by Mike Potter
GROVES STADIUM/WINSTON-SALEM N.C. State travels to face its oldest rival today on one beautiful afternoon for football or any other outdoor activity, and it’s going to be the first big test for first-year starting QB Mike Glennon.
Today the opponent is 0-1 Wake Forest, which lost a heartbreaker at Syracuse in its opener nine days ago. State throttled the Deacons 38-3 last season in Raleigh, but the Wolfpack hasn’t won in this stadium since 2001.
State is still a 1 ½-point favorite.
The Wolfpack gets behind by as many as 21 points before rallying, but winds up losing 34-27.
Wake wastes no time getting on the board, as Tanner Price hits a wide-open Michael Campanaro up the middle for a 31-yard touchdown on the opening drive at 10:39.
And the Deacons add to their lead at 2:04, as Jimmy Newman nails a 32-yard field goal to complete a 14-play, 76-yard march.
True freshman kicker Niklas Sade gets State on the board with 14:13 left in the half on a 45-yard field goal to finish a seven-play, 44-yard drive.
But the Deacs come back with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Campanaro, on a reverse flea-flicker to a wide-open Danny Dembry at 13:02.
Sade adds a 37-yard field goal at 7:41, and then Newman chips in an identical kick at the buzzer after Darryl Cato-Bishop sacks Price for a seven-yard loss.
Wake stretches the lead to 27-6 with 8:35 left in the third following Josh Harris’ 15-yard run. The four-play, 26-yard drive is set up by Josh Bush’s 18-yard interception return.
State gets one back with 1:47 left in the third on Glennon’s 19-yard pass to George Bryan. That score came two plays after T.J. Graham makes a fair catch on a Deacon punt at the Wake 38.
But the Deacs make it 34-13 on Dembry’s 10-yard run to help make it 34-13.
The Pack makes the late game exciting. First Glennon hits Tobais Palmer on a 65-yard bomb to the right pylon with 11 seconds left in the third quarter. And then Glennon hits Graham on a 63-yard scoring toss up the middle with 5:34 to go with Sade’s kick making it 34-27.
The Wolfpack gets the ball back once more, but runs out of downs at the Deacons’ 38 with 1:31 remaining.
Price completes 22 of 35 passes for 297 yards and the score with one interception, completing six passes for 111 yards to Chris Givens. Harris carries 23 times for 98 yards.
Glennon ends up with nice stats, completing 24 of 41 for 315 yards and three TDs with one interception. Graham catches six for 117 yards and Palmer seven for 96. Curtis Underwood leads the Wolfpack’s ground attack with 56 yards on 12 carries.
They said it …
State coach Tom O’Brien: “It was certainly not a good effort on our part, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves. We have to get it straightened out, and that’s ‘we’ — coaches first, players, everybody on this football team. There were too many big plays. We never gave ourselves a chance to win. I’m not into all this ‘We fought back’ and all that. We lost the game, a game that we didn’t play well in. I have to get it straightened out, and I intend to get it straightened out. … There are no positives losing, ever.”
Wake coach Jim Grobe: “Our guys were playing hard. You could sense that our guys didn’t want to let this one slip away. We’ll probably be mad at the defense on Monday, but right now we’re going to enjoy it.”
Glennon: “I just tried to not to worry about the score when we got behind. Sometimes you can get two or three touchdowns and be right back in the game. … I think we started executing our plays better later in the game. It wasn’t like we had anything to figure out. We just started executing better and that’s when we started playing better. I was more comfortable from Game 1 to Game 2. It was the first time I’d been in a situation where we were down like that. It’s something I can learn from and go from there.”
What does it all mean?
That the Wolfpack is going to be better to win any conference games on the road this season.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Campanaro’s touchdown pass to Dembry.
State leads 62-37-6.
State: Lost 1.
Wake: Won 1.
State vs. South Alabama, Sept. 17, 6 p.m.
Wake vs. Gardner-Webb, Sept. 17, 6:30.