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The Daily Tar Heel

Football Bragging Rights on Line

Site: Carter-Finley Stadium.

TV/radio: JP Sports will provide regional coverage. The Tar Heel Sports Network will provide live radio coverage; its flagship station is WCHL 1360 AM.

Records: North Carolina is 1-3, 1-1 in the ACC. N.C. State is 2-0.

Series: North Carolina leads 59-25-6.

Personnel update: North Carolina -- None reported. N.C. State -- RB Carlos Doggett (broken foot) is out; WR Andy Bertrand (shoulder) is out for season; DB Rod Johnson (broken arm) is out; CB J.J. Washington (ankle sprain) is probable; DE Corey Smith (shoulder sprain) is probable.

Key matchup: N.C. State phenom quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 202 yards on two completions against UNC last year, despite getting sacked five times.

The Tar Heels aren't going to change anything from last year. They'll be gunning for Rivers, because if he can't do anything, State can't do anything.

"I don't think he's been sacked very much. I think he only has two," UNC coach John Bunting said. "The reason is that they're obviously doing a good job up front, but mostly I think Rivers has a very good release."

Against its first two opponents -- Indiana and Southern Methodist -- Rivers averaged 229 yards a game to lead the ACC. Playing those opponents gave the 'Pack's offensive line some breathing room, but it didn't prepare them for UNC's fearsome foursome up front.

Julius Peppers leads the ACC in sacks, picking up his fourth of the season against Florida State and moving into second place on North Carolina's all-time list. Peppers isn't UNC's only threat to the quarterback -- the Tar Heels lead the ACC with 13 sacks.

"We've got to get rid of the ball, and we've got to put two people on him," N.C. State coach Chuck Amato said of defending Peppers. "I've been on the other side coaching defensive ends of that caliber. You've got to do something to slow him down."

Final analysis/prediction: The last time these two teams tangled, N.C. State's players ended the game by jumping up and down on the interlocking NC on the field at Kenan Stadium.

Don't think the Tar Heels have forgotten.

"That hits you hard," senior place-kicker Jeff Reed said of the Wolfpack's celebration.

Although the Tar Heels are coming off of the upset of the year -- the 41-9 victory against Florida State -- their win won't mean much if they let down against the Wolfpack.

UNC won seven of the teams' last eight meetings, a fact that wasn't lost on Peppers to explain the 'Pack's behavior after their win last year.

While the game could have long-ranging impact on both teams' seasons, bragging rights are on the line. In football, the UNC and N.C. State rivalry is the state's best, even if some of the players can't explain it.

"I don't know why I hate them," Peppers said. "I just do."

North Carolina 24, N.C. State 17.

Complied by Rachel Carter

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