• 54°

UNC erupts in 2nd half to rout NC State, 41-10

Tar Heels get sixth win, now bowl eligible

North Carolina State’s De’Von Graves (14) breaks up a pass intended for North Carolina’s Antoine Green (3) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

By Ken Tysiac

Associated Press

RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina is headed back to a bowl game in the first year of Mack Brown’s second stint as coach after Javonte Williams scored two touchdowns rushing and another receiving in the third quarter Saturday night to spark a 41-10 win over rival N.C. State.

The Tar Heels (6-6, 4-4 ACC) trailed 10-6 at halftime before Williams busted free up the middle for a 26-yard scoring run on UNC’s second possession of the second half to give his team the lead for good. On the Tar Heels’ next two possessions, Williams caught an 11-yard flare pass for a touchdown and scored on a 6-yard run as UNC stretched its lead.

N.C. State (4-8, 1-7) finished the season on a six-game losing streak despite scoring the only touchdown of the first half on a 39-yard pass from Devin Leary to Tabari Hines. The Wolfpack held UNC to 24 rushing yards and two field goals in the first half as Williams managed just seven yards on four carries.

But a four-touchdown outburst by the Tar Heels in the third quarter turned the game into a rout. UNC intercepted Leary twice and recovered a Zonovan Knight fumble for three takeaways in the quarter. Williams rushed for 51 yards and two touchdowns on five carries in the quarter and added three catches for 42 yards and another score.

Following the second interception of Leary, Sam Howell put an exclamation point on the quarter with a 52-yard scoring pass to Dyami Brown. Howell increased his touchdown pass total for the season to 35 — an FBS record for a true freshman.

Howell was 23-for-33 passing for a career-high 401 yards and three scores with one interception.

Becoming bowl-eligible was a sweet accomplishment for a team that went 2-9 in 2018 under Larry Fedora, who was replaced by Brown after the season. Brown, who coached the Tar Heels to a 74-52-1 record from 1988 to 1997, saw this year’s team surpass UNC’s total number of wins from 2017 and 2018 combined while all six Tar Heel losses were by seven points or fewer.

•••

THE TAKEAWAY

UNC: Becoming bowl-eligible gives the program momentum and an opportunity to get valuable extra practice time with the new coaching staff. A lopsided win in the state rivalry game also could give the Tar Heels a recruiting edge after losing four of their previous five games against N.C. State.

N.C. State: The injury-riddled Wolfpack never gave up this season and put forth a courageous effort in the first half of the state rivalry game despite having no chance to become bowl-eligible. N.C. State loses just 12 seniors, so next season it will return numerous underclassmen who got valuable experience because of all the injuries.

•••

UP NEXT

UNC: Will play on a bowl game TBA, ending a two-year postseason drought.

N.C. State: The Wolfpack’s season has concluded.

Comments

Business

Multi-building development on East Innes begins to take shape after years of delays

Education

‘We know what time it is’: Livingstone students hear from local candidates for office

Education

Shoutouts

Local

Lee Street theatre pivots after positive COVID-19 tests cancel live shows

Elections

Local voters say first presidential debate devoid of substance, contained little to change minds

High School

Interest is spiking in South volleyball

Education

Education Briefs: Superintendent survey now available for community members

Education

Celebrating national 4-H week

Education

Robots with phonics: Rockwell Elementary is blending subjects to engage with kids

Crime

Agreement to divert minor disciplinary incidents from court ready for public feedback

Nation/World

Biden, Trump snipe from road and rails after debate chaos

Nation/World

Debate commission says it will make changes to format

Coronavirus

County moves up to fourth in state for COVID-19 deaths

Crime

Photo: Truck wanted in connection with Reaper’s Realm shooting

Coronavirus

North Carolina moves to Phase 3, but COVID progress is ‘fragile’

Coronavirus

Changes to expect when phase three starts Friday

Crime

Blotter: Concord man faces weapons, marijuana charges after traffic stop

Elections

Political sign stealing on the rise in Rowan as campaign season heats up

News

Chaotic first debate: Taunts overpower Trump, Biden visions

Elections

Debate takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

News

Appalachian State student dies following COVID complications

Local

Planning board OKs rezoning for 5-acre property on Mooresville Road

Business

Kannapolis seeking redevelopment proposals for site of old baseball stadium

Elections

Tell us your opinion about the first presidential debate