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
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.
On the next play, Durant found Jon Hamlett open in the back of
the end zone, giving the Tar Heels a 27-16 lead.