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October 27, 2012
Quick hits and notes from NCSU's heartbreaking 43-35 loss at North Carolina in front of 62,000 fans at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday afternoon.
Big game for Glennon
No one can blame the loss on fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Glennon. He completed 29 of 52 passes for a career-high 467 yards and a school-tying record five touchdowns. The yardage was the third-most against UNC trailing Duke's Dave Brown, who had 479 passing yards in 1989, and Arizona State's Andrew Walter, who passed for 474 in 2002.
Glennon's first scoring pass of the contest was a 32-yarder to freshman wideout Charlie Hegedus, which was Hegedus' first career touchdown catch. Glennon also found fifth-year senior Tobais Palmer for his first score of the year. The 83-yard bomb to Palmer was the ninth-longest pass play in Wolfpack history.
Redshirt sophomore Bryan Underwood also extended his record-streak of consecutive games with a touchdown catch to eight. Undrwood caught two touchdowns to give him 10 on the season, one on a 20-yarder and the other a 55-yarder.
Underwood is one game shy of matching the ACC record set by Virginia's Herman Moore in 1990.
Underwood finished with six catches for 118 yards, and Palmer had five receptions for 119 yards. It's the first time Wolfpack teammates have gone over 100 yards in a game since Owen Spencer (145 yards) and Jarvis Williams (103 yards) did it against Virginia Tech in 2010.
Could have been bigger
There is no denying that Glennon's afternoon would have been bigger if he didn't have at least seven dropped passes. After the contest, Tom O'Brien said he had never been involved in a game with so many dropped passes. Many of them were open wide receivers who were staring down fairly big gains in front of them as well.
That was one of many self-inflicted wounds State gave themselves. The Pack turned it over four times, continuing a trend of losing games where they turned it over at least four times — four turnovers against Tennessee and six against Miami. NC State had four turnovers in the other games combined.
The receivers were not the only one to drop passes. Fifth-year senior corner C.J. Wilson, who otherwise played a good game in his first extended action of the year, dropped what likely would have been a pick six, which could have iced the game.
Wilson did snare his fourth career interception and also forced a fumble that he stole from freshman receiver Quinshad Davis' hands in the red zone.
Of course, the end play was the stunning 74-yard punt return for a score by UNC redshirt sophomore running back Giovani Bernard. NC State's previously longest punt return given up all year had been eight yards against South Alabama. That was the first punt return for a touchdown State had given up since 2005. The UNC punt return was the first score in the series since Eric Lewis had an 86-yarder in 1986.
The first quarter blitz
We noted in Friday's War Room that everyone expected UNC to open up its playbook in preparations for this game, and that is exactly what they did. Using a variety of trick plays plus getting a lucky break on an unforced fumble from fifth-year senior tight end Mario Carter, the Heels jumped out to a 25-7 lead.
That was the most first quarter points allowed by the Wolfpack since they allowed 27 to Florida State in 1997. UNC's touchdown on the opening drive was the first score allowed on the opening possession this year by the Wolfpack.
NC State finished with 534 total yards while UNC had 570. That is the second highest total in both categories, trailing only the Miami game which NC State also lost in spectacular late fashion.
The 212 yards allowed rushing by NCSU was a season-high, topping the 206 by Maryland last weekend.
What the loss means
Obviously NCSU's five-game winning streak over UNC is snapped, and the Pack missed a chance to set a school-record for most wins in a row over its rivals. The Pack also lost control of its own destiny in the ACC. NC State needs a Florida State loss to regain its destiny.