by Mike Potter
CARTER-FINLEY STADIUM/RALEIGH N.C. State will play its final non-conference game of the season at home on a perfect day for football, and the Wolfpack needs to win this one badly.
State (2-3) is on a two-game losing streak and hosts Central Michigan (2-3) of the Mid-American Conference in the schools’ first meeting in football.
For the first time in school history the Wolfpack will don black jerseys and black pants, the jerseys trimmed in pink this time as part of a breast cancer awareness promotion.
Coaches are all wearing pink polo shirts, and the all-female dance team is in pink T-shirts.
State has been bitten badly by the injury bug, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, and is hoping to hold on one more week as a favorite before its open date on Oct. 15.
The Wolfpack will play without fullback Taylor Gentry (foot), while linebacker Terrell Manning will return to the fray following his knee surgery of Sept. 19.
After Scotty McCreery presents the National Anthem the Wolfpack takes the lead for good late in the second quarter and builds on it, repelling the Chippewas 38-24.
The Chippewas answer right back, as Ryan Radcliff connects with Cody Wilson from 17 yards out with David Harman adding the try at 7:33.
Back comes State, going 86 yards on seven plays with Glennon finding Jay Smith from 12 yards out and Sade converting at 4:21.
CMU ties it again with 1:55 left in the quarter on a 23-yard toss from Radcliff to Courtney Williams with Harman adding the boot.
The visitors go up 17-14 with 9:59 left in the half on a 22-yard Harman field goal.
But State takes the lead again at 3:30, when Glennon finds Steven Howard from two yards out and Sade made it 21-17.
The Wolfpack gets some breathing room at 11:57 of the third, as Glennon hits Tobais Palmer at the goal line from 10 yards out with Sade booting.
And State locks it up with 12:51 left, as James Washington went in from two yards out and Sade’s kick makes it 35-17.
It goes to 38-17 on a 45-yard Sade field goal at 8:37.
CMU makes it more interesting with Paris Cotton’s 77-yard scoring run and Harman’s boot 19 seconds later, but David Amerson’s interception — his second of two on the day - with 5:38 left seals it.
Glennon completes 20 of 36 passes for 244 yards and four TDs. Washington carries 25 times for 109 yards and catches five passes for 55 more. Palmer catches four for 34 and the TD.
Cotton carries 13 times for 158 yards while Radcliff completes 19 of 32 for two TDs with four interceptions.
They said it …
State coach Tom O’Brien: “I think offensively we came out and played well in the first half. In the second half we got into a lull, but we did what we needed to do to at the end of the game. I felt much better with what we did in the second half with the exception of (Cotton’s TD run). That will give me something to bang at them all week in practice, but we saw a great effort and no quit in this football team.”
Washington: “This feels good. The O-line stepped up and was really opening holes. With (former leading rusher Curtis Underwood out with a foot injury) I feel more responsibility. Tony Creecy (16 carries, 63 yds.) runs the ball well, but I have the experience.”
Glennon: “We came out from the start and scored on almost every drive in the first half. I think we had two three-and-outs, but once we get things going it’s hard for defenses to stop us.”
What does it all mean?
That the Wolfpack has won the three non-conference games in which it was a solid favorite, and needs to go 4-2 down the stretch.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Glennon’s TD pass to Palmer.
State leads 1-0.
State: Won 2.
CMU: Lost 1.
CMU vs. Eastern Michigan, Oct. 15, 3 p.m.
State at Virginia, Oct. 22, TBA.