CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina hasn’t won against the Wolfpack since 2020.
Last year it was an ugly double overtime loss in Chapel Hill and the year before that saw Carolina crumble when Wolfpack receiver Emeka Emezie reeled in the game-winning touchdown with just 24 seconds left, as Carter-Finley’s crowd lit up in an uproar – red lights blazing across the skies.
Now back in Raleigh tomorrow night, the Tar Heels are looking to end the season on a high note after dropping three of their last four ACC games. They simply fell apart last weekend at Clemson, a loss characterized by missed assignments and sloppy play.
The hope was that UNC’s offense, which had just the weekend before survived Duke’s tenacious defensive front, would do the same against the Tigers. Yet they fell short and future NFL first rounder Drake Maye even had his lowest completion rate of the season at 44.4 percent.
Just four weeks ago the Tar Heels skimmed the AP Top 25 Poll. floating at No.10 – their highest ranking of the season. But disappointing losses to UVA and Georgia Tech stifled the Tar Heels and dropped them out of the ranking entirely.
While both teams sit at 8-3, North Carolina faces a Wolfpack team that has won their last four matchups and wants nothing more than to tear down the Tar Heels and end the year with nine wins. The Wolfpack defensive unit ranks third in the ACC behind Clemson and Louisville – allowing just 318 yards per game.
ACC-leading tackler Payton Wilson is the only linebacker to sit above UNC’s Cedric Gray and there’s no doubt that he’s gonna make Maye’s job harder tomorrow night.
If the Tar Heels want a shot at capping off the season with a win, Maye will have to play with the Heisman contender caliber he played with earlier in the season and UNC’s run game must look better than it has in their losses.
Despite having two fumbles in the red zone last weekend, Omarion Hampton is
still North Carolina’s most efficient playmaker and he’s on track for his seventh-consecutive 100-yard game.
But there’s just one more factor to consider: Brennan Armstrong.
Flashback to the 2021 season when Kenan Stadium got a taste of Armstrong’s prowess in their 59-39 win over Virginia. It was Armstrong’s second year at the helm for the Cavaliers and he racked up 554 yards over the Tar Heels and his third highest completion rate of the season at 72.2 percent.
Flash forward to 2023 and he leads N.C. State with 522 rushing yards, including three touchdowns in their last two games. He’s been a dual threat for the Wolfpack all season long and his previous production against the Tar Heels shouldn’t be left in the rearview.
In their three losses UNC’s defense has struggled to stop the run – allowing 823 rush yards, so they’ve got to limit Armstrong early and limit the mistakes if they hope to salvage what is left of their season.
Who: North Carolina (8-3, 4-3 ACC) vs. N.C. State (8-3, 5-2 ACC)
When: Saturday, November 25th, 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
Last Meeting: N.C. State, 30-27
All-Time: UNC leads the series 68-38-6