Notre Dame bolstered its College Football Playoff resume Saturday with a convincing 35-14 victory over 14th-ranked NC State at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana.
The Fighting Irish, who are No. 9 in the AP Top 25 poll, backed up their blowout win over USC last week with a strong all-around effort to cruise past the Wolfpack. Running back Josh Adams led the charge with 202 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.
NC State couldn't keep pace with the big plays from the Golden Domers. Quarterback Ryan Finley completed only 17 of 37 throws, and the team's rushing attack averaged a mere 2.1 yards per carry, which contributed to its low showing of 263 total yards.
Notre Dame faced its largest deficit of the season when NC State opened the scoring with a return touchdown off a blocked punt with just over 10 minutes left in the first quarter.
The Irish responded with an emphatic two-play, 60-yard touchdown drive to level the score and set the tone for the rest of the first half. Adams broke off a 35-yard run, then Brandon Wimbush found Durham Smythe for a 25-yard score.
As a whole, the Notre Dame offense operated at peak efficiency to grab a 21-14 halftime lead.
Wimbush, who entered the game with a lackluster 51.7 completion rate, connected on eight of his 12 throws for 80 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a score. Adams added 102 yards on 18 carries in the half, a stretch that included several long rushes.
NBC Sports spotlighted a terrific sideline grab by Kevin Stepherson for the Irish's third TD:
The Wolfpack had a highlight-reel score of their own before the break, courtesy of Kelvin Harmon:
Notre Dame started to take control early in the second half thanks to its defense.
With NC State looking to tie the score on the first possession after halftime, Julian Love picked off Finley and returned the interception 69 yards for the touchdown to help make it 28-14.
Angelo Di Carlo of WNDU pointed out it was the first interception the Wolfpack have thrown this season:
The Fighting Irish provided a field-level look at the critical moment:
Adams eliminated most of NC State's remaining upset hopes with a 77-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. His dynamic performance was made even more impressive by the fact the Wolfpack entered the game sixth in the nation in rushing yards allowed at 91.3 per outing.
ESPN Stats & Info passed along further details about the rusher's monster day:
Notre Dame will return to action next Saturday for what could be a trap game at home against Wake Forest. That's because it will be easy for the Fighting Irish to look ahead to the following week when they're scheduled to face unbeaten Miami on the road.
NC State's chances of making the College Football Playoff likely fell by the wayside with Saturday's loss. The Wolfpack can still make a major impact on the postseason race next weekend when they return home to Carter-Finley Stadium to take on Clemson.