During the closing seconds of N.C. State’s improbable comeback over North Carolina on Friday, lifelong N.C. State fan Greg Haas jumped over the wall from his 10-yard-line seat at Carter-Finley Stadium to celebrate the win.
Trailing by nine with just over two minutes left in the game, the Wolfpack scored two touchdowns in under 30 seconds to seal a 34-30 come-from-behind victory.
“When that final interception happened, my wife turned to me and said ‘You got to go down,’” Haas said.
But as soon as he hit the ground, his rush of the field ended. Haas, 44, broke his right leg in two places.
He said after N.C. State’s upset win over Clemson earlier in the season, his dad made the same jump from the same seats with no injuries. He thought he could do the same.
“I landed on my feet, but my leg just kind of gave out, and I just remember going down face first after that,” Haas said. “The jump seemed fine. The landing just didn’t quite work out.”
Haas lives in Woodbridge, Virginia, just south of Washington, but he drives down to Raleigh, where his family is from, for every N.C. State home football game.
And his fervent support of the Wolfpack is matched by his strong dislike of the Tar Heels. His license plate reads “H8UNC” and his shirt at Friday’s game read “Carolina Sucks.”
“I don’t know if I would do it again, knowing that this happened to me, but I definitely don’t regret it. It was 100% worth it, just living in the moment and just to see N.C. State beat UNC, their archrival, on such an ending like that,” Haas said.
At the tailgate before the game, Haas and his family ate an eight-pound smoked lamb leg, a symbolic meal, he said, as UNC’s mascot is a ram. And given that he broke his own leg hours later, he called it ironic.
“Turns out it was an omen,” Haas said.
To add to the irony, after Haas was carried off the field in a stretcher, he was transported to a nearby UNC Rex hospital. He’ll be visiting his UNC graduate orthopedic surgeon in Virginia next week to see if he needs surgery.
“This will be a great story with him next week,” Haas said.