Heading down to Bobby Dodd Stadium for a matchup against defending ACC Champion Georgia Tech, the N.C. State Wolfpack came looking for their first 4-0 start since 2002. Russell Wilson led the team to a 45-28 victory on a day when the Wolfpack would lead the entire game after the first score.
After N.C. State and Georgia Tech both fumbled early in the game, the score remained 0-0. But with just under two minutes left in the first quarter, N.C. State blocked a punt by Georgia Tech deep in Yellow Jacket territory, recovering the ball in the end zone for a touchdown to put the Wolfpack on the board first, never to relinquish the lead.
Once the Wolfpack were on the board, they continued to move the ball with ease, moving into field goal range on the next three possessions. Although, they were able to get deep into Georgia Tech territory, N.C. State was only able to capitalize once, missing a pair of 31-yard field goals.
Georgia Tech was able to get on the board with 2:30 left in the first half with a 10-yard rushing touchdown by Orwin Smith, bringing the score back within reach to 10-7. N.C. State answered quickly before the half, with a 69-yard drive, finishing with a 21-yard reception by Steven Howard from Wilson with 22 seconds remaining on the clock.
N.C. State’s defense was able to keep Joshua Nesbitt and the Yellow Jacket triple option offense’s production to a minimum, forcing two fumbles in the first half and blocking a punt. Nesbitt finished the first half going 0-4, while rushing 10 times for 39 yards.
Georgia Tech was able to close the lead to three points quickly after the half with a three-play, 64-yard drive, which included a 61-yard run by Nesbitt on the first play of the half. However, N.C. State came back to regain their 10-point lead and extend it with a six-yard touchdown reception by Jarvis Williams on the next drive and a six-yard touchdown run by Wilson on the drive following that.
The Yellow Jackets finally completed a pass with 2:45 left in the third quarter. At the start of the fourth quarter, Georgia Tech completed their second pass on a 50-yard reception by Anthony Allen, followed by a 32-yard touchdown grab by Tyler Melton for the team’s third completion on back-to-back plays.
Georgia Tech closed the Wolfpack lead to a mere three points in the fourth quarter when Russell Wilson was picked off for a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown. This was Wilson’s first interception he has thrown after the first four games of the season. Wilson was able to forget the miscue quickly as he marched N.C. State back down the field, finishing the drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Graham for his third passing touchdown of the game and 11th on the season. Wilson finished the game completing 28 of 41 passes for 368 yards while tossing for three touchdowns as well as scoring one on the ground.
Mustafa Greene has been a bright spot for the Wolfpack, who coming into the season had questions about their squad in the backfield. Greene scored late in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach for Georgia Tech. Greene has found the end zone in all four games this season, also the first four games of his collegiate career. He finished the game with 68 yards on 13 carries, while counterpart Dean Haynes finished with 75 yards on 18 carries.
N.C. State amassed 527 yards of total offense in their trip to Atlanta, GA, continuing with their winning ways. With the commanding wins the Wolfpack have put up in the last two weeks against Cincinnati and Georgia Tech, fans should expect to see their team make a strong push towards the AP Top 25. With their next two games at home, N.C. State will look to continue their winning streak further into conference play. N.C. State has been a surprise in the conference so far this year and they will look to keep playing well play with their eyes set on fighting for the ACC title.
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