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RALEIGH, N.C. (GoPack.com) - The NC State football team dropped a 42-28 decision to the East Carolina Pirates on Saturday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Brandon Mitchell completed 28-of-44 passes for 312 yards and four touchdown passes, setting career-highs in yards, touchdown passes, completions and pass attempts. It also marked Mitchell's first game this season with multiple touchdown passes.
Rashard Smith grabbed seven catches for a career-high 104 yards while Quintin Paytonhauled in four receptions for 91 yards. Jumichael Ramos caught five passes for 38 yards and two touchdowns, a career-high in touchdowns for the freshman Ramos.
After receiving the opening kickoff, East Carolina put together a 10 play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a three yard touchdown pass from Carden to Hardy to make the score 7-0.
The Wolfpack responded, marching down the field in 14 plays covering 76 yards, ultimately resulting in a Mitchell to Tony Creecy touchdown pass from four yards out.
The Pack converted all four of its third-down attempts on the drive, while Mitchell was a perfect 5-of-5 passing for 51 yards as well. The drive took 7:52 off the clock, the most time-consuming scoring drive the Wolfpack has put together since a drive that spanned 8:46 in 2008 versus Boston College.
From there, both teams would exchange a pair of punts before ECU put together back-to-back scoring drives to push the score to 21-7 at the midway juncture of the second quarter.
The Wolfpack had a chance to close the gap before halftime, mounting a 13 play, 51-yard drive to move deep into East Carolina territory, but could not capitalize on the opportunity, as a missed field goal keept the deficit at 14 points.
Following halftime, ECU scored on its first two possessions of the second half to make the score 35-7. A one-yard quarterback sneak by Carden gave the Pirates their fourth touchdown of the day, while a three yard run by Breon Allen gave ECU its fifth score.
NC State would add a trio of scores late in the fourth quarter. Mitchell's second touchdown pass of the game, a two-yard effort to Ramos cappen off a seven play, 80-yard drive that covered 2:52. A 50-yard pass to Quintin Payton, coupled with a 21-yard strike to Marques Valdez-Scantling on a fourth-and-two play keyed the Wolfpack scoring drive.
Following the State score, ECU had a 25-yard touchdown pass from Carden to Lance Ray to make it 42-14, before the Wolfpack answered with a 30-yard Mitchell to Smith touchdown pass.
After Niklas Sade recovered an onside kick attempt, Mitchell connected with Ramos from 18 yards out to make it 42-28 and complete the scoring on the day.
ECU quarterback Shane Carden passed for 255 yards, completing 23-of-30 passes, while Vintavious Cooper ran for 148 yards on 22 carries for the Pirates.
The Pack will return to Carter-Finley next weekend, hosting Maryland at 12:30 p.m.