NC State’s offense had itself a truly gruesome performance for much of the night, and if you’d told me that prior to kickoff, I’d have been sweating. We were all looking for just a wee bit more encouragement after what happened in Greenville, but none was forthcoming.
But, the Wolfpack defense provided, forcing three turnovers on the night, all of them interceptions. Aydan White took one of them to the house late in the second quarter, putting an abrupt end to a Texas Tech scoring opportunity and pushing the Pack’s lead to 20-0.
Texas Tech would get on the board before the half, but White’s play was unquestionably a significant turning point for the Wolfpack, which continued to sputter offensively.
The first quarter was marred by penalties that cost State in scoring position, especially after recovering a fumble by Tech’s punt returner inside the Red Raiders 15. After the Pack had 1st-and-goal at the three, the offense committed a pair of penalties that resulted in the team settling for a 29-yard field goal. Later, a sack and holding penalty stalled another drive, and Chris Dunn had to come on for a 47-yard kick.
State still had a nice cushion thanks to turnovers as the second half got started, and the Pack finally put together a hell of a drive: one that lasted 14 plays, spanned nearly 90 yards, and ate up half the third-quarter clock.
...and resulted in no points, thanks to Demi Sumo-Karngbaye’s fumble at the one that bounced into the end zone and out of bounds. Sumo-Karngbaye was a split second from giving State its first passing score of the night, but once again, these guys couldn’t get out of their own way.
That was painful, but ultimately didn’t prove a turning point in the other direction. The defense came up with a fourth down stop on Tech’s ensuing possession, then dialed up the patented Thayer Thomas touchdown pass play.
Texas Tech’s final two possessions of the game ended in interceptions.
It wasn’t a satisfying performance tonight, but in the end NC State is right where it wanted to be after three games—and will, barring something very odd, be undefeated going into the Clemson game in two weeks. I can live with that.