by Mike Potter
For the third straight week N.C. State is playing for a bowl spot, and this time the Wolfpack’s oldest rival is, too.
State (5-4, 2-3 ACC) meets Wake Forest (5-4, 3-4) for the 106th time, and the Wolfpack is looking for some revenge after losing 34-27 last season in Winston-Salem.
The Wolfpack has won 12 of the teams’ last 13 meetings at Carter-Finley including two straight.
State gets that bowl eligibility in a rout, scoring the first 17 points and demolishing the Deacons 37-6.
The Wolfpack takes it to 10-0 with 5:54 left in the first on Sade’s 38-yard field goal that ended a 13-play, 52-yard drive.
And it goes to 17-0 with 37 seconds remaining in the quarter as Glennon finds Logan Winkles from five yards out to finish a nine-play, 60-yard drive and Sade adds the try.
Wake cuts it to 17-6 with 10:33 showing in the half, as flanker Michael Campanaro hits Terence Davis on a 39-yard pass. Chad Hedlund’s kick fails.
Sade misses two field goals later in the period.
But Tobais Palmer strikes a big blow for the Wolfpack, when he returns the second-half kickoff 100 yards and Sade adds the boot.
State gets the knockout blow at 10:02, as Glennon finds Asa Watson for a 26-yard TD pass with Sade adding the kick.
Sade’s 49-yard field goal at 7:51 makes it 34-6, and he adds another from 35 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
State finishes with 428 yards total offense to 185 for the Deacons.
Glennon completes 25 of 41 passes for 258 yards and two TDs with one interception. Bryan Underwood catches eight passes for 76 yards and Palmer seven for 63. Freshman Shadrach Thornton carries 27 times for 110 yards.
Price completes 18 of 33 passes for 113 yards with one interception for Wake.
They said it:
State coach Tom O’Brien: “(The first quarter) might have relaxed (the team) a bit today. It was a whole lot different from one week ago. We got back to playing the way we did the previous four weeks. I think it took a lot out of our guys with so many games coming down to the final play, but that’s no excuse for our performance last week (in a 33-6 home loss to Virginia). The last thing I said to them was ‘We’re at a fork in the road. We can either go to a bowl game or go in the other direction.’ They all stood up and said they’re going to a bowl game.”
Wake coach Jim Grobe: “We certainly had some issues up front both running and throwing the football. Our receivers had some opportunities to make plays and didn’t make them. Tanner didn’t play well. It’s not fair, but Tanner can’t play average. If he plays average, we can’t win.”
Glennon: “It was a point of emphasis after last week to play with more energy and get off to a fast start, and that’s exactly what we did. It set the tone for the whole game, and it was a great team win. I think we were ready. You felt it in the locker room this week and in pregame. There was more energy out there.”
Palmer: “The captains told us we needed a big play. They said we always start off slow in the second half, and I had to step up for my team. The whole game we felt like big plays were going to come, and they did. (The TD return) was something I’ve always wanted to accomplish.”
What does it all mean?
That the Wolfpack is headed back to a bowl, while Wake is going to either have to shock Notre Dame on the road or win its finale against Vanderbilt to qualify.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Palmer’s kickoff return.
State: Won 1.
Wake Forest: Lost 1.
State leads 63-37-6.
State at Clemson, Nov. 17, TBA
Wake Forest at Notre Dame, Nov. 17, 3:30 p.m.