NC State Pulls Out Close Victory Over Wake Forest, 21-17
Nov. 15, 2008
RALEIGH, N.C. - Russell Wilson accounted for all three NC State (4-6, 2-4 ACC) touchdowns as the Wolfpack held off Wake Forest (6-4, 4-3 ACC) 21-17 on a rainy and windy Saturday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Marshall Williams led the way for Wake Forest, making a career-high seven catches on a career-high 116 yards. Williams also made the second touchdown catch of his career in the game.
Riley Skinner completed 21 passes on 33 attempts for 176 yards with one touchdown and one interception. With the game today, Skinner moved over 6,000 yards passing in his career at Wake Forest. He has now thrown for 6,137 yards in his career, the fourth most at Wake Forest.
The loss snapped Wake Forest's 10-game winning streak against teams from the state of North Carolina. Before today, the Deacs last lost to an in-state foe on November 13, 2004, when North Carolina defeated Wake Forest 31-24. The Demon Deacons are 23-6 under head coach Jim Grobe against in-state opponents.
With Wake Forest leading 17-14, NC State drove the ball 69 yards on 11 plays to take a 21-17 lead. The drive was capped when Wilson found Anthony Hill in the endzone for an 8-yard touchdown pass to give the Wolfpack the lead with 10:17 remaining in the game.
After each team was forced to punt on its next two possessions, the Deacons tried to engineer a late fourth quarter comeback, but fell just short. On a 4th-and-8 at the Wake Forest 45-yard line, Skinner scrambled and picked up 10 yards to keep the drive alive. The Deacs advanced the ball as far as the Wolfpack 25-yard line. On a 4th-and-6, Skinner was sacked by Alan-Michael Cash to stop the drive and end Wake's chances of the comeback victory.
NC State struck first, taking the opening drive 67 yards on 12 plays. The Wolfpack went 4-of-4 on third-down conversions, including a 27-yard pass play from Russell Wilson to Jay Smith to take the ball down to the Wake Forest 13-yard line. The Wolfpack capped the drive with an 11-yard pass from Wilson to George Bryan to take a 7-0 lead with 9:29 left in the first quarter.
After the two teams exchanged punts, Wake Forest evened the game with 1:17 remaining in the first quarter. On a 3rd-and 8, Riley Skinner hit D.J. Boldin on a 25-yard completion over the middle for Wake's initial first down of the game. Two plays later, Boldin took a reverse from Skinner and found Marshall Williams all alone down the middle of the field for a 64-yard touchdown pass. Boldin became the first non-quaterback to throw a touchdown pass for Wake Forest since the 2006 season when Nate Morton found Skinner on a touchdown pass. The drive was a season-long 91 yards on five plays and took 90 seconds off the clock.
After the Deacons forced another NC State punt, the Wake Forest offense was again able to move the ball down the field. Skinner found Marshall Williams on a couple of completions. The drive ended however on Skinner's first interception since the Navy game, a span of 141 pass attempts between interceptions.
NC State converted the interception into seven points to give the Wolfpack a 14-7 lead with 1:39 left in the second quarter. Wilson did much of the work on the drive, including a 4-yard touchdown run to finish the drive. For the drive, Wilson rushed for 39 yards.
The Deacons evened the game for the second time on the ensuing possession. Wake Forest went 68 yards on seven plays on a drive that took 1:26 off the clock. Skinner found Boldin over the middle of the field on a 7-yard touchdown pass to even the score at 14 with four seconds remaining in the half. The touchdown pass for Skinner was the 32nd of his career.
Even though Wake Forest ran 18 fewer plays than the Wolfpack did in the first half, the Deacs still outgained NC State 214-204. The Deacs averaged 8.2 yards a play in the opening 30 minutes, while NC State averaged 4.6 yards per play.
Wake Forest moved the ball well on its first drive of the second half. The Deacs picked up a couple of first downs on runs from Brandon Pendergrass. However, the Wolfpack defense stopped Wake Forest on 4th-and-1 at the NC State 17-yard line to end the drive and turn the ball over on downs.
After each team was forced to punt, the Wake Forest defense forced its first turnover of the game. On a 3rd-and-9, John Russell sacked Wilson, forcing a fumble. The fumble was recovered by Boo Robinson, setting Wake Forest up with great field position at the NC State 13-yard line.
The Deacons turned the turnover into three points to take their first lead of the game. Wake Forest was unable to pick up a first down, and had to settle for a 24-yard field goal. Popham split the uprights to give the Deacs a 17-14 lead with eight seconds left in the third quarter.
Wake Forest closes the season with two home games, starting next week when the Deacons host Boston College at 3:30 p.m. (ET). The game will be shown regionally on ABC and ESPN2.