RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Fifty-three thousand homecoming fans were waiting somewhat patiently for the N.C. State offense to get in gear Saturday against Louisville.
The Cardinals held a 10-7 fourth-quarter lead as an uneasy feeling gripped Carter-Finley Stadium.
“We were hurting ourselves a little bit in the first half,” admitted N.C. State quarterback Devin Leary. “But in the second half, we just had to settle in, stay on rhythm and try and go one and oh each and every play.”
The formula finally worked. The Pack exploded for 21 fourth-quarter points in their 28-13 win over the Cardinals.
“It was a lot of fun to be a part of a game like that and a finish like that,” said Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren. “To do it at home and have Halloween be a part of it, it was a fun night.”
And a scary one as well when considering the importance of the game.
A loss to the Cardinals would have all but knocked the Pack out of contention for an ACC title given how well Wake Forest is playing.
But the Pack showed their mettle and found a way to win on a night when the offense struggled. The bruised and battered State defense coming up big in the clutch.
“I was really proud of the faith of our team, the resiliency of our team,” noted Doeren. “Throughout the game, they hung together and showed a lot of grit and the defense had a special night.”
Doeren noted that there was never any finger-pointing as the Pack offense struggled to find their footing.
Both sides of the ball stayed positive, confident the Pack would eventually find a way to get the job done.
“We know how important it is to support our guys and keep on motivating them,” said linebacker Drake Thomas, who had a game-high 15 tackles versus Louisville. “We have full confidence in Leary and our entire offense that at some point they’re going to breakthrough.”
The fourth-quarter offensive explosion sent the homecoming crowd home happy.
Now the Pack hits the road for a matchup with talented Florida State, one week before heading to unbeaten Wake Forest.
That game in Winston-Salem could very well decide the Atlantic Division champion