|North Carolina Tar Heels||30|
|24NC State Wolfpack||34|
Wake Forest could keep NC State out of the ACC Championship, but not North Carolina.
Emeka Emezie capped a late comeback to carry the No.20 NC State to an unlikely 34-30 home win over UNC on Friday night.
NC State (9-3, 6-2 ACC) needs the Demon Deacons to lose at Boston College on Saturday to win the Atlantic Division and play the ACC Championship game on Dec. 4 in Charlotte.
Emezie caught a pair of touchdowns from quarterback Devin Leary 26 seconds apart, the second with 1:09 left, to push the Wolfpack forward for the last time.
Sam Howell nearly turned off the lights of the NC State Championship dream on Friday at Carter-Finley Stadium. Howell ran for two touchdowns and threw another, as the Tar Heels (6-6, 3-5) turned a 14-0 deficit into a 24-14 lead in the third quarter.
UNC was leading 30-21 with 2:12 left and it looked like he was going to win. But Leary hit a 64-yard strike at Emezie at 1:35 to make it 30-28.
Kicker Chris Dunn then recovered his own back kick to return the ball to the Wolfpack. A passer penalty and a pass interference penalty on UNC moved the ball into UNC territory and apparently set up Dunn to tempt the winner of the match.
Then Leary threw a 24-yard strike at Emezie for the go-ahead score with 1:09 left on the clock. Leary finished 19 of 30 for 247 yards with four touchdowns.
The NC State defense made one final save to preserve the victory. Howell threw the last pass into the crowd in the end zone from the 30-yard line, but Derrek Pitts managed the interception.
A 26-yard touchdown by Thayer Thomas reduced UNC’s lead to 24-21 with 32 seconds left in the third quarter. The Wolfpack offense had stuttered after getting a big break at the start of the special teams.
Jordan Houston blocked a punt after UNC’s first practice, which CJ Riley recovered for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead at 13:37 in the first quarter.
A 9-yard touchdown pass from Leary to Trent Pennix at 2:14 in the first quarter extended NC State’s lead to 14-0.
Howell, who returned to the lineup after missing last week’s win over Wofford with injury, and the UNC offense continued after that.
British Brooks has entered the game with 11 carries (for 99 yards) in 11 games this season. A 40-yard Brooks set up a 22-yard field goal for UNC by Grayson Atkins at 2:06 pm in the second quarter. Brooks finished with 124 yards on 15 carries.
A 4-yard TD led by Howell with 2:02 left in the first half reduced NC State’s lead to 14-10.
The Tar Heels scored on their first two possessions of the second half. Howell’s 12-yard run made it 17-14 at 9:05 in the third quarter. This was set up by a fumble from NC State running back Ricky Person.
Howell’s 17-yard strike at Olson at 6:03 in the third made it 24-14.