Gameday Live Blog/Open Thread: UNC at N.C. State

Brant Wilkerson-New

Good evening from Carter-Finley Stadium, where North Carolina will meet rival N.C. State

The Tar Heels (5-6, 3-4 ACC) will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak to the Wolfpack (4-7, 1-6), which will try to keep Carolina from reaching bowl eligibility for the first time since 2016.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on ACC Network and can be streamed here via Watch ESPN.

Jake Lawler, a reserve linebacker for the Tar Heels, likely won't play a major role in the game, but his story is the best thing you'll read all day.

Given the injuries in the State secondary, Sam Howell could be in for a big night as he looks to build on the 32 touchdowns he's already thrown this season, setting a new school record.

As injuries have piled up in the State secondary, the Wolfpack (4-7) has had an especially tough time slowing down opponents’ passing games.

Over the past four games, State’s opponents have completed 73 of 114 pass attempts for 976 yards with 14 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Check out Twitter for live updates, with deeper analysis and observation posted here throughout the game, and feel free to drop a comment below.

Join the conversation — it's easy — go to the top of the site, click the follow button in the right-hand corner, then log in with either Facebook or Google to discuss the game below.

PREGAME 

5:40 p.m. — Players are out on the field warming up, and it appears Noah Turner is the lone Tar Heel shirtless. It's currently 47 degrees with rain approaching.

6:04 p.m. — A steady rain has started falling, and although it didn't seem to slow down the Carolina offense last week, it could be a factor against slightly more comparable athletes.

FIRST QUARTER

11:05 — Promising drive for UNC gets blown up by a well-timed blitz by State. Lucky it didn't turn into a touchdown going the other way, but the Heels have to like what they got on the run other than the play Antonio Williams fumbled.

5:59 — UNC gives up a 41-yard run into the red zone, but lives to tell the tale after the D tightens up. Dunn's field goal makes it 3-0 State.

Leary was 3/3 for 32 yards and State ran six times for 48 on the drive. 

State 3, UNC 0

4:39 — Two possessions for UNC and Tar Heel players have slipped three times. The first time, it cost Michael Carter a few extra yards, and on this possession, Javonte Williams had room for a big run.

Instead, UNC punts after Toe Groves drops a third-down pass. Wolfpack has to be feeling confident about the first 10 minutes.

END 1Q: State 3, UNC 0

1Q

SECOND QUARTER

9:09 — UNC forced to settle for a field goal after getting inside the State 5-yard line. The red zone TD woes continue, but game now tied at 3-3, 9:09 2Q.

UNC began the night 96th nationally in red zone TD percentage, and after that field goal, now 23 touchdowns on 44 trips this season.

Such is life when you can't get the run going down there consistently.

4:13 — Another good drive ends with the UNC offense stalling at the 10. Ruggles' field goal is good and Heels lead 6-3, 4:13 2Q.

Drive covered 80 yards in 10 plays, 3:58.

3:23 — UNC getting the solid contributions up front it needs from guys not named Crawford and Strowbridge.

Ray Vohasek with a TFL, Jahlil Taylor with a tackle + PBU.

HALF: State 10, UNC 6

HalfuNC
Half

- Carolina has done an exceptional job of moving the ball for 90 yards. It's the last 10 yards that have killed the Tar Heels, as they've twice settled for field goals after getting to or beyond the State 10. 

The difference in this team being 8-3 right now and 5-6 is 23 touchdowns on 45 red zone trips. If that number is even 28, 30, this is a different season.

- Sam Howell has the longest run of the game, taking it eight yards on a scramble. That speaks to how poorly the Tar Heels have run the ball, gaining 24 yards on 18 carries. Carolina has run for 200+ yards in 4 of 5 victories and fewer than 200 yards in all six losses. Will the trend continue?

- Howell hasn't had much time back there as State has brought all sorts of pressure right up the middle for three sacks. Receivers are open down field, but he hasn't gotten enough clean looks.

- Howell's interception was an awful, awful decision, tossing the ball up to a covered Beau Corrales and hoping he'd make a play. He hasn't made many throws like that this season, but picked a terrible time to do it, as State turned it into a quick touchdown.

- Dazz Newsome will have every opportunity to go for 200 yards in this game. If the run game can't get going, get him a few screens to serve as an extension of the run game.

THIRD QUARTER 

10:42 — Don Chapman gets his second interception of the year and UNC is in business in State territory. Huge momentum play.

UNC 13, State 10

Great shot from the first half, captured by Rob Kinnan of USA Today Sports.

USATSI_13733798

5:00 — UNC offense can't be stopped now. Javonte Williams is all over the place and the Tar Heels lead 20-10, 5:00 to go in the third quarter.

Javonte Williams has 87 all-purpose yards on UNC's past two drives, finishing both with TDs.

UNC 20, State 10

2:08 — Guess who scored a touchdown you guys?

Javonte Williams goes for six yards and UNC leads 27-10.

UNC 27, State 10

0:20 — Javonte Williams didn't score a touchdown, but Dyami Brown did, on a 52-yard toss from Sam Howell. 

That's 21 points off turnovers in the third quarter alone. The Tar Heels are going bowling, folks.

UNC 34, State 10

END 3Q: UNC 34, State 10

HalfuNC

FOURTH QUARTER

- Very smart intern Gregory Hall of Inside Carolina informs me of a wild stat: this is the first time since 2015 that UNC has scored four touchdowns in a single quarter.

7:34 — Dazz Newsome scores on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Sam Howell. Heels just pouring it on.

UNC 41, State 10

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