The rivalry is a world of it's own, and I enjoy being a savage in that world.  It's a great outlet for me, and a big part of my life.  Just know that outside of that world, I'm a reasonable, rational I'm sure many of you are.

Okay, getting too sappy here.  I hate your freakin guts (especially this week), but if I saw either of you on the side of the road with a flat, I wouldn't hesitate to stop and help.  Good luck next week/year, and I'll see ya in January.

Looking forward to it

Looking forward to it

stay classy

you have about as much class as a jerk.  you ALWAYS act like your team has never been in the winners circle.   keep on truckin', Max and stay classy.

Talk about a jerk.  You

Talk about a jerk.  You guys have the nerve to run your mouths and act like you're in the winner's circle even after you lose!


Btw, you still happy that Deunta won't "step down to that level"?  Classic Carolina.  Of course, your fans and players are always so classy, right?

Cars View All
Find a Car
Jobs View All
Find a Job
Homes View All
Find a Home

Want to post a comment?

In order to join the conversation, you must be a member of Click here to register or to log in.

About the blogger

Joe Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997.