ACC Football: N.C. State 13, North Carolina 0
By Aaron Beard
RALEIGH ó As the final seconds ticked away, North Carolina Stateís players on the sideline extended their hands into the air and held up all five fingers for the home crowd to see. When the celebration made its way across the field, the fans offered those five-fingered waves right back.
These days, beating North Carolina is becoming a tradition for N.C. Stateís players, students and fans. And this time, the Tar Heels didnít put up a whole lot of fight to stop it.
Mike Glennon threw a touchdown pass to help N.C. State beat North Carolina 13-0 on Saturday, earning a fifth straight win against its nearby rival as well as its first shutout win in the series in more than five decades.
Itís the first time the Wolfpack (5-4, 2-3 ACC) has taken five straight meetings with the Tar Heels (6-4, 2-4) since 1988-92. And it once again proved that coach Tom OíBrien ó still unbeaten against UNC ó knows how to win the most important game to the Wolfpackís fan base.
ěI never play this for me,î OíBrien said. ěMy job is to make sure I help them do everything they can to get ready to play the football game. That being said, Iím certainly going to enjoy this one tonight. I can promise you that.î
The rivalry got a little extra spice late in the week when OíBrien and North Carolina interim coach Everett Withers traded verbal jabs about graduation rates and the lingering NCAA investigation of the UNC program. The tiff seemed to give N.C. Stateís players extra juice for this one, so much so that linebacker Terrell Manning said heíd like to ěgive the Carolina head coach some money for helping us out.î
OíBrien and N.C. State got the last word by celebrating the Wolfpackís first shutout of UNC since 1960, its first shutout of an ACC opponent in a decade and the first in five seasons under the coach.
ěCoach OíBrien has never been one to run off at the mouth, so anytime he steps up and says something to defend us, weíve got to have his back,î Manning said.
The Tar Heels now can look forward to another year of hearing about the losing streak.
ěThis is a big game in this state,î Withers said. ěThis is supposed to be a rivalry, and itís supposed to eat at you. Itís supposed to get to you when you lose, and youíre supposed to remember it, get better and come back the next year and try to do something about it.î
James Washington ran for 110 yards for N.C. State, which again saved its best for the Tar Heels in a surprisingly one-sided ó and often ugly ó contest. The Wolfpack ranked in the bottom half of the leagueís defensive statistics, but shut down freshman runner Giovani Bernard and knocked starting quarterback Bryn Renner from the game by the end of the third quarter to give UNC its first shutout loss since 2006.
Manning had 11 tackles and a sack to lead a unit that had four sacks and three interceptions. That made it easy on Glennon, who threw an interception on the first drive but protected the ball the rest of the day. His touchdown pass was a 12-yard scoring strike to T.J. Graham in the back of the end zone on N.C. Stateís second drive. Niklas Sade added two short field goals.
ěWhen theyíre playing that well on defense, it just helps the offenseís confidence,î Glennon said. ěYou kind of feel like youíre playing downhill all game knowing that if we have to punt, itís not really a bad thing because our defense is going to hold them.î
The Tar Heels managed minus-7 yards through the first quarter, 32 through the first half and finished with 165 ó including just 3 yards on the ground. While Bernard became the first Tar Heel in 14 years to run for more than 1,000 yards in a season, he managed just 47 yards on 18 carries.