West Virginia beats NC State 44-27 for Wolfpack’s 1st loss

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N.C. State wide receiver Thayer Thomas (87) crosses the goal line for a touchdown as West Virginia safety Kerry Martin Jr. (15) attempts a tackle during the first half Saturday. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – Austin Kendall threw three touchdown passes to lead West Virginia to a 44-27 victory over North Carolina State on Saturday.

Kennedy McKoy helped West Virginia’s run game break out of a slump with a pair of scores, and the Mountaineers (2-1) had by far their highest offensive production of the season one week after looking lethargic in a 38-7 loss at Missouri.

Kendall had first-half TD tosses of 20 and 13 yards. His 25-yard run early in the fourth quarter set up his 9-yard scoring toss to freshman Ali Jennings for a 38-27 lead.

Kendall went 27 of 40 for 272 yards with an interception.

West Virginia broke a 21-21 halftime tie with the help of its defense, which had been criticized by the coaching staff for 22 missed tackles a week ago.

North Carolina State (2-1) managed just 97 yards of offense in the second half. Sophomore Matthew McKay threw a first-quarter touchdown pass but was harassed all game in his first road start.

McKay finished 23 of 48 for 207 yards. He was 9 of 24 for 72 yards after halftime.

THE TAKEAWAY

North Carolina State: Facing its first Power 5 opponent, the Wolfpack ran 18 more offensive plays than West Virginia but fell flat. They were limited to two second-half field goals after outscoring their first two opponents 75-6.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers entered the game with an FBS-worst 1.1 yard per rushing attempt and wasn’t expected to improve much with the pregame announcement that right guard Josh Sills would miss the game with an injured shoulder and left guard Michael Brown was out with an illness. But West Virginia’s offense avoided the middle for most of the game. Its most effective plays went to the outside and through laterals.

UP NEXT

North Carolina State: Hosts Ball State next Saturday.

West Virginia: Travels to Kansas for the Big 12 opener next Saturday.

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