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Georgia Tech 56, NC State 23: Horrifying 2nd quarter implosion dooms Wolfpack

Grant Halverson

There are turning points and then there are


In fewer than a dozen plays, NC State went from being in great shape for a go-ahead score to down by two scores, and Georgia Tech's offense had no part in any of this.


NC State's receivers struggled to catch the football in the first half, which eventually led to catastrophe. The Wolfpack was nearing a score that would make it 20-14 in their favor when Jacoby Brissett threw a pass to Bryan Underwood that was literally booted after Underwood's stone block-hands dropped the throw.

Quayshawn Nealy corralled the tipped pass near Tech's goal line and was off to the races the other way. He was caught by freshman Jaylen Samuels, who stripped the ball from behind and recovered it himself at the NCSU 28. That appeared to be a huge swing back in State's favor with the way the Pack had been moving the ball up until that point. Instead, that brief moment of relief was quickly dashed two plays later, when Tech's D.J. White jumped a short route and took an interception to the house.

That alone was a big sequence--instead of potentially being down six, the Jackets had extended their lead to eight. But it didn't end there, because Brissett fumbled as he was being sacked on State's ensuing drive, and that fumble was easily returned for six by Nealy, as there was no one around to catch him that time.

So in a matter of about three minutes of game time, State went from orchestrating a promising drive while down one point to imploding spectacularly and gifting Georgia Tech a 28-13 edge.

There was so much bad football stuff in such a short period of time; it was equal parts bizarre, amusing, sad, embarrassing, and, as Brissett lay hurt on the ground, frightening. It was enough to crush a team that, prior to the disaster sequence, had given itself a lot of reasons to believe it could beat the Jackets.

There is no way this State team could afford to give up two touchdowns to Georgia Tech's defense and hope to win--not with the lopsided matchup that was the Tech triple option against the Wolfpack defense. And everybody in the building knew it. Georgia Tech rolled the rest of the way.