NC State entered this weekend ranked No.18 in the AP Poll. Set up to face a deceptively unranked Miami team with a 2-4 record. The Hurricanes have been way more competitive than their record would suggest. Two of their losses came at the hands of powerhouses, No.3 Alabama and No.8 Michigan State and the other two by way of Virginia (30-28) & UNC (45-42), both close, winnable games for Miami. The Hurricanes were finally able to take a close game for themselves with a 31-30 upset over the Wolfpack.
The game seemed favorable for the Hurricanes right from the start. On their first drive, Charleston Rambo made an improbable, contested 25-yard touchdown grab. This would be the first of four touchdown passes thrown by Tyler Van Dyke. The first quarter was a defensive battle as both teams went three and out on multiple possessions with the only salvageable points coming off a 33-yard field goal for the Wolfpack. A blown coverage on the third play of the second quarter allowed Jaylan Knighton to escape out the backfield and scamper down the field for a 53-yard touchdown. The rest of the quarter belonged to Thayer Thomas as he was able to bring in two touchdowns, one from seven yards out and another from 27 yards out with 15 seconds left to give the Wolfpack a 17-14 halftime lead.
A Will Mallory five-yard touchdown catch made the Wolfpack’s lead short-lived. Both teams added field goals in the third to set up a suspenseful ending. The Wolfpack, realizing the momentum was not swinging in their direction, went into their bag of tricks. On fourth-and-seven, a fake punt snapped directly to Trent Pennix went for a 40-yard run. A crucial play that would lead to a 17-yard touchdown run for Devin Leary, keeping the game competitive. However, this would be all for not as the Wolfpack defense could not prevent the Hurricanes from driving down the field for what would be the game winning touchdown.
Down 31-27, the Wolfpack chose to kick a field goal with six minutes left and trust their defense. The defense rose to the challenge forcing another three-and-out and a punt. The Wolfpack offensive couldn’t do a thing when they got the ball back turning the ball over on downs. With the chance to make another defensive stand, Van Dyke hit Mallory on third-and-16 for 21 yards putting a seal on a Miami victory. This loss dropped the Wolfpack completely out of the AP Poll and put a stain on what seemed to be a promising season.
Wake Forest put-up record-breaking numbers in a battle of juggernaut offenses coming out on top 70-56 over the Army Black Knights. This game was loaded with touchdown after touchdown with both teams neck and neck throughout. Sam Hartman matched the record for scoring passes with five touchdowns through the air. He threw for 458 yards and added another touchdown on the ground. The teams combined for 1,233 offensive yards and only had one punt in what came to be the second highest scoring game involving an ACC team, falling just short of Pittsburgh’s 76-61 victory over Syracuse in 2016.
Army exploited the Demon Deacons on the ground rushing for 416 yards as a team. Some more eye-popping numbers include wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson’s 157 yards with three touchdowns and A.T. Perry’s 146 yards with a score. The deciding factor came in the turnovers. The Demon Deacons scored a touchdown on every drive except one that they turned the ball over on downs in the first quarter. Army scored a touchdown on every drive except three. A punt that came in the first quarter was the most irrelevant of these in a game that seemed that whoever scored last would win. The Black Knights were forced to play catch up after an 83-yard interception return for a touchdown by Traveon Redd in the third quarter that gave the Deacons the comfort they needed. With the Deacons offense in full throttle and a lead sitting at 63-49, the Black Knights quarterback Cade Barnard scrambling for points fumbled the ball with 3 minutes left allowing the Deacons to cap off a hard-fought victory.
Other Notable Finals:
ECU turned the ball over in overtime allowing Houston to score a 25-yard touchdown and steal a 31-24 OT win.
Charlotte’s woes continue as FAU remains undefeated in games played in Charlotte with an excruciating 38-9 win.