RALEIGH, N.C. — Quarterback D’Eriq King accounted for 535 total yards and threw for five touchdowns to keep the No. 11 Miami Hurricanes’ hopes for a spot in the ACC Championship Game alive after they were in danger of a second conference defeat for much of Friday night.
King’s 430 yards passing yards and 105 rushing made up for a Miami defense that had breakdown after breakdown in a 44-41 final at Carter-Finley Stadium where UM had four new players unavailable among a list of 11 that included star junior tight end Brevin Jordan.
The Hurricanes (6-1, 5-1 ACC) can still get a rematch with No. 1 Clemson, which handed them their lone defeat, if they win out and get some help. UM coach Manny Diaz earned his elusive first win after a bye (previously 0-4) with the win over the Wolfpack (4-3, 4-3).
King was 31-of-41 passing, and his five touchdown passes went to four different receivers. Michael Harley led UM pass catchers with eight receptions for 153 yards and two touchdowns, his second was the game-winner as he broke free over the middle for a 54-yard score.
N.C. State quarterback Bailey Hockman, a backup elevated to starter due to Devin Leary’s broken leg, went 19 of 28 for 248 yards and two touchdowns, but the Hurricanes were finally able to get to him late as DJ Ivey intercepted a tipped ball after the King-to-Harley touchdown. King picked up a first down rushing to then seal it with kneel downs.
With 4:45 left in the third quarter, Zonovan Knight returned a kickoff 100 yards for an N.C. State touchdown which appeared would be back breaking for the Hurricanes, putting them down, 38-31.
The Wolfpack extended that lead to 41-31 when kicker Chirstopher Dunn nailed a 54-yard field goal that was made tougher due to a false start when he lined up for the original 49-yard try.
Two Jose Borregales field goals got Miami to within four, 41-37. The second one came after what could’ve been a tying touchdown. On fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line, it appeared Cam’Ron Harris was going to score easily, but the officials stopped play to review King’s run on the previous play, which they did not overturn. Miami committed a false start and ultimately settled for the 22-yard field goal.
The kickoff return for N.C. State followed King’s fourth touchdown pass, which went to Mark Pope in the back corner of the end zone on one of several impressive throws he made.
Miami started the second half with a Borregales 36-yard field goal that tied it at 24, but N.C. State regained a touchdown lead when Knight punched in a 1-yard touchdown to seal a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive.
N.C. State led, 24-21, at halftime. With 2:49 left before half, Hockman hit tight end Cary Angeline in the middle of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown.
After a back-and-forth first quarter in which Miami had to come back to tie with each of its two touchdowns, the Hurricanes took their first lead, 21-14, early in the second quarter. King beautifully found Harley in the corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown as Harley’s momentum comically carried him a couple of steps into an empty section of the stadium filled to 7% capacity.
N.C. State started the night off by going 89 yards in six plays as receiver Thayer Thomas threw back to Hockman, who went 31 yards for the score behind great blocking. Hockman hit Emeka Emezie for a big 33-yard gain on the previous play.
Miami responded with a 75-yard drive to score on its opening possession. King found tight end Will Mallory wide open off play action from 3 yards out. King also kept the ball on a zone read on fourth-and-1 from the UM 34-yard line, going 42 yards to extend the drive.
The Wolfpack answered right back, helped by another breakdown in coverage when Angeline broke free for a 24-yard reception. Another 24-yard gain to Emezie followed before Hockman connected with Devin Carter for an 11-yard touchdown on third-and-6.
The Hurricanes evened it back up at 14 as King hit Dee Wiggins for a 39-yard touchdown deep down the sideline. It came after he threw a bit behind Pope, allowing a Wolfpack defensive back to deflect it, when he had him for a touchdown over the middle on the previous play.
UM recovered an onside kick to retain possession after the two teams combined for 302 total yards over the four scoring drives, but the teams finally exchanged empty possessions and punts as their offenses started to settle down.
Aside from Jordan, Miami was without redshirt sophomore left tackle John Campbell, freshman receiver Keyshawn Smith, redshirt sophomore offensive guard Ousman Traore and freshman tight end Dominic Mammarelli. Those were the new names added to the unavailability report as receivers Xavier Restrepo and Michael Redding III, linebacker Corey Flagg, quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and defensive lineman Elijah Roberts remained but safety Brian Balom was reactivated.
Miami is back on the road for another critical ACC matchup at Virginia Tech next weekend, Saturday, Nov. 14.
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