(Yds/carry stats are sack adjusted.)
NC State's offense didn't cash in as much as it probably should have in the first half, which made for an uneasy ten-point halftime lead, but it sustained drives throughout the half, going three-and-out just once. The Wolfpack only went three-and-out three times in the game, and that includes the interception Russell Wilson threw on a third down play. The last three-and-out came late in the fourth quarter after Tech's rally had been halted.
Russell Wilson was outstanding from start to finish, his hiccup notwithstanding, and the Pack had their way with the Jackets' defense, especially between the 20s. They looked like a "perfect storm" for the first time. If this is how Russell Wilson looks while he's shaking off the remnants of baseball, look out. (But I think he's past that.) Ten different receivers caught a pass, with Owen Spencer and Jarvis Williams figuring most prominently. They did an excellent job of finding more opportunities for Spencer in space, something I hope we see week in and week out. He finished with six relatively short grabs (by his standards), but he'll start making things happen in the situations where he only needs to break one tackle to pile up some big yardage.
Dean Haynes and Mustafa Greene combined to run for 143 yards and did not fumble the football. I am loving this tandem. What I really like about these guys is you don't see them tiptoeing around the backfield, hesitating about which way to go. They get north-south without much wasted motion.
Surprisingly enough, though, the defense did such a good job containing Tech's offense in the first half that it wasn't as critical that State's offense sustain drives as one would have figured heading in. Georgia Tech went three-and-out three times and fumbled the ball away twice on its first five possessions of the game. The only first-half drive that lasted longer than 3:07 was their 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. In fact, that was the only Georgia Tech drive all afternoon that took longer than three minutes and change. (Though that wasn't purely a result of good Wolfpack defense--the Jackets had a pair of three-play touchdown drives.)
Georgia Tech attempted 18 passes yesterday, a sure sign NC State was doing things right. They forced Tech into obvious passing situations early on, and Russell Wilson put them in must-pass mode late.
I could have done without the fourth quarter suspense, but I don't know that I could've dreamed up a better performance than what we saw in Atlanta yesterday. The 17-point win tied the largest margin of victory ever over the Yellow Jackets. Not too bad, fellas. More and more I'm feeling like there isn't a game on the schedule that NC State can't win.