The last time Notre Dame came to Raleigh to play NC State they had to deal with the elements of a hurricane. Though there wasn’t that type of major storm, the elements did play a factor in the form of lightning being seen locally and delaying the game for an hour and 45 minutes.
Unfortunately for the Wolfpack, the defense did not come back out of the locker room ready to play. They had been stout in the first quarter, but missed an assignment on the first play after the delay. Notre Dame capitalized en route to an 80 yard touchdown run by Audric Estime, putting them up 10-0. The Wolfpack defense picked back up their strong performance and didn’t give much ground until former Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman found a receiver for 45 yards. As they normally do, the defense settled back down and got a big sack on Hartman to end that drive.
The weather delay hampered the crowd for a while since not everyone came back right away. Things perked up when NC State was able to sustain a drive, with the help of several Notre Dame penalties. Brennan Armstrong was flushed (again) from the pocket but moved laterally to keep his eyes down field and found Bradley Rozner for a 9 yard TD. The pass was a legit strike, thrown on the move, the kind of pass we’ve been expecting to see from Armstrong since he came to NC State.
NC State could have gone to the half down only three but the defense lost a receiver in coverage. Hartman found the open man leading to a 65 yard gain into the red zone, and a TD right afterward. Notre Dame was up 17-7 at the half.
After a second half drive ended with just an NC State field goal, the Irish broke yet another long play as Hartman found a receiver for a 40 yard TD play. The Wolfpack defender tried to politely ask Holden Staes if he wouldn’t mind kindly going out of bounds by just pushing him. He declined the request, bounced off and kept running all the way to pay dirt.
NC State responded with their best sustained drive of the day. They worked their way down with the help of passes to Keyon Lesane and Juice Vereen, ending in a QB sneak by Armstrong for the score.
The Pack defense immediately got to Hartman and forced a fumble. The Wolfpack couldn’t capitalize and missed the ensuing field goal. They were down 24-17 at the time and were trying to cut it to under a touchdown deficit.
...Then some other stuff happened and NC State lost 45-24.
The story of the game was the NC State receivers dropping pass after pass. Brennan Armstrong put some great looks right on their hands, only to have the ball bounce off like the receivers had bricks for hands. The final nail in the coffin came as a pass careened of a receiver’s hands and bounce right to the Notre Dame defender, setting up yet another TD. The defense for the Wolfpack are expected yet again to carry the burden, and this isn’t sustainable. On to next week!