No. 20 NC State faces disappointed UNC in role reversal

Roles have been reversed for North Carolina and No. 20 North Carolina State as the teams prepare for their regular-season finale.It’s NC State in position to reach the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.The Wolfpack (8-3, 5-2 ACC) can land the Atlantic Division’s spot in the league championship game by defeating visiting North Carolina on Friday night in Raleigh, N.C., and if Boston College knocks off Wake Forest the following day.”We put ourselves in a position,” NC State coach Dave Doeren said. “Now a chance to have a championship week. Senior Day and play our rival. A lot to play for.”The season began with North Carolina (6-5, 3-4) holding a top-10 ranking and a favorite in the ACC’s Coastal Division.It hasn’t panned out for the Tar Heels, but they can play spoiler against their rivals.North Carolina played Saturday without quarterback Sam Howell, who was out with an upper-body injury. That didn’t stop the Tar Heels from thumping a one-win Wofford team in the home finale.Howell, a junior who has been on a record-setting pace throughout his career, is expected to play against NC State.”He feels like he’ll be well and ready to go Friday,” North Carolina coach Mack Brown said.Reserves Jacolby Criswell and Drake Maye each played a half at quarterback in the Wofford game.Either way, graduate transfer Ty Chandler gives North Carolina a rushing threat. The former Tennessee player eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark last week (1,004 yards, 13 TDs).”(That’s) the goal we had for him when we took him as the only grad transfer,” Brown said. “He’s sure been worth it.”NC State lost a Nov. 13 showdown at Wake Forest, but the Wolfpack bounced back into contention last week when the Demon Deacons lost to Clemson (and State socked Syracuse).An NC State victory and Wake Forest loss would mean a three-way tie with Clemson (8-3, 6-2), in which case, the Wolfpack would win the tiebreaker because one of its losses was to a Coastal Division foe.