If there were questions about how the last week’s events affected the team’s focus, NC State answered them immediately, on both sides of the ball.
The Wolfpack defense got a three-and-out right away, and Kevin Concepcion nearly housed the first offensive snap of the day, taking a reverse for 65 yards. Brennan Armstrong hit Julian Gray for a score shortly thereafter, and State was off and rolling.
The defense continued its stellar play, recording a sack on each of Wake’s first three possessions to shut those down and keep the Deacs wrong-footed. Mitch Griffis left the game at that point, and the situation did not improve for Wake’s offense. It took the Deacs almost 25 minutes to pick up their first first down.
State’s offense, meanwhile, set a tone with runs, runs and more runs. The Pack capped its second scoring drive on a fourth-down touchdown run by Brennan Armstrong, and after another quick stop by the defense, Delbert Mimms cashed in another short-yardage score to make it 21-0. Across those two scoring drives, NC State ran the ball 16 straight times.
State ran the ball 50 times on the day, its highest number of rushing attempts since the Clemson game in 2021, and the offense controlled the ball for 40 minutes.
There were frustrating moments in the third quarter as the offense squandered some opportunities to really put this game away—Brayden Narveson missed a pair of field goals to help keep Wake Forest alive, at least in theory. In reality, though, Wake had nothing. State forced a couple of turnovers—or in the case of the interception, just accepted it—in the second half, and also turned a Wake two-point try into two points the other way. Wake Forest quarterbacks: not good.
Armstrong, meanwhile, put together an excellent Taysom Hill impression, finishing with 96 yards rushing on 15 carries while going 12-17 for 111 yards through the air. He stepped back in and executed seamlessly.
State was more than content to just let the ground game and defense ride this thing out in the second half, which wasn’t terribly exciting, but sometimes it really is just that straightforward. Wake Forest finished with 163 yards of offense, and Michael Kern clearly was not up to the challenge.
Chancellor Woodson, light that belltower, big dog!