Finley leads N.C. State past No. 18 UNC in 2OT in 1st start

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Devin Carter and two teammates took a North Carolina State flag and planted it at rival North Carolina’s midfield logo amid a wild celebration.

The Wolfpack spiked weeks of frustration with a signature road win to end the regular season.

“It was just spur of the moment,” Carter said. “It was amazing to go out there like that. It’s joy.”

Ben Finley threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start, and N.C. State beat Drake Maye and No. 18 North Carolina 30-27 on Friday when Noah Burnette duck-hooked a 35-yard field goal try in the second overtime.

Maye connected with Antoine Green from 4 yards out on the final play of regulation to tie the game at 24-all, but N.C. State (8-4, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) kept the ACC Coastal Division champion Tar Heels (9-3, 6-2) out of the end zone in the first overtime.

Burnette – who also missed from 27 yards in the fourth quarter – made a 26-yarder in the first OT and the Wolfpack tied it on Christopher Dunn‘s 31-yarder. Dunn was good from 21 yards in the second overtime and N.C. State, which never trailed in regulation, handed North Carolina its second straight loss.

“I was running around trying to hug everyone,” Finley said.

Finley’s older brother, former N.C. State QB Ryan Finley, orchestrated two wins in North Carolina’s Kenan Stadium.

“It’s nice to keep the Finleys undefeated here,” coach Dave Doeren said.

Carter had six receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown for the Wolfpack, who snapped a two-game skid and pulled out a thrilling victory over their in-state rival for the second straight year.

“I loved the way our kids played. They fought their guts out,” North Carolina coach Mack Brown said. “They didn’t play great in the first half, but they were really good on defense, maybe the best defense we’ve had this year.”

Carter caught Finley’s back-shoulder pass just outside the end zone and backed in for a 26-yard touchdown with 3:54 remaining in regulation for the Wolfpack’s first points of the second half. Finley was so far down the depth chart that he estimated he hadn’t thrown a pass to Carter in a year and a half.

As a fourth stringer, Finley didn’t imagine ending up in this situation.

“Just kind of messing around on the scout team and still getting better,” he said.

Finley became N.C. State’s fourth starting quarterback in a seven-game span. He completed 27 of 40 passes.

The Tar Heels and freshman sensation Maye closed the regular season with dispiriting one-score losses to Georgia Tech and the Wolfpack ahead of the ACC title game clash with No. 8 Clemson next Saturday.

Maye finished 29 of 49 for 233 yards, one interception and the tying TD toss on fourth-and-goal to Green, which followed an apparent touchdown catch by John Copenhaver that was overturned on a replay review.

“They missed one field goal, and we missed two and that’s what the game came down to,” Brown said. “I thought about going for it on the fourth-and-3 at the end (in the second overtime), but we were playing really good on defense.”

Maye’s 14-yard, third-down scramble with 7:53 to play allowed the Tar Heels to pull even for the first time since early in the first quarter.

N.C. State got off to a strong start. After forcing a North Carolina punt, the Wolfpack needed three plays to score on Jack Chambers‘ 2-yard quarterback keeper.

Finley hooked up with a diving Terrell Timmons Jr. in the end zone from 28 yards out, giving Timmons his first career touchdown early in the second quarter.

Elijah Green‘s 9-yard run gave the Tar Heels a boost with 5:03 left in the half. Dunn’s 29-yard field goal on the last play of the half pushed N.C. State’s edge to 17-10.

RECORD DAY

Dunn broke the ACC scoring record in the first half with his second extra point. In the second half, his 43-yard field goal attempt was wide left, his first miss in 23 chances this season.

SECONDARY ISSUES

North Carolina was without starting cornerback Tony Grimes because of an injury. The Tar Heels lost starting safety Cam'Ron Kelly in the first half and starting cornerback Storm Duck in the second half to game-ending injuries.

STATE STUFF

N.C. State beat in-state foes East Carolina, Wake Forest and North Carolina by a combined 13 points. “It’s awesome to have that,” Doeren said.

The Wolfpack and Tar Heels had split two previous overtime games.

THE TAKEAWAY

N.C. State: The Wolfpack relied on defense to contain one of the country’s most explosive offenses. The win was a nice consolation prize for a team that started 5-1 and looked like a contender in the Atlantic Division.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels weren’t crisp for most of the game and still nearly pulled off a comeback for the ages. This will sting, particularly given the failure to score a touchdown in OT.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

North Carolina could drop out of the AP Top 25 with consecutive home losses, though losing in two overtimes might temper the damage.

UP NEXT

N.C. State: Awaits a bowl invitation.

North Carolina: Prepares to face Clemson for the ACC title in Charlotte.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

south carolina basketball
Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.