CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina State quarterback Jacoby Brissett is not known as a running quarterback, but against rival North Carolina Saturday at Kenan Stadium, Brissett dazzled with his legs.
He was near-flawless as was NC State's defense posting a 35-7 victory against the Tar Heels in the regular season finale.
Brissett, who rushed for more than 50 yards in a game just once this season, busted through the UNC defense for a school-record 167 rushing yards by a quarterback, scoring once on the ground and throwing for three more.The Wolfpack ( 7-5 overall 3-5 Atlantic Coastal Conference) snapped a two-game losing streak to North Carolina and now await a bowl invitation. The Tar Heels, who had won four of their past five games to become bowl eligible themselves, slip to 4-4 in ACC play and 6-6 overall.
NC State coach Dave Doeren said he expected a big game from his quarterback.
"I had a conversation with him yesterday in my office and I told him there were two number 12s playing [Brissett and UNC quarterback Marquise Williams] and I thought he was the better one, so go out and prove it because all everyone is talking about is the other guy," Doeren said. "We asked Jacoby to run the football today and that's something we normally don't do. But we knew they would have a problem with that."
The UNC defense did have trouble stopping Brissett. Not only did it have trouble stopping Brissett, but also Shadrach Thornton, who had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season in the Wolfpack's last game against Wake Forest. Thornton added 161 more yards on the ground as the Wolfpack finished with 388 rushing yards and 454 yards of offense overall. It was the most rushing yards the Tar Heels have given up since Maryland rushed for that exact total in 2002.
Brissett deferred the credit to his offensive line which manhandled the Tar Heels from the start.
"It wasn't about me, it was about all of us," Brissett said. "We knew we had to score points because of how explosive their offense is. We talked about finishing drives. Our offensive line did such a great job and we just followed them."
The NC State defense, which gave up just 229 yards to Wake Forest last week, held the Tar Heels to a season-low 207 yards Saturday, including just 30 on the ground. North Carolina came into the contest averaging 36.7 points per game, 19th best in the country and had recorded 591 yards of offense in a win against Duke last week.
"Let's give credit to their coaching staff and their players, they were better prepared and they played a better game [compared] to us today," said UNC coach Larry Fedora. "They were better than we were. Stunning is a good word. It was very disappointing."