RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — N.C. State’s third straight win, a 31 to 20 victory over rival Duke on Saturday, came with a cost.
Late in the 3rd quarter, starting quarterback Devin Leary went down with what appeared to be a serious injury.
“We probably won’t have Devin for awhile,” said Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren. “We don’t know
the exact injury, a lower leg injury, but it doesn’t look like we’ll have him for awhile.”
Late Sunday morning, N.C. State announced Leary had a broken fibula and would be out of action
between four and eight weeks.
For N.C. State Saturday’s contest was the ultimate ‘trap game.’ The Pack was coming off two, clutch road wins facing a wounded opponent one week before a matchup against arch rival North Carolina.
Not surprisingly, State got off to a slow start, trailing the Blue Devils at the half before rallying in the
second half for an 11 point win.
“The difference was us beating us,” Doeren said of his team’s slow start. “If you guys would start playing football and not being idiots you’ll win. And they did.”
Trailing the entire game, the Wolfpack took the lead for good late in the 3rd quarter when Leary fired a 4-yard touchdown pass to Cary Angeline for a 21-20 N.C. State advantage.
Backup quarterback Bailey Hockman would give the Pack some breathing room when he connected with Thayer Thomas early in the 4th quarter pushing the lead to 28-20.
Thomas secured the ball against his helmet for a spectacular touchdown catch.
“I tried to put my foot in the ground and make a play,” explained Thomas on his touchdown reception. “The guy had already sort of jumped for it so at that point I was just trying to make a play if the ball was tipped or something. It was definitely a crazy play, a hard play but during the game we’ve got to make those plays if we want to win.”
While the Wolfpack offense struggled most of the day against the aggressive Duke defense, the
Wolfpack defense came up big in the second half, not allowing any points after the break.
N.C. State Sophomore linebacker Payton Wilson had a huge game. The former Orange High School star led the Pack with a season-high 19 tackles while picking off two passes. His big day coming at the expense of the team he grew up rooting for.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Wilson. “Growing up me and my family had season tickets to the Duke
games. So it’s pretty awesome playing a team I used to pull for.”
Still the talk after this one was about the injury to Leary and the possibility of playing the rest of the
season without the sophomore signal caller.
“That’s my brother,” sighed N.C. State running back Ricky Person. “To see that I was heartbroken,
frustrated, mad at the play what happened. He’s a fighter and prayers go out to him.”
So once again Hockman will take control of the Wolfpack offense. The Florida State transfer started the first two games of the season while Leary worked his way back from COVID-19 contact tracing.
“Baily (Hockman) stepped in and did some things well and didn’t do some things well,” said Doeren. It’s a great opportunity for him, it’s next man up.”
N.C. State travels to Chapel Hill Saturday for a noon kickoff against arch rival North Carolina.
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