It was a slow weekend in the world of North Carolina college football, with UNC, Duke and Appalachian State all taking their bye weeks in week six. However, a number of North Carolina schools were still in action, including Wake Forest, though it was a game that every Demon Deacon fan will surely want to forget.
Hopes were high going into Wake’s matchup with juggernaut Clemson at BB&T Field on Saturday afternoon. Clemson, a perennial power and College Football Playoff contender, limped into the game with a number of injuries, including freshman phenom quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence, however, started and had a grand afternoon, throwing for 175 yards and two touchdowns before Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney pulled his starters for the second half.
It was a somewhat tightly-contested first quarter, with the Wake defensive line getting plenty of push early on. However, Clemson running back Travis Etienne gashed the Demon Deacons midway through the first quarter for a 59-yard score. He was untouched. From there, the rout was on. The Tigers amassed a shocking 471 rushing yards on the afternoon, and thoroughly dismantled the Demon Deacons 63-3.
The NC State Wolfpack were also in action last weekend, hosting the Boston College Eagles at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. The Wolfpack headed into the matchup at 4-0 and look to finally break through a decades-long trend of mediocrity. Without a doubt, this is the best team that State has had in many years.
The ‘Pack jumped out to a dominant 21-3 halftime lead thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns from Reggie Gallaspy, who finished the game with 104 yards rushing on 25 attempts, and a Ryan Finley touchdown pass. The Wolfpack added to their lead late in the third quarter thanks to another Finley touchdown, who finished the game with 308 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. With less than three minutes to go in the third quarter and a 25-point lead, it seemed like the Wolfpack had this game wrapped up.
However, Boston College responded on the ensuing drive with a touchdown of their own. BC quarterback Ben Glines then found receiver Anthony Brown in the end zone early in the fourth to cut NC State’s lead to just 12.
Later in the fourth, with under four minutes to go, Boston College forced State to punt in the shadow of their own goalposts. The Eagles were able to block the punt and recovered it in the end zone, and Boston College found themselves down just five points late in the game. However, their on-side kick attempt would be recovered by the Wolfpack, and NC State was able to grind out a few crucial first downs to snuff out any hope of a miracle for the Eagles. NC State advanced, 28-23. After a bye week this Saturday, they will head to Death Valley to take on Clemson for what will likely be the game of the year in the ACC.
East Carolina was also in action, and they continue to struggle in their 2018 campaign. They took the trip up to Philadelphia to play the Temple Owls, and it was surely a long plane ride back to Greenville for the stumbling Pirates. They were trounced by the Owls, 49-6, and never led. Temple quarterback Anthony Russo picked the Pirates apart all game, throwing for 254 yards and four touchdowns. ECU, once an offensive powerhouse, gained just 196 yards on the day and was 4-of-18 on third down. They now move to 2-3 on the season.