Blocked Punt Returned for a TD Leads NC State to Victory Over Notre Dame

 

 

 

RALEIGH, N.C. (GoPack.com)- Playing in a constant downpour with heavy winds due to Hurricane Matthew hitting the East Coast, NC State defeated visiting Notre Dame in a defensive battle, 10-3, as the Wolfpack celebrated the 50th anniversary of Carter-Finley Stadium.

With the score tied 3-3 in the fourth quarter, the Wolfpack (4-1) broke through with the game's lone touchdown - which came on a special teams play. The Irish (2-4) lined up to punt deep in their own territory, but NC State tight end Pharoah McKever broke through the middle blockers to block the punt, which was scooped up by safety Dexter Wright and returned 16 yards for the game winning score.

NOTABLES
• The Pharoah McKever blocked punt returned by Dexter Wright for a TD in the fourth quarter was the first punt block returned for a score for NC State since a game against Boston College in 2010. The blocked punt was the first for NC State since a game against Florida State in 2012.

• Notre Dame's final total of 113 yards of total offense was the lowest for a NC State FBS opponent since Maryland had 91 in 2004.

• The Wolfpack's total of 198 yards of total offense is the lowest in a NC State win since a victory against Maryland in 2005 (196).

• RB Matthew Dayes went over 100 yards for the fourth time in the first five games of the season, as he finished with 126 yards on 23 carries. Dating back to last season, Dayes has rushed for over 100 yards in nine of his last 13 games played.

• For the first time this season in its four home games, NC State failed to score a TD on its first possession. A Wolfpack TD (QB Ryan Finley to TE Cole Cook - 8 yard pass) was called back due to a penalty. NC State ended up missing a 31-yard FG on its opening drive.

• Starting safety Shawn Boone was forced to miss the first half due to a targeting call last game. In his place, redshirt freshman Jarius Morehead made his first career start. He picked off a Notre Dame pass at the Pack's 1-yard line in the second quarter, and finished with three tackles.

• The three combined points scored in the first half were the fewest in a NC State game since 2012 at Connecticut (NCSU had a 3-0 halftime lead as well).

• The Pack held Notre Dame to its first scoreless first half since the 2012 National Championship game, and the Irish's 48 total yards in the first half were the fewest since 2008 against USC (9).