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NC State out-slugs Wake Forest, 45-42

Yes sir!

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl - North Carolina State v Texas A&M Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Man. If you had this game ending up in a shootout, then kudos to you, because good lord, this was not a result that seemed likely. But NC State persevered tonight, took every shot from Wake Forest, and triumphed anyway. What a game.

NC State deserves tons of credit for coming out strong, for not letting a long layoff matter—and State was the better team tonight, let’s not get that confused. State set the tone right from the start, and made Devin Leary’s absence not matter at all. A couple of calls kept Wake in this game, and there was that Bailey Hockman mistake, but otherwise, State was outstanding.

Hockman deserves tons of credit, though, as he stepped in to complete 16-23 passes for 191 yards—an average of 8.3 per attempt, which is a big sign of life for this offense.

But the story was the running game, where State rolled up 270 on a pretty good Wake defensive front. Bam Knight had 97 yards, Ricky Person had 99, and Jordan Houston finished with 54. The running backs put State out to a fast advantage with some chunk plays early on, forcing Wake to play from behind all night.

Wake about near overcame that trouble, but this was basically one of those he-who-has-the-ball-last wins. What an outstanding effort from a young team to deliver this one in the clutch. Hell yeah, today is a good day.