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Friday February 3rd

UNC football drops season finale in 30-27 double-overtime loss to N.C. State

UNC senior wide receiver, Antoine Green (3), drives the ball downfield in Kenan Stadium on Nov. 25, 2022, as the Tar Heels face off against the NC State Wolfpack.
Buy Photos UNC senior wide receiver, Antoine Green (3), drives the ball downfield in Kenan Stadium on Nov. 25, 2022, as the Tar Heels face off against the NC State Wolfpack.

The No. 17 North Carolina football team (9-3, 6-2 ACC) fell to N.C. State (8-4, 3-4 ACC), 30-27, in double overtime of the final game of its regular season on Friday evening at Kenan Stadium.

What happened?

The Wolfpack wasted no time in scoring when quarterback Ben Finley connected with wideout Devin Carter for 52 yards before running back Jack Chambers run into the end zone for a two-yard score to give N.C. State the early lead.

Redshirt first-year quarterback Drake Maye and sophomore running back Elijah Green led the Tar Heels down the field, but were forced to settle for a field goal. Finley willed his offense into North Carolina territory and lofted a pass deep into the right corner of the end zone to wide receiver Terrell Timmons for a 28-yard touchdown.

Midway through the second quarter, Green found the end zone to trim the lead to 14-10. The Tar Heels quickly reclaimed possession when UNC senior defensive back Don Chapman forced a Chambers fumble, which was recovered by junior linebacker Cedric Gray. However, UNC couldn’t capitalize and was forced to punt.

With halftime rapidly approaching, the Wolfpack managed to move the ball quickly into the red zone thanks to an 18-yard pass from quarterback Ben Finley to tight end Cedd Seabrough. N.C. State kicker Christopher Dunn then drilled the 29-yard field goal, giving the Wolfpack a 17-10 lead at halftime.

Neither team’s offense could seem to find a rhythm for most of the third quarter, until Finley made three completions to put the Wolfpack within field goal range. However, Dunn missed the 43-yard field goal — his first miss of the season.

Just when it seemed like the Tar Heels could find a way to score, the Wolfpack’s pressure rattled Maye and North Carolina settled for a field goal. Sophomore kicker Noah Burnette missed the 27-yard attempt with just over 10 minutes to play, and the score remained 17-10.

After a Wolfpack three-and-out, Maye found sophomore wide receiver J.J. Jones for 18 yards, and two plays later,  Maye saw an opening and darted into the end zone for a 14-yard rushing touchdown, tying the game up 17-17.

UNC forced another punt and looked to take the lead, but a disastrous attempted pass from Maye wound up in the hands of safety Tanner Ingle for an interception. Shortly after, Finley aired the ball out to Carter near the right sideline for a 26-yard touchdown.

Facing a 24-17 deficit with under four minutes to play, Maye’s first pass of the drive went to sophomore tight end Bryson Nesbit for 19 yards, followed by a 14-yard gain from Green. An offsides penalty on the Wolfpack helped the Tar Heels move the chains on fourth down, then Green and Maye’s 17 combined yards got UNC into the red zone. On the final play of regulation, Maye lasered the ball to senior receiver Antoine Green to force overtime, 24-24.

The Tar Heels'  took the field first and ended their possession with a 26-yard field goal from Burnette. N.C. State’s following two possessions also ended on field goals, but UNC could not equalize when Burnette missed the 35-yard field goal to end the game.

Who stood out? 

Elijah Green shouldered most of the run game, with 24 carries on 83 yards and a touchdown. Antoine Green led wideouts with eight receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Carter led the Wolfpack receiving corps with six catches, 130 yards and a touchdown.

When was it decided?

The game was decided in overtime, when Burnette missed the field goal.

Why does it matter?

After an unexpected home loss to Georgia Tech last week, the Tar Heels were looking to rebuild momentum heading into the postseason with one final win in Kenan Stadium. However, the loss highlighted UNC’s recent offensive woes, leaving skeptics wondering how the team will fare in the ACC Championship.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will face No. 8 Clemson next Saturday in Charlotte for the ACC Championship. Kickoff is at 8 p.m.

@danielhwei

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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