CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Javonte Williams ran for 160 yards and three touchdowns to help No. 14 North Carolina beat No. 23 North Carolina State 48-21 in Saturday’s renewal of the longtime state rivalry.
Michael Carter ran for 106 yards and a score of his own for the Tar Heels (4-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who used a run-through-and-over-tacklers ground game that helped them take control in the third quarter. UNC ran for 326 yards and finished with 578 overall, bouncing back from an upset loss at Florida State to beat the Wolfpack (4-2, 4-2) by a lopsided margin for the second straight season.
Williams had three touchdowns in last year’s 41-10 win, then had a pair of short TD runs as UNC ran off 21 straight points after leading just 17-7 at halftime. He punctuated another big rivalry performance by blowing through a huge hole up front then cutting past multiple defenders to the pylon for a 27-yard score that made it 45-14 with 14:11 left.
Sam Howell threw for 252 yards and a TD for the Tar Heels, while Dyami Brown had 105 yards on a career-best seven catches.
The Wolfpack had little go right offensively in the first game without injured starting quarterback Devin Leary. Bailey Hockman started but was pulled after three series for true freshman Ben Finley, only to see the Wolfpack go back to Hockman in the third after Finley threw two interceptions – one off a bobbled pass by Dylan Parham in the end zone by that should’ve been a first-half touchdown — and lost a fumble on a sack.
Finley threw for 143 yards and a 42-yard score to Emeka Emezie, while Hockman scored on a short keeper and threw for a TD after returning with the Tar Heels up big.
This was the first meeting with both teams ranked in the AP Top 25 since 1993.
N.C. State: Three straight wins had pushed the Wolfpack to a surprisingly strong start for a team picked to finish 11th in the league. But N.C. State fell behind 14-0 by early in the second quarter and was stuck in catch-up mode nearly all day, finishing with 358 yards while losing starting running back Ricky Person Jr. to a first-half injury. Now the Wolfpack must sort out their QB situation.
UNC: The Tar Heels had won six straight games before last weekend’s loss at FSU. The offense responded with another big game while the defense had the four takeaways after managing just two coming in all year.
The Tar Heels could inch back up after taking a huge slide from No. 5 – their highest ranking since 1997 – after the FSU loss. The Wolfpack could end up out of the poll after a one-week stay.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack’s schedule hits an open date next weekend before hosting No. 11 Miami on Nov. 6.
UNC: The Tar Heels visit Virginia next Saturday.