The NC State Wolfpack defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels in a 30-27 roller coaster double overtime thriller at Chapel Hill on the evening of Friday the 25th. Not once did NC State trail UNC.
Fourth string NC State quarterback Ben Finley, in his first true career start, did everything necessary to deliver the win. Finley completed twenty-seven out of forty passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns. In the Wolfpack’s first drive, Finley delivered a fifty-two yard bomb to Devin Carter, leading to a two yard rushing touchdown from Jack Chambers. After a North Carolina field goal, Finley delivered a twenty-eight yard touchdown reception to Terrell Timmons to cap a seven play drive early in the second quarter, increasing the lead to 14-3.
North Carolina answered with an eight play drive with running back Elijah Green scoring from the nine yard line. To end the first half, NC State delivered a seven play drive ending in a twenty-nine yard field goal by Chris Dunn, as time expired, making it a 17-10 Wolfpack lead.
After two punts and two missed field goals by each team, North Carolina answered with a fourteen yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Drake Maye, tying the ballgame at 17-17 with under eight minutes remaining. It looked like the momentum was in the Tar Heels’ favor as NC State was forced to punt their next possession. However, Tanner Ingle had a sensational interception at the Tar Heel twenty nine yard line, leading to a three play drive ending in a Devin Carter twenty-six yard touchdown reception from Ben Finley. With under four minutes remaining, North Carolina answered back with a fifteen play seventy-five yard drive ending in a four yard touchdown reception by Antoine Green as time expired, ending regulation with a score of 24-24.
In the first overtime, both teams held each other to a field goal with North Carolina scoring first, ending the first overtime with a score of 27-27. NC State was held to a field goal to start the second overtime with a score of 30-27. After holding North Carolina to seven yards in three plays, the Tar Heels attempted to tie the game with a thirty-five yard field goal, but it was no good.
NC State survived, winning the game 30-27. This will no doubt go down as a classic in the NC State vs North Carolina rivalry.
My prediction was that the Wolfpack would finish 9-3 with losses to Clemson, Louisville, and North Carolina. Unfortunately, NC State underperformed my expectations (although I was very happy I got the North Carolina game wrong).
Overall, the 2022 football season has been a disappointment for the Wolfpack. NC State had many veteran players return for a chance to compete for an ACC championship which unfortunately did not happen. State finished the regular season with a 4-4 conference record and an 8-4 overall record with losses to Clemson, Syracuse, Boston College, and Louisville.
With a brutal schedule next season, and many key players leaving, the Wolfpack believed they could have a special season this year, which did not happen. NC State will play in a bowl game this winter and will hopefully earn their ninth win.