Despite a sluggish first half performance on Saturday night, NC State cruised by an outmanned Presbyterian squad, 42-0, completing a perfect 4-0 run through the non-conference portion of the schedule. We're two-thirds of the way to bowl eligibility, y'all!
The Wolfpack scored a touchdown on its first possession of the game, and it looked then like this one might be decided quickly. State's offense bogged down after that drive, though, missing on some opportunities for big plays in a few cases, while the Blue Hose were able to string some first downs together and burn much of the opening quarter.
The frustration finally began to dissipate in the last two minutes of the second quarter, when State scored a pair of touchdowns in quick succession to open up a 21-0 lead. Both scores were capped by outstanding grabs in the end zone--the first by Marquez Valdes-Scantling near the corner, the second by Matt Dayes over the middle.
By the time Jacoby Brissett hit Bryan Underwood for a long score to open the third quarter, the Wolfpack's wheezing start was pretty much forgotten. The Hose managed some decent sequences here and there but rarely did enough to threaten the end zone. Their deepest drive into Pack territory was derailed by a holding penalty and they would eventually miss a field goal try.
Shadrach Thornton's touchdown run in the fourth quarter extended the lead to 42-0 and marked the end of the night for most of the first string, allowing the reserves to play a good 10 minutes or so. For the second week in a row, State had a lot of garbage time to burn, which is never a bad thing.
It wasn't a particularly sharp effort overall from the Pack, but State didn't need one to handle Presbyterian, either. I don't think there's much we'll be able to take away from this week, though there were several strong individual performances. The biggest positive might be the simple fact that State avoided major injuries, just as it has all month.
Getting through these first four games without a loss and without serious injuries was huge. Soon enough we'll know what this team's really got.