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N.C. State 38, North Carolina 20
Associated Press


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina State owned the fourth quarter once again. Backup tailback Cotra Jackson scored two touchdowns in the final period as the Wolfpack snapped a seven-game losing streak against North Carolina with a 38-20 victory Saturday.

Ray Robinson
Ray Robinson beats DeFonte Coleman to the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter on Saturday.

The Wolfpack (5-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) moved closer to bowl contention under first-year coach Chuck Amato, while the Tar Heels (3-3, 1-3) dropped their second straight home game - with No. 5 Clemson coming to town next weekend.

N.C. State won despite the first mediocre outing by quarterback Philip Rivers, who came into the game second in the nation in total offense. The freshman was 13-for-25 for a season-low 202 yards.

Jackson, playing in place of injured Ray Robinson, scored his game-clinching TD with 10:56 left, 39 seconds after Ronald Curry fumbled while being sacked by Shane Riggs. Dantonio Burnette recovered at the North Carolina 15.

Jackson dashed for 8 yards, then dove inside the left end zone cone from 7 yards out to give the Wolfpack an 11-point lead and a much-needed cushion over its archrival.

Jackson added a 3-yard scoring run with 49 seconds left, capping his 94-yard rushing quarter. N.C. State has outscored opponents 72-24 in the fourth quarter this season.

The Tar Heels crawled back into the game with a solid defensive third quarter, limiting the Wolfpack to two first downs and just 37 yards while getting a 21-yard field goal by Jeff Reed to close to 24-20.

Things seemed to get worse for the Wolfpack on the first play of the fourth quarter when Robinson, who rushed for 110 yards, injured his right foot while being tackled by Brandon Spoon.

Then, with 11:43 left, Kent Passingham missed a 24-yard field goal that would have given the Wolfpack a seven-point cushion.

But Curry, who threw four interceptions in the red zone the past two weeks, coughed up the key fumble that helped snap the second-longest losing streak by N.C. State in the 90-game series.

The Wolfpack took a quick 10-0 lead and scored on four of its first five possessions.

The Tar Heels closed to 10-7 late in the opening quarter, but a fake punt deep in their own territory backfired when punter John Lafferty was dropped for a 12-yard loss.

Three plays later, the Wolfpack made it 17-7 when Rivers hit a wide open Bryan Peterson from 10 yards out. Peterson threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Rivers to open the N.C. State scoring, becoming the first receiver in school history to catch and throw a TD pass in the same game.

N.C. State threatened to run away with the game midway through the second quarter when Koren Robinson's 36-yard punt return helped set up Ray Robinson's 2-yard scoring run and a 17-point lead.

But a spearing penalty on Wolfpack linebacker Levar Fisher against Curry seemed to fire up the Tar Heels. That 15-yard penalty kept alive an 84-yard drive capped by Curry's 6-yard keeper.

After UNC held the Wolfpack to three downs for the first time in the game, Reed's 33-yard field goal 34 seconds before halftime narrowed the score to 24-17.

N.C. State's Koren Robinson was held to two catches and 41 yards, snapping his school-record streak of six straight 100-yard receiving games.