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Highlights! NC State runs wild on Wake Forest

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NCAA Football: Western Carolina at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Well, suffice it to say none of us saw a 45-point outburst coming. The highest guess in our prediction post on Friday was 34 points, and even that proved pessimistic. Hell, I guessed 30 points and thought at the time it was a bit of a stretch.

Whoops!

NC State gashed Wake Forest for 270 yards rushing, which was the story of the evening. That was the Pack’s highest rushing total since running for 309 against Western Carolina last year—and its highest total against a power-five opponent since running for 292 against UNC in 2018. Pretty good way to start!

Not surprisingly, State is a lot tougher with a healthy Ricky Person in the fold. Person’s 99-yard performance on Saturday was the second-best total of his career, behind the 108 yards he piled up against Virginia in 2018. His highest-single game rushing total in 2019 was 53 yards against Ball State.

The Wolfpack averaged 5.5 yards per carry on Saturday and 6.3 yards per play overall. State’s defense was also better than the scoreboard would suggest, limiting Wake to a modest 4.5 yards per play. State outgained the Deacs by 78 yards despite running 12 fewer plays.

Bailey Hockman’s pick-six had a significant role in making the game closer than it had to be. But that’s the story of this series lately—Wake hangs around despite getting outplayed, usually with dire consequences for the Pack. Not this time, thankfully.