6:05 PM ET, October 9, 2004
Kenan Stadium, CHAPEL HILL, NC
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's much-maligned defense stopped T.A. McLendon inches short of the end zone with 6 seconds left -- after a touchdown by McLendon on the previous play was disallowed -- and the Tar Heels hung on to beat No. 25 North Carolina State 30-24 on Saturday night.
After one referee clearly signaled McLendon had scored on second down, a quick huddle by the officials left the Wolfpack a yard short. They had one more chance, but McLendon's dive over the pile was stopped at the line of scrimmage, and he fumbled on the play.
Khalif Mitchell recovered for North Carolina, which needed only to run one final play to beat N.C. State for the ninth time in the past 12 games. The frantic conclusion set off a boisterous celebration at midfield, with fans streaming on the field to join the Tar Heels for a final rendition of their school song.
Darian Durant threw three touchdown passes and Connor Barth kicked three field goals for North Carolina (3-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference). Barth's final kick from 25 yards made it 30-24 and set up the controversial finish.
The Wolfpack (3-2, 2-1) drove from their own 18 in the final 4:20 to have their last chance, and they converted a fourth-and-6 along the way. Jay Davis completed an 8-yard pass to Brian Clark to give the Wolfpack first-and-goal at the 6, and McLendon moved it to the 3 before they called their final timeout.
He bulled his way into the end zone on the next play -- or so he thought -- then had to hustle back on the field for one more carry that decided the game.
McLendon finished with 117 yards rushing, and N.C. State fell to 8-1 when he gains at least 100. Davis was 22-for-28 for 273 yards as the Wolfpack outgained the Tar Heels 577-356.
Still, a couple of turnovers earlier in the second half helped seal N.C. State's fate.
It got to 13-9 on the opening drive of the third quarter on John Deraney's 26-yard field goal, then drove 48 yards to the Tar Heels' 24 on its next possession. On first down, fourth-string tailback Reggie Davis fumbled, and linebacker Larry Edwards recovered for North Carolina.
Then, with the Wolfpack trailing 20-16, Davis lobbed a screen toward McLendon, but the ball was batted up in the air by Melik Brown. Edwards leaped to grab it, and he raced 54 yards to N.C. State's 3.
On the next play, Durant found Jon Hamlett open in the back of the end zone, giving the Tar Heels a 27-16 lead.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-13||6-13|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||1-1|
|FG||8:54||JOHN DERANEY 24 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 60 yards.
|FG||2:50||CONNOR BARTH 50 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 47 yards.
|FG||10:13||CONNOR BARTH 31 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 71 yards.
|TD||5:03||JESSE HOLLEY 23 YD PASS FROM DARIAN DURANT (CONNOR BARTH KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||0:35||JOHN DERANEY 32 YD FG|
Drive info: 13 plays, 66 yards.
|FG||9:28||JOHN DERANEY 26 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||0:45||T.A. MCLENDON 1 YD RUN (JOHN DERANEY KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 64 yards.
|TD||12:51||ADARIUS BOWMAN 46 YD PASS FROM DARIAN DURANT (CONNOR BARTH KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 77 yards.
|TD||11:11||JON HAMLETT 3 YD PASS FROM DARIAN DURANT (CONNOR BARTH KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 3 yards.
|TD||9:44||BOBBY WASHINGTON 3 YD RUN (BOBBY WASHINGTON 2PT RUSH)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||4:27||CONNOR BARTH 25 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 64 yards.