RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — In his first start of the season, MJ Morris threw a career-best four touchdown passes as North Carolina State topped Marshall 48-41 on Saturday afternoon.

Morris, a sophomore, completed 17-of-32 passes for 265 yards. He threw three interceptions – including two in the first quarter – but settled into the game and put N.C. State (4-2) into a position to win.

Marshall (4-1) saw its nine-game win streak that dated to last season snapped. Quarterback Cam Fancher led the Thundering Herd with a season-high 315 passing yards and four touchdowns – two passing and two rushing.

The clash between the Herd and Wolfpack turned into a fast-paced shootout that featured six lead changes. When the dust settled, it was the highest scoring game either team had been a part of all season.

North Carolina State’s Trent Pennix (6) celebrates a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Marshall in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

After Marshall scored on a 28-yard pass from Fancher to Jayden Harrison in the third quarter, N.C. State responded almost immediately and grabbed the lead for good. On the second play of the ensuing drive, Morris found Trent Pennix wide open in the middle of the field for a 62-yard touchdown – the longest offensive score of the season for the Wolfpack.

N.C. State added two field goals from Brayden Narveson and an eight-yard touchdown pass from Morris to Kevin Concepcion to pad its lead. Concepcion and Pennix each scored two touchdowns apiece.

While both offenses were explosive, the Wolfpack’s ability to pressure Fancher proved to be crucial. N.C. State tallied six quarterback hurries along with a season-high six sacks. Three of those sacks were on third or fourth downs.


N.C. State: Morris provided the Wolfpack with an offensive spark as he completed four passes that went for more than 30 yards and led seven drives that ended with N.C. State putting points on the board. Former starting quarterback Brennan Armstrong played two snaps near the goal line but failed to generate any meaningful offense. The job belongs to Morris for the foreseeable future.

Marshall: The Herd couldn’t notch their second win of the season over an Atlantic Coast Conference team but proved that they have a potent offense after scoring 41 points for the second consecutive week. Despite this defeat, Marshall should be seen as a contender for its conference title as it enters the thick of Sun Belt play.


N.C. State: The Wolfpack resume ACC play next Saturday, playing at in-state rival Duke.

Marshall: Georgia State hosts the Herd next Saturday in Atlanta.