As we get closer to Saturday’s game against UNC-Chapel Hill, let’s first take a step back and look back at some of the previous games in the rivalry. The rivalry stands with UNC-Chapel Hill having a 63-31-6 overall record against the Wolfpack. Now, all Wal-Mart fans will let you know that this is all that needs to be said. What most people, and let’s get real…all Wal-Mart fans, don’t know or care to know is that before the ACC was formed in 1953, NC State did not fully fund the football team. They would play a majority of games on the road and obviously this would make State’s record worse than it probably should be. For example, from the beginning of World War II in 1939 until the formation of the ACC in 1953, State played UNC-Chapel Hill a total of 11 times, with 9 of them being in played in Chapel Hill. Since the ACC was created, the record in the series has UNC-Chapel Hill up 32-26 (thanks Mike O’Cain). In the 21st century, NC State has a 7-4 advantage in the series.
Let’s look at the last ten games of the series.
2001: Raleigh. UNC 17, NC State 9. This was the first home game after 9/11. Emotions ran high and the pregame ceremonies were very poignant. On the field, Philip Rivers could not get much going on during the game and was beaten by Darian Durant in a close game. The one indelible image is Dovonte Edwards running a post route to score the Wolfpack’s only TD of the day. After he scored, he ran right into the goal post and fell down. He truly ran a post route there.
2002: Chapel Hill. NC State 34, UNC 17. This was a close game with I think UNC leading 17-7 in the second half. But the Pack started to wear down the UNC defense and gave all Wolfpack fans a great memory with Dantonio Burnette recovering a fumble on the UNC 4 after State had cut the score to 17-14. In the 4th quarter, TA McLendon and Josh Brown ran roughshod over the UNC defense as State wound up doubling the score on the Tar Heels.
2003: Raleigh. NC State 47, UNC 34. This was simply the Philip Rivers to Jericho Cotchery show. An offensive shootout was the name of the day. Rivers led the Wolfpack to an early 21-3 lead and they never looked back. Any doubt in the outcome was erased on the first play of the second half when Cotchery, who wound up with 9 receptions for 217 yards, scored on a long TD pass from Rivers. The final score was not nearly indicative of how bad State destroyed UNC. One of my favorite plays from this game was watching Rivers score a running TD by plowing up, over, and through Dexter Reid.
2004: Chapel Hill. UNC 30, NC State 24. The TA fumble game. Nothing more needs to be said except, IT WAS A TOUCHDOWN.
2005: Raleigh. UNC 31, NC State 24. This game was held early in the season before the emergence of Andre Brown. I remember Barrington Edwards running for something like 60 yards on the second play of the game. Talk about a bad omen, even with Toney Baker scoring 2 TDs. State was up 24-14 5 minutes into the second half but self-destructed on both sides of the ball and allowed Matt Baker to lead his team to the game’s final 17 points.
2006: Chapel Hill. UNC 23, NC State 9. This was the last game for both Chuck Amato and John Bunting as head coaches. Bunting had already been fired and Amato knew he probably had to beat both UNC and ECU to keep his job. He lost both and then a few days later, lost his job.
2007: Raleigh. NC State 31, UNC 27. The first matchup between Tom O’Brien and Butch Davis was the best game between the two teams, from a perspective of both teams playing well. Jamelle Eugene lead the Pack with 159 yards rushing and 3 TDs, including the game winning 1 yard touchdown run with less than 2 minutes to go. The defense then shut down TJ Yates (not for the last time in the rivalry) at the end of the game to preserve the victory.
2008: Chapel Hill. NC State 41, UNC 10. This was a total demolition by the Wolfpack. UNC had 6 turnovers on the day. The biggest one was on a kickoff in the 3rd quarter after the Wolfpack had scored to make it a 24-10 lead. The very next play, Russell Wilson threw a 21 yard pass to Owen Spencer for a TD which made it a 31-10 game and basically finished any thoughts of UNC coming back.
2009: Raleigh. NC State 28, UNC 27. Wilson threw 4 TDs in a game that the Wolfpack won where they were helped by the stupidity of the UNC players. The Tar Heels were hit with numerous personal fouls and other dumb penalties that kept the Wolfpack in the game. State, down 24-14 at the half, came back behind two beautiful passes from Wilson to Spencer and a defense that bent but didn’t break, holding UNC to a single field goal in the second half.
2010: Chapel Hill. NC State 29, UNC 25. This one is remembered for multiple reasons. The two yard Hail Mary on 4th down by Wilson that was caught by Spencer (notice a trend in the TD passes). The punch that was thrown after the play by Kevin Reddick (how he wasn’t suspended by the ACC still confounds me…except that ex-UNC AD Swofford is the ACC commissioner). The 87 yard punt return TD by TJ Graham. And the sack by Terrell Manning on Yates for a safety at the end of the game to give State the cushion for the win. I was traveling and missed the game and had to listen to Woody Durham on XM. Hearing him literally get depressed when Yates was sacked, knowing that in Woody’s mind this was his last UNC-NCSU game and that his beloved Tar Heels were going to lose, was just perfect radio.
So there is your quick reminder of the past 10 games in the rivalry. What will happen on Saturday? State is going for its first ever 3 game winning streak over UNC in Raleigh. Mike Glennon is itching to add his name to the list of quarterbacks who lead the Wolfpack over UNC. Now the idiotic comments by Everette Withers followed by the strong rebuttal of Tom O’Brien has stoked the fires to a fever pitch. One thing is for sure…everyone will be ready for kickoff on Saturday at 12:30.