Sometimes it's just not meant to be.
UNC played very well for most of the first three quarters, nursing a 9-point lead, and then it all fell apart. Carolina forced a 3rd-and-19 when Russell Jesus Obama Wilson lived up to his name by turning a busted play into a first down. Then the Pack faced 4th-and-goal from the 2 when Wilson was forced to scramble and throw a jump ball into the end zone, which was batted around and fell into Owen Spencer's hands falling to the ground for a touchdown. After UNC punted on their next possession, T.J. Graham exploited Carolina's horrid kick coverage for an 87-yard return for a touchdown that turned a 19-10 Tar Heel lead into a 24-19 deficit and Carolina was never the same.
T.J. Yates had his 3rd 400-yard passing effort of the season, going 33-44 for 411 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. Yates had to take the team on his back since Anthony Elzy and Shaun Draughn could only combine for 46 rushing yards. But Yates was sacked an incredible seven times, including the final ignominious sack for a safety that provided the final margin, and Carolina squandered too many scoring opportunities, coming up with only one touchdown on three 1st-and-goal chances.
The Tar Heels outgained the Wolfpack 403-268 and gave up only 20 points on defense to the ACC's second-highest scoring offense. But State stepped up at crunch time and it seemed after the Graham punt return that UNC was done mentally. It didn't help that UNC couldn't catch a break, but good teams play through adversity and maybe all of UNC's adversity, plus a brutal November stretch, has caught up to them.