12:00 PM ET, September 24, 2005
Carter-Finley Stadium, RALEIGH, NC
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Barrington Edwards ran for a career-high 129 yards and a touchdown, Matt Baker recovered from a miserable first half to throw for the go-ahead score and North Carolina held off North Carolina State 31-24 Saturday.
The Tar Heels (1-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat their rival from just down the road for the 10th time in the past 13 meetings by finally finding a running game. In two opening losses, they had only 118 yards on the ground, then totaled 144 against one of the best defenses in the country.
On the second play of the game, Edward rumbled 62 yards -- 3 more than his two-game output -- to give North Carolina an early chance to take the lead. But Baker threw on interception in the end zone that simply was the beginning of his struggles.
He was 1-for-9 for only 3 yards in the first two quarters before finding his rhythm after halftime. At one point, Baker completed seven consecutive passes, including one that went 10 yards for a touchdown to Jon Hamlett that gave the Tar Heels a 28-24 lead.
A much-maligned defense held it. N.C. State (1-2, 0-2), which came in leading the ACC in total offense, gained 270 yards, nearly 200 less than its average. The Wolfpack managed only 13 yards on the ground.
Freshman Toney Baker ran for two touchdowns and Jay Davis added another through the air for N.C. State, but it wasn't enough. The Tar Heels took advantage of two fumbles in the first half, both of which gave them possession inside the Wolfpack's 10-yard line.
Those came during an awful opening 30 minutes for both teams. North Carolina also made two turnovers, even if Baker's interception indirectly helped lead to its first points.
N.C. State went backward on three plays and lined up to punt, but William Lee's snap sailed high and delayed John Deraney's kick. Wallace Wright broke through to block it, Quinton Person snatched the loose ball and sprinted 11 yards for a touchdown.
Later, with the Wolfpack driving at the end of the second quarter, they used all their timeouts and allowed the clock to run out after a completion from Davis to Anthony Hill moved the ball to North Carolina's 7.
The second half started much better. Darrell Blackman took the opening kickoff 73 yards and Baker ran the final 2 to give N.C. State a 17-14 lead. A three-and-out by the Tar Heels led to great field position for the Wolfpack, and Davis quickly made it work, throwing a 39-yard TD to tight end T.J. Williams, who was celebrating his 23rd birthday.
North Carolina came back. Baker started clicking with short passes to combat a brutal pass rush by N.C. State, and he led an 80-yard drive that culminated in Edwards' 2-yard touchdown run. On the Tar Heels' next possession, Baker ran his streak of completions to seven and found Hamlett for what turned out to be the winning score.
Connor Barth, who missed two field goals earlier, connected from 24 yards to make it a seven-point lead, and the Wolfpack never really threatened after that.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-12||3-13|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||0-0|
|TD||11:22||QUINTON PERSON 11 YD BLOCKED PUNT RETURN (CONNOR BARTH KICK)||7||0|
|FG||7:07||JOHN DERANEY 22 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 76 yards.
|TD||4:46||TONEY BAKER 14 YD RUN (JOHN DERANEY KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 14 yards.
|TD||13:22||JARWARSKI POLLOCK 3 YD PASS FROM MATT BAKER (CONNOR BARTH KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 1 yards.
|TD||12:52||TONEY BAKER 2 YD RUN (JOHN DERANEY KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 26 yards.
|TD||10:39||T.J. WILLIAMS 39 YD PASS FROM JAY DAVIS (JOHN DERANEY KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 39 yards.
|TD||7:02||BARRINGTON EDWARDS 2 YD RUN (CONNOR BARTH KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||2:45||JON HAMLETT 10 YD PASS FROM MATT BAKER (CONNOR BARTH KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 82 yards.
|FG||5:53||CONNOR BARTH 24 YD FG|
Drive info: 13 plays, 55 yards.