NC State Wolfpack: Hines, Finley, Samuels Lead Runaway Win Over Heels

RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 25: Jaylen Samuels
RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 25: Jaylen Samuels /

The NC State Wolfpack closed out its regular season with an emotional win for Dave Doeren’s first recruiting class’ senior day.

It can be difficult to attract recruits to a program with only three wins in a first season as head coach. NC State head coach Dave Doeren fulfilled that daunting task by enticing what many will consider to be some of the best to don the Wolfpack uniform.

Saturday evening against North Carolina, those players ended their final game at Carter-Finley Stadium by accomplishing what hadn’t been done since 2011.

Led by Germaine Pratt and Jaylen Samuels, the Pack downed the visiting Tar Heels for the first win over the in-state rivals at home in six years, 33-21.

Following a UNC touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, Samuels scored on a 10-yard run with less than two minutes to go for the game’s final score. On the Heels’ ensuing possession, Pratt intercepted Nathan Elliott’s pass inside the red zone within the last 30 seconds to drive in the final nail in the coffin.

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Ryan Finley completed 20 of his 30 pass attempts for 204 yards with an interception. However, he scored twice on the ground with 27 rushing yards on nine carries. Samuels finished Saturday’s contest with 53 rushing yards on seven carries and 22 receiving yards on three receptions.

Though the seniors shared much of the spotlight, Nyheim Hines stole the show with 196 rushing yards on 22 carries. He scored twice on back-to-back offensive plays from scrimmage on 54- and 48-yard carries. His 196 yards marked the most in school history against the Tar Heels, surpassing Ted Brown’s 189 yards on Oct. 21, 1978.

Defensively, Pratt led the Pack with 10 total tackles. B.J. Hill followed close behind with eight, including a three-yard sack in the second quarter. Darian Roseboro also added a sack but for a loss of 16. Bradley Chubb tacked on one tackle for a loss to bring his career record to 59. Airius Moore also picked off Elliott with Nick McCloud aiding by tipping the pass in the air for him.

In spite of throwing two interceptions, Elliott ended the day 21-for-45 for 277 yards and three scores for the Tar Heels. Anthony Ratliff-Williams caught five passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. Michael Carter rushed for 29 yards on eight carries and caught four passes for 51 yards and a score.

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The Wolfpack finish the 2017 season 8-4 overall and 6-2 in ACC play. NC State will now await its postseason fate following the conclusion of next week’s conference championship games.