After notching their first conference win at home against North Carolina, the Jackets went on the road to Raleigh, NC to face off against the NC State Wolfpack on Oct. 1. The Jackets opened up to an early lead and, despite struggling through the middle of the game, they closed the game strong in a 45-35 victory.
Tech amassed their lowest yardage total of the season with 413 yards of offense and also allowed the NC State offense to gain 387 yards. Redshirt junior quarterback Tevin Washington had his worst passing game of the season, only completing four of his 12 passes for 117 yards.
Tech won the toss and elected to defer until the second half. The Jackets defense forced a quick three-and-out and only allowed the Wolfpack to gain one yard. Tech then drove 11 yards after the punt before missing three consecutive pass attempts. The Jackets appeared to line up in punt formation on fourth down, but the ball was snapped directly to sophomore defensive back Jemea Thomas and run for 27 yards and the first down. The Jackets used the momentum swing and scored four plays later on a 13-yard run by junior A-back Orwin Smith.
The Wolfpack began their next drive at their own 32 yard line and drove the ball 37 yards downfield to the Tech 31. NC State’s James Washington accounted for 27 of the total yards, but could not convert on a third down attempt. The Wolfpack elected to attempt a field goal, but missed the 48-yard attempt, giving the ball back to the Jackets.
The Jackets responded with a 40-yard completion to junior wide receiver Stephen Hill on the first play of the drive. Five plays later, the Jackets brought the score to 14-0 on a nine-yard run by Smith, his second touchdown of the day.
After another quick three-and-out for the Wolfpack ending in a sack, the Jackets received the ball at the NC State 48. The Jackets quickly drove the ball to a goal line situation but were pushed back to the nine yard line and faced a third-and-long situation. Washington hit redshirt sophomore B-back David Sims on an out route for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead for the Jackets.
NC State took over for the remainder of the first half, with a 19 play, 81-yard drive that resulted in a turnover on downs and took 9:50 off of the clock. They then forced the Jackets into a three-and-out and capitalized with a nine play, 49-yard touchdown drive to bring the score to 21-7 at halftime and take 11:29 off of the clock in the second quarter.
The Jackets received the ball to start the second half but faced another three-and-out situation before giving the ball back to the Wolfpack 46 yards away from the endzone. The Wolfpack capitalized on the field position with a one-play 46 yard rush to cut the score to 21-14 and bring NC State within one score.
Both teams exchanged possessions through the remainder of the third quarter, and the Jackets went into the fourth quarter driving with the score still at 21-14.
The Jackets drove to the NC State five yard line before facing a fourth down situation. The Jackets lined up and forced the Wolfpack offsides on the play to gain a fresh set of downs. Two plays later, Smith found the endzone on a two-yard run and his final touchdown of the day.
The Wolfpack received the ensuing kick and returned the ball to their own 17-yard line. NC State quarterback Mike Glennon felt some heavy pressure on first down and threw a deep pass that was intercepted by sophomore safety Isaiah Johnson and returned 34 yards for a touchdown. The Jackets had scored two touchdowns in a six second span and had a comfortable 35-14 lead with 12:29 left in the game.
The Jackets then forced a quick turnover on downs at the Wolfpack’s 38 yard line, and Washington hit senior A-back Roddy Jones on the next play for a touchdown and a 42-14 lead with 10:07 left to play.
The Wolfpack would not give up though, with Glennon hitting all four of his pass attempts on the next drive and scoring a quick touchdown with a one yard completion and 7:47 left on the clock. NC State elected to kick an onside kick, but the kick was recovered by Thomas and returned to the NC State 24. The Jackets were forced to kick a field goal and brought the score to 45-21 before a late surge by the Wolfpack.
The Wolfpack scored with 0:34 left in the game on a touchdown by Tyler Brosius to Tyler Purvis. Then on the ensuing play by the Jackets, redshirt freshman quarterback Synjyn Days fumbled the ball and the Wolfpack returned it 33 yards for a touchdown cutting their deficit to ten points in a 14 second span. NC State did not recover the ensuing onside kick after an illegal touching penalty, and the Jackets ended the game with the final score set at 45-35.
The Jackets will face Maryland at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday at 12:00 p.m.