North Carolina coach Carl Torbush thought he had escaped the Gatorade shower following Thursday night's 10-6 victory over North Carolina State.
Out of practice, the Tar Heels got him in the locker room instead of on the field after snapping the team's seven-game losing streak.
"Somebody asked me how I felt and I said it has been so long I don't know how to feel," Torbush said. "`It is pleasing and rewarding to see the hard work of our guys pay off."
"The emotion in the locker room was unreal," Williams said.
The loss by the Wolfpack (6-5, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) means it will have to beat No. 24 East Carolina on the road next Saturday in order to qualify for a bowl game.
"This is going to be a hard one to get over," N.C. State coach Mike O'Cain said. "This is not an easy one right now. I told our team we've got to grow closer together."
North Carolina (2-8, 1-6) snapped its worst losing streak in a decade, limiting Jamie Barnette, the ACC's No. 2 career passer, to 216 yards.
"Offensively, we just didn't execute," O'Cain said. "We weren't sharp, we didn't stay on blocks well, we didn't do a good job at the receiving position getting open and getting separation. Just no consistency."
The Wolfpack trailed 10-3 and moved to the North Carolina 9 with 11 1/2 minutes left, but Ray Robinson was stopped on third-and-1 and O'Cain, now 0-7 against the Tar Heels, opted to kick a field goal, hoping his offense would get another chance.
It did, but a 90-yard drive to the North Carolina 1 with 1:43 left fizzled when Barnette's pitch to Carlos Doggett was bad and the running back lost 8 yards. After a offside penalty, Chris Coleman was stopped at the 1 by Errol Hood.
"It wuld have been a sad way to lose the game at the end after being offside and giving them another play at the end," Torbush said. "We tried that for excitment so y'all would have another paragraph or two to write."
"It was six inches they didn't get," Hood said. "For the first time this season we came together and the team was behind each other on the sideline."
The Tar Heels, leading 7-3, missed a golden opportunity to tack on some points when Koren Robinson fumbled a punt at the N.C. State 31. After North Carolina driving to the 15, McGee's 32-yard field goal attempt was wide left.
A series later, the Tar Heels used a fake punt to keep a drive alive and McGee made good on a 32-yarder as the pressure began to build on the Wolfpack late in the third quarter.
N.C. State had 27 first downs and 504 yards last week in a victory over Maryland, but didn't get a first down in the first quarter against a rejuvenated Tar Heels defense, running only eight plays.
Meanwhile, North Carolina, which had scored a combined 25 points in its last four losses, marched 78 yards for a score on its first series. It was the team's first TD in 10 quarters and brought life to a team that is playing out the string.
Williams, a converted running back and the team's fourth starting quarterback of the season, keyed the drive, completing a 45-yard pass to wide-open Kory Bailey on third-and-18 to the Wolfpack 41. Williams capped the march with a third-down TD pass to Deon Dyer from 12 yards.
The Wolfpack drove deep into North Carolina territory midway through the second quarter, but mistakes cost N.C. State twice from the 2 once on an illegal procedure penalty and then on a bad pitch by Barnette.
N.C. State had to settle for a 28-yard field goal by Kent Passingham as the Tar Heels led at halftime for the first time in a month.
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