Saturday, September 16, 2017

N.C. State cruises past Paladins

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina State used a nearly perfect balanced offensive attack to defeat Furman, 49-16, Saturday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium. The Wolfpack (2-1) ran for 242 yards and threw for 248 in rolling up 490 total.
Facing one of the most heralded defensive fronts in the country, the Paladins were limited to 2.8 yards per carry as N.C. State collected eight tackles-for-loss. Furman ran 47 times for 133 yards, including a career-long run of 45 yards by Triston Luke.
"I think the toughest thing for us was our inability to run the ball at them. I knew it would be a challenge, but I hoped we could do a little better job of it," Furman coach Clay Hendrix said. "If we can't do that, so much of the other stuff really doesn't matter.
"I knew we had to play a near-perfect game. We were making some plays, but we just couldn't make enough."
For as lopsided as the final score was, things got pretty interesting late in the second quarter.
After allowing touchdowns on each of N.C. State's first three drives, Furman sophomore linebacker Donavan Perryman's first collegiate sack helped force the Wolfpack's first punt.
While the kick pinned Furman deep in its own territory, the Paladins made the defensive stand pay off. P.J. Blazejowski hit tight end Andy Schumpert for a 17-yard gain on 3rd-and-5. On he next play, the two connected on a bomb that resulted in a 71-yard touchdown catch. That helped cut N.C. State's lead to 21-13 with 2:35 left in the first half.
Connecting on a home run ball to cut the lead to eight going into halftime could've been a big confidence boost for the Paladins. But N.C. State didn't allow that that scenario to play out.
Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley completed 7-of-7 passes on an 11-play, 76-yard drive that took just 2:11 and was capped by Jaylen Samuels' one-yard touchdown run. That pushed N.C. State's lead to 28-13 with just 18 seconds left in the half.
"That was big, ... We were kind of hanging in there in the first half and it was manageable, but we just couldn't get stops. Then we finally got a stop and we responded," Hendrix said. "We kind of self-destructed after that."
The teams traded punts to open the second half, but Furman's was partially blocked giving N.C. State the ball at the Paladins' 49. Four plays later, Nyheim Hines took a pitch, ran into a congregation of players and squirted out unscathed on his way to a 28-yard touchdown to help make it 35-13.
"Our protection was terrible. We were lucky we didn't get them all blocked," Hendrix said. "I'm sorely disappointed in that."
That score began a run of three Wolfpack touchdowns in less than five minutes of game time. Furman drove past midfield on its ensuing drive before P.J. Blazejowski - under immediate, immense pressure - threw a screen pass that was picked off by Shawn Boone, who returned it 47 yards for a touchdown.
Three plays later, Blazejowski was under a heavy blitz and slipped away from a few defenders before he was hit from behind and fumbled. N.C. State recovered and two plays later, Dakwa Nichols scored on a nine-yard run to make it 49-13.
Furman's lone score of the second half came on a fourth quarter field goal by Grayson Atkins. The freshman from Boiling Springs made all three of his attempts, including a pair of 46-yarders.
"It feels good to get our second-straight home win and get a lot of guys involved in the run game," N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said. "(Furman's option) is a difficult offense to defend, but I'm proud of our guys for not giving up a touchdown in the second half."

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