• 59°

UNC takes on NC State hoping to earn bowl invitation

College football: Can Tar Heels get sixth win?

North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren paces on the sideline during the second half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Georgia Tech on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Atlanta. Georgia Tech won 28-26. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina hasn’t earned a bowl berth in a while and hasn’t defeated North Carolina State in even longer.
The Tar Heels can check off both of those boxes Saturday night.
North Carolina can wrap up bowl eligibility for the first time in three years with a victory over a Wolfpack team with nothing to play for — except for the opportunity to spoil things for its fiercest rival.
“When you lose to a rival, you lose for the year,” UNC coach Mack Brown said. “Some of the other games, you go to the next game. Rivals last all year. So, you’ve got to live with it.”
The Tar Heels (5-6, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) haven’t reached the six-win mark since 2016, when they played in the Sun Bowl for their fourth straight postseason appearance under Larry Fedora.
He was fired two days after his second consecutive nine-loss season ended with an overtime loss at home to North Carolina State — his third in a row in the Tobacco Road rivalry. The Wolfpack have won nine of the last 12 meetings.
“It’s time for us to step up and play better” against N.C. State, Brown said. “We’ve got to do our part in this rivalry and we haven’t done that four of the last five years. And you’ve got bowl eligibility at the end for us, and that’s something that these guys want to do.”
The Wolfpack (4-7, 1-6), who have slid into a last-place tie with Syracuse during a five-game losing streak, are left to play for pride and to send their seniors out with a victory over the team they most enjoy beating.
“Every one of these games that I’ve been a part of has been heated, and I know how much we want to win and how much they want to win,” said coach Dave Doeren, who is 4-2 against UNC.
Some things to know about the North Carolina-North Carolina State game:
SCHEDULE STRENGTH
The six teams that have beaten North Carolina are a combined 52-11, including three teams currently ranked — No. 3 Clemson, No. 22 Appalachian State and No. 23 Virginia Tech. Conversely, the Tar Heels’ four FBS victories have come against teams that are a combined 17-27 and of those, only Miami (6-5) will finish the regular season with six wins.
MACK VS. THE PACK
Brown is 5-7 in his career against N.C. State. He lost his first meeting with the Wolfpack in 1983 when he was at Appalachian State, then lost five in a row against them during the first five seasons of his first stint at UNC before winning his next five. His second team at Texas lost to N.C. State in the 1999 opener.
WELCOME BACK, DAZZ
North Carolina WR Dazz Newsome is expected back for this one. UNC said he was suspended for last week’s rout of Mercer after he overslept for a practice during the week.
GOOD KNIGHT
North Carolina State RB Zonovan “Bam” Knight has averaged 100 yards and 7.14 yards per carry during his last three games with a pair of touchdowns in that span. He’s gained 300 yards in three games after picking up 389 in his first eight. Knight ranks sixth among freshmen in the FBS, and third at the power-conference level, in rushing.
___
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

Comments

Business

‘It was an answer to a call:’ TenderHearted Home Care celebrates 10 years of providing care at home

Education

Superintendent talks first 100 days, dives into district data

News

Political Notebook: Local polls find increasing number of North Carolinians want COVID-19 vaccine

News

Trial begins on challenge to latest NC voter ID law

Local

Burch, Fisher, Marsh honored as 2021 recipients of Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award

Landis

Landis board talks revenues, budget planning, department updates

College

College baseball: Catawba rolls 7-1 and 24-1

Nation/World

Student fires at officers at Tennessee school, is killed

Nation/World

Police: Minnesota officer meant to draw Taser, not handgun

Crime

Man receives consecutive prison sentences for sex offenses

BREAKING NEWS

RSS Board of Education approves Faith Elementary sale

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department receives 400 Pfizer, 800 Johnson & Johnson vaccines for week

Crime

Blotter: Accident in Food Lion only weekend shooting to produce injuries

Crime

Salisbury man charged with felony drug crimes

Crime

Second person charged in thefts from house near county line

Crime

Police use tear gas to end robbery stand off, arrest suspect

Local

Ask Us: When will Rowan Public Library’s West Branch open?

Nation/World

Prosecution case nears end in ex-cop’s trial in Floyd death

Nation/World

Officer accused of force in stop of Black Army officer fired

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with hitting man with car, fleeing while intoxicated

Local

‘Meet the need’: Rowan County Health Department looks to add to vaccination options

Local

Seaford is first woman in county hired for town manager position since the ’90s

Local

Colonial Spring Frolic makes a comeback to kick off museum’s year

Local

Concord City Council wants to name bridge for fallen officer, Rowan native