It was frustrating for extended periods, sure, but NC State took care of business against a dead-on-arrival Syracuse Orange team Saturday. The Wolfpack opened the game with a lengthy touchdown drive and never looked back, finishing with a 42-29 victory.
The Wolfpack ran the football with ease between the tackles, and by halftime had piled up more than 300 yards of offense. Jaylen Samuels started the scoring with a touchdown reception, and the Pack added touchdowns from Reggie Gallaspy and Nyheim hines to take a 21-9 lead into the break.
That lead could have been larger, but State was once again not without a late-half period of brain fartery. Syracuse closed the margin to 21-9 with a 30-yard touchdown pass in the last two minutes (and then inexplicably decided to go for two), and State's promising two-minute drill ended in a Jacoby Brissett interception. NC State also missed a field goal in the first half.
So there were missed opportunities in the first half, it's safe to say. They kept the Orange in this game much longer than was necessary. Syracuse came out with the ball in the second half and scored on a 75-yard run on the first play of the third quarter.
It was annoying, but considering the state of this Syracuse team, the game didn't feel in doubt. NC State responded with three consecutive touchdowns to put the contest out of reach, including a pick-six by freshman defensive end Darian Roseboro.
Roseboro gets a gift pic.twitter.com/K4eXqcBiG7— Steven (@akulawolf) November 21, 2015
And that play pretty much sums up Syracuse's effort. The Orange found some option plays that worked, and they hit on some pass plays off of that action, but in the end, Zack Mahoney wasn't good enough to make it all come together. Syracuse could have hit on some additional big plays down the field, but Mahoney's lack of accuracy proved costly. Once NC State got Syracuse's option attack behind schedule, the drive was over. (Barring an idiotic penalty, of which there were many.)
NC State controlled the majority of the game, with a few thrilling (or not-so-thrilling) twists and turns in between. Dave Doeren might have turned to reserve quarterback Jalan McClendon a bit too early in the fourth quarter, and there were some late-game shenanigans. There were the aforementioned careless penalties. It wasn't a clean game by any means, but it was enough to handle this Syracuse team.