The border battle goes to South Carolina.
Chris Smelley threw a career-high three touchdown passes in the first half and No. 7 South Carolina withstood a late rally to beat North Carolina 21-15 on Saturday.
The redshirt freshman improved to 4-0 as a starter, helping South Carolina build a 21-3 lead through three quarters and successfully defend its first top 10 ranking since 2001.
But the Tar Heels made things interesting late. T.J. Yates threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Greg Little on the first play of the fourth quarter, then ran 3 yards for another score to make it a six-point game with three minutes left remaining.
The Gamecocks gave North Carolina one last chance, after Ryan Succop's 48-yard field goal bounced off the right upright with 46 seconds left.
Yates threw three quick completions to move the Tar Heels to the South Carolina 31, but misfired on his last two throws toward the end zone.