Saturday, November 30, 2019

UNC Bowl Eligible After 41-10 Drubbing of NC State

RALEIGH – Bowl eligibility was on the line for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Pride, and the ability to play spoiler to their biggest rival was on the line for the Wolfpack of NC State. Pride wasn’t enough as UNC’s sensational true freshman Sam Howell threw for 401 yards and three scores en route to a 41-10 win for the Tar Heels and a disappointing end for the 2019 season for the Wolfpack.

North Carolina got some good movement on the first drive of the game, but a big stop and forced fumble by Isaiah Moore forced the Tar Heel punt. The Wolfpack offense, who has been injury-plagued for most of the second half of the season, got their wheels moving after a big run by Jordan Houston got NC State into scoring range, allowing the Wolfpack to get on the scoreboard first with a 30-yard Christopher Dunn field goal.

The UNC offense gained plenty of yards through the air throughout the first half but had little to show for it. The Sam Howell to Dyami Brown connection was strong over the first quarter and a half with the two connecting for receptions of 45 and 33 yards. The second reception got UNC into the red zone where the Heels were forced to settle for a 20-yard Noah Ruggles field goal to knot the score at 3. Ruggles added a second field goal with four minutes left in the half to give North Carolina their first lead of the evening.

Payton Wilson came down with the tipped pass for the interception to give NC State another shot to get on the board before the half and this time the Wolfpack took full advantage. After converting on a fourth and short to extend the drive, Devin Leary hit a wide-open Tabari Hines for a 39-yard score and the home team was able to take a 10-6 lead into the locker room.

Needing something to spark his team, UNC freshman defensive back Don Chapman came down with a pick that gave his team favorable field position early in the second half. Javonte Williams did the rest, catching one pass for twenty-one yards and scampering into the end zone from twenty-nine yards out to give the visitors a 13-10 lead.

Williams added another third-quarter score to cap an eleven-play, seventy-one-yard drive to make it a ten-point UNC lead, but that wasn’t enough as he added a third touchdown late in the quarter, made possible by a Jeremiah Gemmel fumble recovery.

Just when it looked like it couldn’t possibly get any worse for the Wolfpack, UNC’s Trey Morrison stepped in front of an NC State pass and gave the Tar Heels the ball near midfield. The Sam Howell-Dyami Brown connection was reawakened and the duo connected for a fifty-two-yard score to give the visitors a twenty-four point lead going into the final fifteen minutes.

The last points of the night were scored by Dazz Newsome on a 13-yard pass to the back of the end zone, a pass which put Howell over the 400-yard mark for the first time in his collegiate career.

Notable North Carolinians
Javonte Williams (Wallace-Rose Hill) – the sophomore running back scored three touchdowns in the third quarter, breaking open the game for UNC.
Dyami Brown (West Mecklenburg) – the sophomore wide receiver broke free for 150 yards on six receptions, including one touchdown grab.
Payton Wilson (Orange) – redshirt freshman led the Wolfpack with ten tackles and had an interception in the second quarter which set up NC State’s lone first-half touchdown.
Chazz Surratt (East Lincoln) – the junior linebacker led the Tar Heels with ten tackles, including five solo, and a sack.

Noteworthy Notes
With the win, the Tar Heels now lead the series 67-36-6 and are bowl eligible for the first time since 2016.
Tonight’s UNC win breaks a three-game NC State winning streak.
Mack Brown has won six straight games against NC State over his two stints as head coach of the Tar Heels.

Next Week
NC State finishes the 2019 season with a record of 4-8 while North Carolina, at 6-6, will await their bowl matchup.