Ed. note: N.C. State travels to Chapel Hill tomorrow for a noon showdown against the Tar Heels, which will be broadcast on regional televlsion. Jake Swiger, a UNC student who runs his own blog, www.tarheelbuckeye.blogspot.com, kindly sent us the results of tomorrow's clash, as played on NCAA 2009, a video game from GamePlay Video. Thanks, Jake!
UNC vs. NC State NCAA 2009 Simulation
In a battle between one of the nation's best secondaries and most efficient quarterbacks, the Carolina defense prevailed, picking off Russell Wilson four times and returning two for touchdowns as the Heels stormed through the Wolfpack 38-17.
Wilson entered the game with only one pick, but pressure from UNC's front four forced several uncharacteristic throws from the freshman.
On the other side of the field, TJ Yates started after missing most of the season. Yates finished 18-19 for 185 yards and a touchdown.
Despite the margin of victory, NC State moved the ball at will and out gained the Heels, marking the eighth time the Heel have been out gained offensively and still won this season.
The Wolfpack shredded the Carolina defense on the ground, using running back Jamelle Eugene who finished with 142 yards on only 17 carries.
TJ Yates started for the Heels instead of Cam Sexton after Butch Davis opened the quarterback position this week in practice. Yates started the game with a 10-play drive, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Ryan Houston.
The Heels defense limited the Wolfpack early, shutting them down on a three-and-out on the first possession. The Heels then led by 14 points after Yates completed seven passes on the next drive. Yates scrambled for a 9-yard rushing touchdown, demonstrating a full recovery from breaking his ankle against Virginia Tech earlier in the season.
The teams exchanged punts before Carolina marched down the field and Casey Barth narrowly missed a 56-yard field goal as it fell short in the endzone.
The Wolfpack then drove to the 2-yard line where Eugene was stopped short of the endzone, setting up for a 19-yard field goal.
The Heels led 14-3, and Yates completed four passes of 15 yards or greater, scoring on a on a 14-yard pass to Brooks Foster as the half expired.
On State's opening possession of the second half, Bruce Carter picked off Wilson and returned the ball to midfield. Shaun Draughn carried Carolina to the 9-yard line, rushing for 35 yards on the drive. Casey Barth kicked a 26-yard field goal, pushing the lead to 24-3. Draughn finished with 74 yards on 18 carries.
Charles Brown then picked off Wilson for his third interception of the day. Brown returned the interception for a score, which gave Carolina a 31-3 advantage as the third quarter came to an end.
State's woes continued when Wilson threw his fourth interception, which Kendric Burney returned for a touchdown.
The Wolfpack's Eugene rushed for a 70-yard touchdown on the ensuing drive. The Heels led 38-10 with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
After recovering an onside kick, Wilson completed a 38-yard touchdown pass to Eugene, which closed the Heels advantage to three touchdowns with just under two minutes to play.
Draughn and Houston ran out the clock as they combined for 43 yards rushing on the final UNC drive, giving the Heels a 38-17 win over the Wolfpack.
Carolina moved to 8-3 on the season, keeping their ACC Coastal Division hopes alive as Georgia Tech defeated Miami Thursday night 41-23. The Tar Heels need Virginia and Virginia Tech to each lose a game in order to win the division.
The Heels face a resurgent Duke team next week in Chapel Hill.
NC State fell to 4-7 on the season and cannot reach bowl eligibility with only one game remaining against Miami.