Football Pack Wins Instant Class, Emeka Emezie Heroically Ends Wolfpack’s Career | Sports

NC State football looked set for another disappointing loss to their biggest rival, falling behind by nine with 2:12 remaining in the game after taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

But sometimes NC State can have nice things. For the second time this year, the Wolfpack loyalists flooded the pitch at Carter-Finley Stadium to celebrate a victory fans will be talking about long after they all graduate.

“What a football game,” said head coach Dave Doeren. “What a game. That’s why you play until the last second. So proud of our team, of their fight. The coaching staff, their chemistry, the determination of this team, the mental toughness, the next man in. up.… I want to thank our crowd, the returning Thanksgiving students. Love you. Our students are amazing. It was a special night. You were amazing. Thank you for that. Our seniors deserved this, and you guys have delivered. “

Playing his last game at Carter-Finley Stadium, senior wide receiver Emeka Emezie cemented his place among the Wolfpack legends, making his last two receptions a pair of touchdowns to give NC State a 34-30 comeback victory over UNC- Chapel Hill on Friday November 26 to set a perfect home record for the first time in 35 years.

“We were down with one, two minutes to go,” Emezie said. “And I just see the crowd. I had my head down, but I saw someone in the crowd in a shirt saying, “Never give up. I just started to pray. You know? As Jimmy V and I started to pray. And then things disappeared. It’s crazy.”

The Wolfpack (9-3, 6-2 ACC) started the game incredibly well – forcing the Tar Heels (6-6, 3-5 ACC) to do two quick three-and-outs, recover a blocked punt for a touchdown and hold a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter – but its initial momentum began to falter, allowing the Tar Heels to reduce the lead to 14-10 before half-time.

With 24 unanswered points from the start of the second quarter to the end of the third quarter, UNC was firmly in control and looking to put the final nail in NC State’s dwindling hopes of a place in the ACC Championship.

But the Wolfpack didn’t want to fold.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Devin Leary hooked up with Redshirt junior wide receiver Thayer Thomas, who did well to work his way through a few defensemen and find the end zone, to put the Pack on. at hand, but it seemed to be too little, too late as the offense spat again.

The defense did its part, however, by limiting UNC to just two field goals and preparing the offense to perform some magic.

Recovering the ball in his hands with 2:04 left on the clock, Leary and offense came to life as Emezie took over the defense with a 64-yard touchdown reception that put the Two-Pack up.

“They darkened the blanket – security had taken Thayer,” Emezie said. “I started running on the sidelines, I was just hoping Devin would see me, and he just threw it and I was wide open.”

With just 90 seconds and one time-out remaining, the Wolfpack still needed to recover the offensive kick to stand a chance. And it did, as junior kicker Chris Dunn picked up the ball to retrieve the ball.

Handing the ball back into Leary’s hands, Doeren said he trusted his quarterback to do it and didn’t want to leave it to the kicker.

Leary didn’t disappoint, walking the field to deliver a winning 24-yard touchdown pass to Emezie. The play was one of the fans used to seeing Leary and Emezie bond.

“[Offensive coordinator Tim Beck] asked me, “Do you want us to play ball for a bit?” And I said, ‘No, Devin is hot. Let’s just mark, ”Doeren said. “I didn’t want to put him on the kicker and risk whatever might happen there, so we were going to be aggressive and go down the pitch. And the way Devin plays in the fourth quarter and in the clutch situations, we knew something good was going to happen.

With over a minute on the clock, the defense still had work to do. The Tar Heels came down the field and shot into the end zone with a last-second salute, but graduate cornerback Derrek Pitts Jr. managed to secure the interception and secure the victory.

With his four passing touchdowns, Leary broke legendary Wolfpack quarterback Phillip Rivers’ passing touchdown record in a single season. Emezie and Leary have teamed up to make an incredible connection during their careers at Wolfpack and the two bonding not only for big touchdowns but also for records, is far from unexpected.

“It’s amazing,” Leary said. “It really is. It’s a blessing too. I mean, it’s crazy just to think about how far we’ve come as a program and how far I’ve gone as a quarterback myself, as a player and leader of this team. You know, being able to have a catcher, a teammate and a friend like Emeka helps me get even better. I mean, the guy is working his butt.

Now, the Wolfpack will be turning their attention to tomorrow’s game between Boston College and Wake Forest to see if it makes it into the ACC Championship game.

“I gave everyone the day off tomorrow, we have to get out of here for a day,” Doeren said. “That’s a lot: 10 night games, a short week [this week]. But yeah, we’ll all be stationed somewhere watching BC and Wake, and obviously we’re Boston College Eagles fans tomorrow, and we’re hoping something good happens that gets us going to play Charlotte. This is what we are going to do.

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