The North Carolina Tar Heels (6-5) are just moments away from facing off against the NC State Wolfpack (8-3) in Carter Finley Stadium. As many know, this is always a very heated rivalry game that tends to throw expectations out of the window, and the unexpected rules the day. The Heels are currently on a two-game win streak against the Pack, but this year State has done a good job of winning most of their schedule to this point, and the games that they did lose they didn’t lose by much.
The biggest question for the Tar Heels all week long has now been answered: Sam Howell will start against the Wolfpack after having missed the game against Wofford. Howell’s return is huge, because he has thus far in his career done a fantastic job of tearing apart NC State’s defense. Of course the biggest difference this season is that he will be without Dyami Brown, Dazz Newsome, Javonte Williams, and Michael Carter. The good news is that Josh Downs and Ty Chandler have been very good as of late, but the question is whether or not that will be enough this time around. We are moments away from finding out.
As far as implications for either team, this game definitely carries the most weight for NC State. They desperately can’t let the Heels get away with a three-game win streak against them, but they are also in the scramble for a good bowl game going into the postseason. Unfortunately for them, their hopes of winning the Atlantic are dead, because even if they tie with Wake Forest in the standings, the Deacons hold the tiebreaker. Luckily for them they may achieve their goals of spoiling UNC’s three-peat, but as I mentioned earlier: this game is always full of surprises.
As always, we will be back following the game with post-game analysis and takes. Until then, Go Heels!